More love story than boxing biopic, Marciano features an ideally cast Tony Lo Bianco as the former heavyweight champion and a beguiling Belinda Montgomery as his wife Barbara. Unfortunately, despite some nice depictions of Italian-American family life and a typically gruff performance from Vincent Gardenia, the points scored in front of the camera are undermined by the journeyman efforts behind it.
On the cusp of his final bout, Rocky Marciano receives news that his wife has been involved in a car accident. As he races towards the hospital, the boxer reflects on how much his career has robbed him of time with his love. Cue flashback, where the early stage of their courtship coincides with Marciano’s decision to turn professional. Though manager Al Weill doesn’t think much of his boxing skills, he recognizes that Rocky can take a punch and packs a wallop. He takes control, not only of Marciano’s career, but almost everything else as well. Even the couple’s honeymoon is not off limits.
Knowing their eventual fate lends a bitter irony to Marciano's decision to make hay while the sun shines. Though he assures Barbara they will have plenty of time together once he hangs up his gloves, that is prefaced on the belief that somebody will eventually come along and take his heavyweight title. With endearing performances from Lo Bianco and Montgomery, Marciano is all set to be a real tearjerker. Instead, it dissolves into sentimental mush involving dead seagulls, longing looks to the horizon and slow motion runs along the beach.
Coley Wallace, the last man to defeat Marciano before he turned pro, once again portrays Joe Louis. Tony Lo Bianco later appeared in Rocky Marciano as mobster / boxing promoter Frankie Carbo.
as Rocky Marciano
as Joe Louis
Mello Alexandria as Jersey Joe Walcott and an unidentified extra as Archie Moore
Squeek Squalis is a fictional character. Marciano’s fellow passenger on his last flight was Frank Farrell, who had asked Rocky to attend the opening of a steakhouse in Des Moines, Iowa. Frank was also the son of Lew Farrell, a former boxer who had known Rocky since childhood.