If you want a movie that will give you inspiration as well as horror and depression, The Champion is a good bet when it comes to delivering all three, considering its location and the subject it deals with. The pre-war life of Teddy, a boxing champion before things go to hell and he’s hauled off to a concentration camp, is a good one since he’s made a life for himself and his family. But when he’s taken to the newly constructed Auschwitz, one can hazard a guess as to how things are going to go. For those who might not have been shown the depictions of those who were shipped off to such camps during the war, this is kind of a tame look at the horror that was visited upon a large number of people, as these places were rightly named death camps, since many people went in, but they never came out. To say that the camps were horrifying and undeniably cruel would be to put it lightly and perhaps even insult the memory of those who spent their last days in such places. But while it was no different for Teddy, there was a way that he was able to survive and even thrive when others could not.
This is based on a true story.
There are plenty of movies that have been filmed on the subject of WWII and the many other elements that went into this conflict, but a lot of them pull from history and tend to get quite a few things wrong, and others end up being factual but don’t have what it takes to pull in the crowds. This movie feels as though it flew under the radar, likely because it went to streaming so quickly, but it does have the type of feel to it that people should have no problem latching onto. Calling Teddy a superhero wouldn’t be quite accurate, but stating that he was an inspiration to his fellow prisoners has a definite ring of truth to it.
He showed that the Germans were not invincible.
One has to remember that in these camps, people were stripped of just about everything, including their dignity at times. While much of what we’ve seen in the west could be called propaganda, there’s simply too much horror there to think that any of it was fake. To this day, there are a lot of Germans that might cringe when talking about this subject, but the fact is that any reason to talk about is to remind humanity that stuff like this can’t be allowed to happen any longer. One thing among many that can be noted in the movie is that after his first few fights and the rations that he won. As a result, Teddy started to become an inspiration to his fellow prisoners, as he took on German boxers as well as other prisoners during his time in Auschwitz. Trying to imagine watching one’s captors being beaten soundly by one of their fellow prisoners is something that might have been able to remind a lot of people that bullies are only tough if one allows them to be sometimes. Of course, in this case, the bullies still had the power, but Teddy’s example was something that gave the prisoners a little more hope.
Admittedly, the gas chamber scenes were hard to watch.
The upside of this movie is that it did not show the inside of the gas chamber, as this might have been too much for many audience members. But the lines of people who were forced to march into the chamber were bad enough, especially since they were told that they would need to ‘shower’ and would then be fed a hot meal. Sadly, the hope that some might have held that such a thing would have actually happened was likely a little too strong. If that weren’t enough, the men holding guns standing all around them were likely enough of a deterrent to keep the people from running or trying to stage an insurrection. But between the chamber, the cruelty of the guards, and the fact that this was a place where people went to die without question, the lack of hope and the need to follow orders was no doubt all some people clung to.
By the end, the audience is bound to be ready for a happy ending.
The ending isn’t entirely happy, but it’s far better than it could have been since in real life and in the movie, Teddy was transferred to another camp where he continued to fight. To think that anyone would be taken from one camp to another for this reason is tough, but stranger things have happened throughout history.
Sometimes a person needs to keep fighting against all odds.