The true story of the struggles faced by James J. Braddock during the Great Depression is brought to life by Ron Howard and Russell Crowe in a superbly acted and highly engaging drama. Braddock, an Irish-American hard-nosed boxer, has his boxing license revoked by the local commission. He desperately and often unsuccessfully looks for work. When Braddock becomes unable to pay the bills, his wife, played by Renee Zellweger, sends their three children away. James J. Braddock takes the chance of a one-time fight in order to pay back his debts, get out of poverty and get his children back. However, Braddock stuns everyone with a third round knockout of his opponent. Fighting with permanent injuries to his hands, Braddock continues to win and before long, he comes to represent the hopes and aspirations of the American public coping with the Depression. Carrying on his shoulders the hopes and dreams of the disenfranchised masses, he is dubbed the "Cinderella Man" as he faces Max Baer, the heavyweight champion of the world renowned for having killed two men in the ring.