S.I.M Rating: 8.12 out of 10 (2 Votes)
Cast: Cameron Mitchell, Dianne Foster and Paul Richards
The 1957 film, Monkey On My Back, is the true story of former boxing champion Barney Ross. Ross, portrayed by Cameron Mitchell, grew up in Chicago, the son of Jewish immigrants, and early on, displayed a remarkable talent for boxing. Turning professional in 1929, Ross moved up quickly through the ranks, and by 1933, he reached the mountain top, capturing the world titles in three divisions- lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight. Ross went on to a career record of 72 wins, 4 losses and 3 draws before retiring in his early thirties.
At the outset of World War II, Ross enlisted in the Marines and served heroically, earning multiple medals for his bravery, but was also wounded, and, as was customary for the time, is given morphine to lessen his pain. Sadly, he develops an addiction to the painkiller, and faces a long road to recovery once he returns home.
A sometimes brutally honest film that doesn’t sugarcoat the horrors of morphine addiction, so much so that there were serious concerns the film would even be released.