Back to all films

On all Fronts: The Story of Sergeant and Heavyweight Champion, Joe Louis

A film by Lance Moody

Joe Louis was the longest-reigning World Heavyweight Boxing Champion in history, an amazing achievement, but he was so much more… Joe was born in a sharecropper’s shack in eastern Alabama. His rise to become champion in the face of economic hardship and racial oppression is a story of undaunted commitment.

As champion he became the symbol of American strength as he fought and overcame Fascist boxers and their propaganda in the ring. Joe Louis challenged societal prejudices, and gave generously in time of need, donating entire purses to the Army and Navy Relief in support of American servicemen.

As a soldier in W.W. II, he opened doors of opportunity for African-American servicemen, while boosting morale on battlefronts in Europe, Africa and at home. His selfless actions and unwavering conviction broke barriers of oppression and helped to bridge the nation’s racial divide. He was, as famed sportswriter Jimmy Cannon said, “A credit to his race—the human race.”

Our film not only celebrates the heroic exploits of a great athlete, but addresses themes of racial divide and the unity possible through courage and determination. We hope to show through historical context the progress made toward acceptance of all citizens through the efforts and example set by Joe Louis as a boxer and notably as a soldier, and remind viewers of the hugely important mark in sports’, national and world history made by this humble, soft-spoken man with thundering fists and an iron will.

The film seeks to inform the larger discussion on race and society by depicting the true events of the legendary boxer’s heroic story, his triumphs in the ring and service in the U.S. Army, and his larger role as a unifier who helped to heal a divided nation.

As the headlines of today surely demonstrate, this is a story worth telling and taking to heart.

PRODUCER: Lance Moody

Associated Members

We are grateful for the generous support of our sponsors:

Massachusetts Cultural Council
Lowel Cultural Council
Cabot Family Charitable Trust
Liberty Mutual Foundation
City of Boston Arts and Culture