Requiem for a Heavyweight was a teleplay written by Rod Serling and produced for the live television show Playhouse 90 on 11 October 1956. Six years later, it was adapted as a 1962 feature film starring Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason and Mickey Rooney. The teleplay won a Peabody Award, the first given to an individual script, and helped establish Serling's reputation. The broadcast was directed by Ralph Nelson and is generally considered one of the finest examples of live television drama in the United States, as well as being Serling's personal favorite of his own work. Nelson and Serling won Emmy Awards for their work. Jack Palance portrays Harlan "Mountain" McClintock, a once-promising but now washed-up boxer who faces the end of his career after he is savagely defeated by a younger boxer. Keenan Wynn portrays McClintock's manager Maish; Keenan's father Ed plays McClintock's cut man, Army. McClintock is suffering from Dementia pugilistica or "punch drunk syndrome" -- brain damage caused by his career. A fight doctor refuses to certify McClintock for further boxing, saying that another rough match could blind or even kill him.
Rod Serling’s tale about a washed-up heavyweight boxer (Anthony Quinn) and his corrupt manager (Jackie Gleason) is as relevant as ever, considering the sad fates of greats like Muhamed Ali. In fact, Quinn’s Mountain Rivera opens the movie being beaten to a pulp by a young Cassius Clay (later to become Ali). It feels real, even though it’s fiction, as this exploration of the afterlife of a boxer proves far more harrowing than what goes on inside the ring.