Also known as The Streetfighter, Hard Times stars Charles Bronson as Chaney, an aging bare-knuckle boxer, trying to scratch out a living in the middle of the Depression. "Speed" (James Coburn) is the two-bit promoter who books Chaney in the tank towns of the South and Midwest. He is briefly reinvigorated by an affair with the lovely Lucy (Jill Ireland, Mrs. Bronson in real life), but it's back to the seedy realm before too long. Hard Times represented the directorial debut of Walter Hill, who even at this early stage demonstrated the gritty verisimilitude that he'd bring to such future projects as The Warriors (1979) and 48 Hrs. (1984).
by Hal Erickson synopsis