Once you get past the fact that handsome Paul Newman could never pass for plug-ugly boxer Rocky Graziano in real life, you will be able to accept Somebody Up Their Likes Me as one of the more accomplished movie biopics of the 1950s. Based on Graziano's autobiography (co-written with Rowland Barber), the film accurately depicts the teen-aged Rocky as an unregenerate punk, evidently doomed by his slum environment, and his own lousy attitude, to a life of petty crime. Determining that the only way he'll make a living is with his fists, Rocky becomes a boxer, at first willing to participate in a series of fixed fights. Eventually, Rocky develops a conscience and sense of self-respect, no small thanks to his sweetheart (and later wife) Norma (Pier Angeli). The film ends on an optimistic note after Rocky wins a "clean" bout with Tony Zale (playing himself). Training extensively with Graziano prior to and during production, Newman is quite impressive in his first worthwhile film role (this was only his third film, following the execrable The Silver Chalice and the forgettable outing The Rack). The title song in Somebody Up There Likes Me was written by Bronislau Kaper and Sammy Cahn, and performed by Perry Como.
by Hal Erickson synopsis