Million Dollar Baby film matched with cheap diner eats


Image: cdkitchen

Starring Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank & Morgan Freeman

Rating 9/10


– Maggie Fitzgerald (Swank) is a struggling waitress with dreams of boxing the lights out of other ladies. So, she joins a gym with the best boxing trainer in the world, Frankie Dunn (Eastwood).
-Ex-boxer and current janitor Eddie ‘Scrap-Iron’ Dupris (Freeman) breaks the rules and gives her a few tips and a speed bag and in no time Maggie starts improving. Meanwhile Frankie loses his star boxer to another manager and reluctantly decides to take Maggie on. Then the girl gets GOOD!
– She hits her peak when she fights in London and Frankie rewards her with her own special boxing dressing gown and a new Gaelic name, ‘Mo cuishle’.
– Almost as soon as she lands in the the US of A, she takes Frankie on a road trip to visit her poverty-stricken family back home. Out of the goodness of her heart she buys her Ma a home and her mum pretty much throws it back in her face.
– Back in the gym, Frankie tells Maggie that he’s finally arranged a world title fight with the scary German boxer Billie ‘The Blue Bear’. This girl plays dirty and the before Maggie knows it, the fight gets serious. It ends with Mags getting hit from behind on her way back to her corner. She falls and hits her lovely head on the edge of her stool and instantly becomes a quadriplegic.
– In the hospital, Frankie stays by her side and cares for her like a father. He contacts her pathetic family who eventually travels to town and reluctantly rock in only to ask Maggie for the power of attorney. Thankfully she refuses and sends them packing.
– Then it ends. And how it ends, I won’t say but it is incredibly moving for Frankie, Dupris and of course our beautiful gal, Maggie.


When I think of Million Dollar Baby, diner food comes to mind. Now it’s not the healthiest food for a superstar boxer to eat but let’s focus on the fact that Maggie started her working life as a waitress and in the end, Frankie eats pie. See, it works! Here’s a classic American diner appetiser for your first course: Diner-style onion rings (rings, get it… boxing… rings?! Perfect).


Million Dollar Baby begins like any other boxing film. The audience thinks that it’s just another run-of-the-mill fighting flick, except that this time, there’s a girl in the ring! Ah-ha! Yep, this is no ordinary boxing flick. Not only is there a girl playing a boxer, but they’ve been drawn into a film about about belonging, about finding one’s place in the world and following dreams with all you have (cue soaring, inspirational music).

It sounds a little naff, I know, but this film offers so much more than the excitement of the boxing ring.  Incredible director/ producer/ actor Clint Eastwood has a way with film. It is as if it runs through his blood and out his pores; everything he touches turns to gold.

This is an emotional film. It’s not the easiest thing to watch two girls beating each other up! It’s pretty graphic with all the blood, the puffy eyes and broken noses being forced back into place but if you can cover your eyes and just bear it, this film is worth it! It’s lovely watching the relationship between tough Frankie and sweet Maggie bloom into a deep friendship. And that’s pretty much what it’s all about… belonging, which is something everyone can relate to, don’t ya think?!

Main meal:

No diner experience is complete without a whole heap of carbs and a serving of eggs and this quick dish will get you in the diner mood because it has pretty much everything that’s bad for you and that’s why greasy diners are so darn special ain’t it? Here’s a Quick Pastrami Hash and Eggs recipe from Delish. Dig in.

Quick Pastrami Hash and Eggs

Image: Ken Burris

Million Dollar Baby Trivia:

  • Budget – $30 million
  • This film is based on three short stories by Jerry Boyd: “The Monkey Look,” “Million $$$ Baby” and “Frozen Water.”
  • Swank put on nearly 10 kilograms of muscle for this film.
  • The boxer who played Billie the bear was actually Swank’s boxing coach.
  • Sandra Bullock was signed to play Maggie but it fell through.
  • Mo cuishle means my darling.
  • Filming was completed in only 37 days… 2 days early!
  • Swank contracted a serious infection in her foot and almost had to be hospitalised. But she didn’t tell the producers about her injury, instead took off a week and rested the darn thing cos she thought that’s what her character would do! Talk about tough!
  • Apparently the film only cost $18 million but it was increased to $30 million for publicity purposes.
  • This film was nominated for all major Oscars.


When at a diner, just like Frankie, you MUST have pie. It doesn’t matter what flavour you choose, it just must be pie. But if you want to have a really special Million Dollar Baby moment, it has to be Diner-style Lemon Meringue Pie because that’s what Frankie eats in the end and if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me (and it’s my favourite pie so yay!)

Diner-style lemon meringue pie

Image: cdkitchen

Are you mad for pies?

More delicious film experiences:

* Crash film paired with a cruisy Californian meal
* The Departed movie matched with Boston’s best recipes
The King’s Speech film paired with British food