No this is hardly a genuine classic film. The performances are decent, but nothing special. Still, this is one of those films; you just want to see again. Charles Bronson plays a drifter, down on his luck with one marketable talent. He's a great bare-knuckle fighter who needs to earn a few bucks to live on for a while. Nothing is ever explained who he really is, or how he became such a good fighter. His explanation to his new found promoter (played with some flair by James Coburn) is that fighting is something he's doing just for a while.
So why is this something you'd want to see again. Actually, it's the fighting. Rarely has anyone filmed a movie with more innovative fist fighting styles. I'm guessing that a lot of the actual punches thrown, would not be practical in any real fight, still they look great on film. Each of the main fights has its own array of tactics that make in interesting. The best of which, is the second before last fight, which boasts some interesting, overhead camera work.
I'm guessing this movie obtained in character, what Patrick Swayze, was trying to accomplish in Road House. A woman he meets treats Bronson as a shiftless drifter. After a brief attempt to get to know her, she dumps him when she finds a man with a steady job. He then shows himself to have some real character, (at least to himself and the audience) by putting it all on the line. Instead of leaving town, he decides to help his new promoter, who's gotten in trouble with the load sharks. This gives the movie an ending, and even somewhat of a purpose outside of the great fistfights.
The DVD looks to be a little thin on extras', which is too bad; I'd love to know more about how they staged those fight scenes. A film this old that has not quite made the bargain bins in price, means the demand is still hot. It usually means it's worth adding to your personal collection for repeat viewings.