Robert De Niro back in ring in Cannes boxing film

Actor Robert De Niro at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival in New York on April 21.
Actor Robert De Niro at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival in New York on April 21.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Robert De Niro goes back into the ring in a new boxing movie to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival later this month, 36 years after his Oscar-winning performance in Raging Bull.

De Niro, 72, who starred as Jake LaMotta in Martin Scorsese's 1980 classic, plays trainer Ray Arcel in Hands Of Stone, a biopic about one of the greatest Latino fighters of all time, Roberto Duran.

The movie tells the story of the Panamanian brawler (played by Edgar Ramirez) who took the WBC welterweight title from Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980, only to shock the world by walking back to his corner in the rematch five months later saying, "No more." Duran - who began his professional career at 16 - fought on till he was 50.

"I'm excited to be coming back to Cannes especially with this movie that I'm so proud of," said De Niro, who will appear at a special screening of the film in his honour.

Producer Harvey Weinstein said: "Hands Of Stone is vintage De Niro. Anyone who knows Bob, knows what a passion he has for boxing and his huge input into this movie made it very realistic and smart."

De Niro starred in two films which won Cannes' top prize, the Palme d'Or - Scorsese's Taxi Driver in 1976 and Mission by British director Roland Joffe 10 years later.

Hands Of Stone, directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, will be released internationally in August and September.

Cannes, the most prestigious film festival in the world, runs from May 11 to 22 in the French Riviera resort.