The Last Gladiators


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“Pretty or not, the stories of dropped gloves and smashed faces shed some clarity on the game’s violence, not as some vague menace, but as a fact, the product of a drive that yields for these men intoxicating high points that are rarely reattained.” -Read the New York Times Review


In ice hockey, no one is more feared than the enforcer. These blue-collar players have one reason to be on the ice: to protect their guys, no matter what the cost—to themselves or others. For Chris Nilan, once the most tenacious enforcer in the National Hockey League, that meant a shattered body, addiction to drugs, and harming the people closest to him. But in the process, the Boston tough guy won the adoration of hockey’s holy city, Montreal, and earned everlasting glory by helping win the Stanley Cup. Through interviews with a generation of hockey’s most hard-bitten tough guys, the film explores what it means to grow up from carefree games on icy ponds to enforcing the unspoken code of the NHL.


Alex Gibney

Jim Podhoretz
Alex Gibney
Larry Weitzman

Ben Bloodwell

Original music by
David Kahne
Written by
Larry Weitzman
Jim Podhoretz
Alex Gibney

Executive Producers
Barry Reese
Donald “Dee” Rizzo
Michael Messner
George Gund
Robert J. Brooks

Jim Podhoretz