Drunken-bum ex-boxer Stacy Keach hopes to stage a comeback. Despite the efforts of trainer/manager Beau Bridges, Keach crawls back into the bottle before he can revive his career. The boxer's inability to conform to what people expect of him is paralleled with the experiences of Susan Tyrrell, a white woman ostracized by the community because of her relationship with a black man. Leonard Gardner adapted the screenplay of Fat City from his own novel. The film represented John Huston's return to American moviemaking after a dozen years in Europe, and proved well worth the wait.