Salvatore Ruocco is a handsome man, which makes it slightly hard to believe that prior to going into acting, he pursued a career as a boxer: he apparently didn't get hit in the face too often during his brief pugilistic career in his native Italy. While still in Naples, Ruocco made his film debut in director Neapolitan Martone's impressionistic tone poem of a documentary, "Caravaggio: The Last Act," which examined the great artist's late-life banishment to Naples after being found guilty of manslaughter in Rome in 1606. Moving to Rome himself, Ruocco first found work in a supporting role in Carlo Luglio's "Sotto la luna di Scampia" in 2006. This was followed two years later by his starring role in director Matteo Garrone's harsh mafia drama "Gomorrah." Ruocco's role as an unnamed boxer who tangles with local gamblers while attempting to rise through the ranks garnered particular praise; one of his scenes, in which he brandishes a gun on the street while clad only in a pair of bikini briefs, became the film's iconic image. He then returned to his hometown for director Abel Ferrara's documenatry-style crime drama "Napoli, Napoli, Napoli," followed by a supporting role as a policeman in the quirky indie drama "Gorbaciof."