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The Great White Hope (1970)

 -  Drama | Romance | Sport  -  16 October 1970 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,696 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 13 critic

A black champion boxer and his white female companion struggle to survive while the white boxing establishment looks for ways to knock him down.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Eleanor
Lou Gilbert ...
Goldie
Joel Fluellen ...
Tick
...
...
Dixon
Marlene Warfield ...
Clara
...
Cap'n Dan
...
Cameron
...
Mama Tiny
...
Scipio
Lloyd Gough ...
Smitty
George Ebeling ...
Fred
...
Brady
Roy Glenn ...
Pastor (as Roy E. Glenn Sr.)
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Storyline

Boxer Jack Jefferson (James Earl Jones) is the world's reigning heavyweight boxing champion. There's just one problem, he is also the first black heavyweight champion, and that bothers a lot of people. Jack's celebration is cut short, as Jack is framed for crossing a state line with Eleanor, his white fiancé (Jane Alexander in her first film role), a violation of the Mann Act. Facing a prison sentence, Jack escapes to Europe, with Eleanor in tow, encountering problems in England, and then France, and eventually landing in Cuba. In Havana, Jack agrees to enter the boxing ring for what might be the bout of his life. Both Jones and Alexander were nominated for Oscars. Written by trivwhiz

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

champion | boxer | boxing | havana | europe | See All (72) »

Taglines:

The most honored play in the history of Broadway...becomes an electrifying motion picture! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, and for language including racist dialogue | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

16 October 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'insurgé  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Redd Foxx, who knew former heavyweight champ Jack Johnson, whose career and struggle against racism inspired the original play, turned down a role in the film as he believed it was not a true picture of his old friend. See more »

Goofs

In the first scene in which we see Jefferson practicing, the sweat on his shirt changes from shot to shot in a way that wouldn't be predicted by evaporation. See more »

Quotes

Smith aka Smitty, Evening Mirror Reporter: [about Brady] You still think you can take him?
Jack Jefferson: Well, I ain't saying I can take him straight off, and anyway, that'd be kinda mean. Big holiday fight. Can't send all them people right back home again.
Smith aka Smitty, Evening Mirror Reporter: You're only worry is picking the round?
Jack Jefferson: Yeah, and that takes some thinkin', man. You see, if I lets it go on too long and, you know, just sorta block and keeping him off, then they'll say "well ain't that one shiftless nigger? Why are they all so lazy?" But if I chop him down *too* quick, you know,...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Screenplay by Howard Sackler Based on his play See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Jeffersons: Homecoming: Part 2 (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Let Me Hold You In My Arms Tonight
Written and Performed by Jesse Fuller
See more »

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User Reviews

 
James Earl Jones at his best
21 June 2004 | by (D.C.) – See all my reviews

It's criminal that this movie doesn't get the type of attention or respect it deserves. Great White Hope chronicles the life of Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion, and his bouts with the racism of the 1900s. Before this movie, I never understood where James Earl Jones got his reputation from. Clearly it's from this. He commands all of the scenes he's shot in, demonstrating a mastery of his craft that I've rarely with any other actor. Jones rages and roars through the movie, conveying a mixture of pride and frailty that is simply not to be missed.

At the risk of being redundant: don't sleep on this movie. It's James Earl Jones at his best.


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