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When We Were Kings (1996)

8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 10,917 users   Metascore: 83/100
Reviews: 53 user | 59 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

A documentary of the 1974 heavyweight championship bout in Zaire between champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali.

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Title: When We Were Kings (1996)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
Mobutu Sese Seko ...
Himself (President of Zaire)
...
Himself
...
Himself - Writer
...
Himself - Writer
Thomas Hauser ...
Himself
...
Himself - Artist (as Malik Bowens)
Lloyd Price ...
Himself - Concert Promoter
The Spinners ...
Themselves
...
Herself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Drew Bundini Brown ...
Himself - Ali's Ass't Trainer (as Drew 'Bundini' Brown)
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Storyline

It's 1974, Muhammed Ali is 32 and thought by many to be past his prime. George Forman is ten years younger and the Heavyweight champion of the world. Promoter Don King wants to make a name for himself and offers both fighters five million dollars apiece to fight one another, and when they accept, King has only to come up with the money. He finds a backer in Mobutu Sese Suko, the dictator of Zaire and the "Rumble in the Jungle" is set. A musical festival, featuring the America's top black performers, like James Brown and B.B. King, is also planned. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The untold story of the Rumble in the Jungle


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for images of violence, brief nudity and some language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 February 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amikor királyok voltunk - Muhammad Ali  »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,666,118 (USA) (6 June 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the film won the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary, George Foreman and Muhammad Ali came to the stage with the filmmakers to show they had made peace long since the bout shown in the film. To that end, their friendship was warm enough for Foreman to help Ali, by then stricken with Parkinson's Disease, climb the steps to the stage. See more »

Quotes

Malik Bowens: Muhammad Ali, he was like a sleeping elephant. You can do whatever you want around a sleeping elephant; whatever you want. But when he wakes up, he tramples everything.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Siskel & Ebert: Men in Black/Wild America/Out to Sea (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Am Am Pondo
Written by Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba Music (ASCAP)
Performed by Miriam Makeba
See more »

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User Reviews

Great Look at Historic Fight
11 May 2012 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

When We Were Kings (1996)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Extremely entertaining, Oscar-winning documentary covering the 1974 boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, which became known as the Rumble in the Jungle. Through interview footage as well as archival footage, director Leon Gast's film perfectly documents the historic match and everything leading up to it. The boxing match itself is legendary and something most people know about and it's perfectly shown here but I think the real key to the documentary is everything we're shown leading up to the fight. This, of course, includes a lot of stuff dealing with Ali trash talking and getting involved with the African people. There are several scenes where Ali is simply out in the streets working out and trying to pump up the African people and of course get them in his corner. By contrast, we then see interview segments with Foreman where he's obviously not as deeply in with the people and doesn't have the same connection that Ali does. One really gets a great idea of the political climate heading up to the fight and the stuff with Ali training and just being himself are truly priceless. It's also fun hearing about how his career was thought to have been on the low-end as everyone was thinking that Foreman would destroy and possibly kill him in the ring. When we finally get to the fight footage it's presented in such a way that you really see what Ali was going for and how he pulled the upset. We see some terrific footage that is broken down and we're shown every little point that helped get Ali the win. WHEN WE WERE KINGS shows a historic fight and the surroundings around it and you can't help but be thankful that such an important event was captured in such a great form.


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