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When We Were Kings (1996)

PG  |   |  Documentary, History, Sport  |  14 February 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 11,637 users   Metascore: 83/100
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A documentary of the 1974 heavyweight championship bout in Zaire between champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali.


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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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 »




Release Date:

14 February 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amikor királyok voltunk - Muhammad Ali  »

Box Office


$2,666,118 (USA) (6 June 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Though almost all of the footage in this documentary was shot by producer/director Leon Gast in 1974, one reason it took 23 years to complete was because the negative and rights to the film were entangled in civil suits involving the Liberians who financed the movie's making. See more »


Muhammad Ali: It is befitting that I leave the game just like I came in, beating a big bad monster who knocks out everybody and no one can whup him. That's when little Cassius Clay from Louisville, Kentucky, came up to stop Sonny Liston. The man who annihilated Floyd Patterson twice. HE WAS GONNA KILL ME! But he hit harder than George. His reach is longer than George's. He's a better boxer than George. And I'm better now than I was when you saw that 22-years old undeveloped kid running from Sonny Liston. I'm...
See more »


References The Mummy (1932) See more »


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

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User Reviews

" 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"
22 December 2001 | by (sweden) – See all my reviews

First I must say that the editing is some of the best I have seen.WOW is the right world for this film.I have seen it four times and still I think it´s as interesting as the first time you see it.Muhammad Ali is really a genius and I think you will understand that when you see this film.The film is also very good because of people like Spike Lee,Malick Bowens and George Plimpton tells fascinating observations about the time.

"I'm young, I'm handsome, I'm fast, I'm pretty and can't possibly be beat"

This film really made me think and I would call it a masterpiece.You will also see great MUSICIANS such as B.B King,James Brown and the Spinners.I recommend this film to everybody,you don´t even need to like boxing to love this film.5/5

13 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Ali jogging, sparring with the cameraman. BobbyBlack
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