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When We Were Kings (1996)

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

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 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, Muhammad Ali is 32 and thought by many to be past his prime. George Foreman 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 Seko, 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
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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. Foreman helped Ali, 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

Featured in 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die: Episode 2 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Am Am Pondo
Written by Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba Music (ASCAP)
Performed by Miriam Makeba
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User Reviews

 
More than just a good boxing story, it's an examination of cultural history
2 February 2000 | by (Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

To focus only on Ali (like or dislike), or just the significance of the boxing match alone, would be missing the point of this movie. Tell your friends that it's not just a sports movie! It is a Documentary that focuses not only on the fight, but on the black culture in the U.S. and Zaire. That's culture as defined by its people, music, athletes, politics, business and other innumerable parts, as observed by several different people, inside and outside.The insights offered by George Plimpton and Norman Mailer are priceless. It's history and entertainment together, and thoroughly enjoyable to watch. It would be simplistic and unjust to reject the Documentary because of personal prejudices or disagreement with Ali's politics. It is also a mistake to isolate and criticize colourful comments, chants and poetry (!)that were uttered purely to entertain and "psych" the opponent.

Not only was Ali a great boxer and a great entertainer, he is an intelligent and articulate man. He uses his high profile to deliver messages of racial pride, heritage, hope and peace. The fact that Parkinson's Disease has physically afflicted and almost silenced this man is a tragedy. We have been deprived of hearing what the 26 years of life experience since 1974 may have done to Ali's outlook and beliefs. Writing this has inspired me to go to the library; maybe he hasn't been silenced totally, and someone is talking for him. Like this film, it's a subject worth investigating!


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