Critic Reviews

83

Metascore

Based on 21 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
On a deeper level -- and this is where When We Were Kings exceeds its expectations and becomes a great film -- Gast examines African American pride.
100
90
Chicago Reader
Gast does a nice job of building the suspense leading up to the fight, fleshing out the story with some good color commentary by a handful of people (filmed by director Taylor Hackford, who wisely convinced Gast that these reminiscences and remarks would fill in some historical gaps).
90
Film Threat
The seemingly total access and seemingly total coverage the film makers enjoy makes us forget at times that this isn't some Hollywood fabrication.
90
Mr. Gast skillfully blends photographs, celebrity interviews with Norman Mailer and others, and colorful forays into the Zairian countryside, where Ali fostered black brotherhood and became a huge favorite, in a film that ''gazes well beyond the ring and seeks engagement with history''.
90
For those who want to relive Ali's glory days, and for those who think Ali was nothing but a prizefighter, this movie, which took the struggling Gast 20 years to get financed, is required viewing.
89
The stunning vitality and passion of this film arises not only from the high-voltage personalities involved (especially Ali and King) but from the way they galvanized political and ethnic pride among the people of the poor West African nation.
75
It is a new documentary of a past event, recapturing the electricity generated by Muhammad Ali in his prime.
75
ReelViews
A wonderfully nostalgic, and occasionally insightful, window into the recent past.
70
Salon.com
When We Were Kings, which was put together by Taylor Hackford and Leon Gast, is a patchy movie that fails to rise to the grace and articulation of its main attraction. But it has Ali, and when he's on-screen, that's enough.

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