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Ali (2001)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Sport  |  25 December 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 74,649 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 379 user | 171 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

A biography of sports legend, Muhammad Ali, from his early days to his days in the ring.



(story), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cassius Clay / Cassius X / Muhammad Ali


In 1964, a brash new pro boxer, fresh from his olympic gold medal victory, explodes on to the scene, Cassius Clay. Bold and outspoken, he cuts an entirely new image for African Americans in sport with his proud public self confidence with his unapologetic belief that he is the greatest boxer of all time. To his credit, he sets out to prove that with his highly agile and forceful style soon making him a formidable boxer who soon claims the heavyweight championship. His personal life is no less noteworthy with his allegiance to the Nation of Islam, his friendship with the controversial Malcolm X and his abandonment of his slave name in favour of Muhammad Ali stirring up controversy. Yet, at the top of his game, both Ali's personal and professional lives face the ultimate test with the military draft rules are changed, making him eligible for military induction during the Vietnam War. Despite the fact that he could easily agree to a sweetheart deal that would have meant an easy tour of ... Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@rogers.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. See more »


Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

25 December 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Али  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$107,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,216,625 (USA) (21 December 2001)


$646,787 (Germany) (16 August 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The poem Ali recites to Howard Cosell about an imaginary fight between himself and Joe Frazier is actually from a spoken-word album he recorded before his first Sonny Liston fight. The recording included the line, "The crowd never knew when they put down their money/That they'd see a total eclipse of the Sonny." See more »


In scenes from the 1960s, Howard Cosell is depicted wearing a hairpiece. Cosell didn't start wearing a hairpiece until the early '70s, prior to which he slicked back his receding hairline. See more »


Reporter: Hey, you think it's about time for a hairpiece?
Drew 'Bundini' Brown: What you talking 'bout a hairpiece for? You already done lost all your hair, you cueball headed motherfucker.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Columbia Pictures logo rolls backwards. See more »


Referenced in Half in the Bag: Red Tails (2012) See more »


Twisting the Night Away
(Sam Cooke Medley)
Written by Sam Cooke
Produced by Trevor Horn and Michael Mann
Performed by David Elliott
Published by Abkco Music, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Poetry! Rewrites the book on filmic storytelling
14 May 2002 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

A certain kind of critical response kept me away from this film when it was in theatrical release, and I should have known better! Michael Mann is one of the most original storytellers working in film today, and his sensibility is absolutely in sync with his subject here. Muhammad Ali always did it his way, and from the brilliant opening sequence (which breaks all kinds of rules of time and space) to the last scene, that's what Mann does, and with great style, as ever. Of course if an audience demands a literal drama, they might not catch the poetry Mann and his team create with sound and picture. Will Smith is outstanding as Ali, vocally and visually, Jon Voight is a unbelievably convincing Howard Cosell, and Mario Van Peebles is subtle and moving as Malcom X.

26 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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A naive question perhaps, but... Polygraph
Why did this movie cost $100,000,000? loophole41
Those Chinese guys thanking him.... edmond_yn
Nae of the song at the beginning bigk_wallace
Help with a song R.Kelly - Hold on filip-ng007
Probably the hugest piece of failed Oscar bait jkikianis
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