A biography of sports legend Muhammad Ali, focusing on his triumphs and controversies between 1964 and 1974.

Director:

Writers:

(story), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
4,375 ( 54)

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Ad

Genius (TV Series 2017)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A series which explores how patent clerk Einstein could not get a teaching job or doctorate in his early life, yet managed to go on to solve the secrets of the universe.

Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Flynn, Nicholas Rowe
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A lawyer becomes a target by a corrupt politician and his NSA goons when he accidentally receives key evidence to a serious politically motivated crime.

Director: Tony Scott
Stars: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight
Bad Boys II (2003)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Two loose-cannon narcotics cops investigate the flow of Ecstasy into Florida.

Director: Michael Bay
Stars: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Gabrielle Union
Hitch I (2005)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

While helping his latest client woo the fine lady of his dreams, a professional "date doctor" finds that his game doesn't quite work on the gossip columnist with whom he's smitten.

Director: Andy Tennant
Stars: Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James
Bad Boys (1995)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Two hip detectives protect a murder witness while investigating a case of stolen heroin.

Director: Michael Bay
Stars: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Lisa Boyle
Action | Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

The two best hired guns in the West must save President Grant from the clutches of a nineteenth-century inventor-villain.

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Stars: Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh
Miami Vice (2006)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Based on the 1980s TV action/drama, this update focuses on vice detectives Crockett and Tubbs as their respective personal and professional lives become dangerously intertwined.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Li Gong
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

a struggling salesman takes custody of his son as he's poised to begin a life-changing professional career.

Director: Gabriele Muccino
Stars: Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith
Drama | Fantasy | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A down-and-out golfer attempts to recover his game and his life with help from a mystical caddy.

Director: Robert Redford
Stars: Will Smith, Matt Damon, Charlize Theron
Seven Pounds (2008)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A man with a fateful secret embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by forever changing the lives of seven strangers.

Director: Gabriele Muccino
Stars: Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson
Collateral (2004)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith
Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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

Taglines:

The Champ is here! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

25 December 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Али  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$107,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$58,183,966 (USA) (8 February 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Reunites Enemy of the State (1998) co-stars Will Smith and Jon Voight. See more »

Goofs

When the FBI is setting up the wiretaps, the cigarette and ashes jump around in the ashtray between shots. See more »

Quotes

Muhammad Ali: Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee His hands can't hit what his eyes can't see.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, as the main title fades away the A of Ali lasts a little longer than the other two letters. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 74th Annual Academy Awards (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Fight
Written and Produced by Alicia Keys and Kerry Brothers (as Kerry Brothers Jr.)
Performed by Alicia Keys
Courtesy of J Records/MBK Entertainment
Published by EMI April Music Inc., Lellow Music Publishing, Book of Daniel and Publishing Participant New Columbia Pictures Music Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

solid but flawed
30 June 2003 | by (chicago) – See all my reviews

Ali is a film that both succeeds and fails at the same time. Will Smith's performance was very solid, yet I never was able to shake the feeling that on screen it was Will Smith playing Muhammad Ali and not simply Muhammad Ali. Perhaps that is through no fault of his. He truly does a great impression of the fighter. The script is again decent, centering on several facets of the star's life that go beyond the sports pages. However, overall the whole project has a rather distant feel. The viewer rarely is truly captivated by what is occurring. Michael Mann's characteristic documentary-esque filming style works well in parts, but services to alienate the viewer in others. Yes, it feels as though you are almost watching a documentary in many cases, as if the viewer is a bystander to the circumstances at hand, but this is a work of drama, not a documentary. I wish someone had told Mann to stop shaking the camera and shifting to view Ali between the standard stock of blurred reporters for a few seconds and do a more typically dramatic shot. With Heat and The Insider, Mann managed to pull off this style successfully. In Ali he does not. In many cases conversations begin to rise but then only dissipate before anything really gripping has been said. Simply put, this film could have used a few more motivational speeches along the lines of a Rocky film. Perhaps it wouldn't have been as accurate, but it would have serviced a more dramatic story, at least one where the viewer really felt involved. Ali goes through two wives in the film and in neither case do they even serve to get very angry with him. Voices begin to rise and then either the woman or Ali leaves the room. The scene ends without any heavy emotion other than stern faces being shown. He's divorced a few minutes later. The fight scenes also have a lack of emotion. The film style is interesting and visually stimulating, but it could have used a few `it's over Rock!' lines here and there to punctuate things.

Mann's standard use of music again fails in many cases here. Whereas in "historical" films like Forrest Gump period music is used to punctuate a dramatic score, in Ali it is almost the sole backing track of the film. There is scarcely any musical score involved. When it is used, it often seems like it was just pieced together from leftovers to provide ambience. In a few key dramatic scenes, the pop ditties being played (although sometimes fitting lyrically) really end up being a distraction. The death of Malcolm X is a prime example. Ali's close friend has just been killed and you're just waiting for a rising orchestral number (however cliche and standard it may be, that's what you're looking for), but instead you get a period song that, at this point in the film, is beginning to sound like half a dozen others before it. In several cases Mann's musical style does work (Ali's jog through the streets of Zaire being an example, the closing number another) but the technique fails overall.

I've mostly criticized this film, which should not be the only viewpoint, because cinematically it is a fine work. There doesn't need to be another Ali film made, as this will service his legacy nicely. It has flaws, but I point out these flaws taking for granted just how good much of it is. The banter between Ali and Howard Cosell (Jon Voight, who completely disappears into this role) is classic, and work by Jaime Foxx and Mario Van Peebles (as Malcolm X) is solid as well. Michael Mann knows how to handle a film and I would rather watch a sub-par outing from him than most of what Hollywood produces any day. He's just done better. Some script work and a better musical score could have pushed this good film to greatness.

7/10


37 of 57 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?