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11 user 6 critic

Thrilla in Manila (2008)

On October 1, 1975, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali was in the ring with his arch rival Joe Frazier for the third time. This fight in the Philippines, which has been ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself
Marvis Frazier ...
Himself
Thomas Hauser ...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
Ronnie Nathanielz ...
Himself
Ferdie Pacheco ...
Himself
Ferdinand Marcos ...
Himself (archive footage)
Imelda Marcos ...
Herself
David Wolf ...
Himself - Frazier's Camp
Butch Lewis ...
Himself
Buster Mathis ...
Himself (archive footage)
Stanley R. Hochman ...
Himself - Philadelphia Inquirer
Sunni Khalid ...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

On October 1, 1975, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali was in the ring with his arch rival Joe Frazier for the third time. This fight in the Philippines, which has been nicknamed "Thrilla in Manila," is considered one of the most dramatic boxing matches in history - in the words of the voice-over, "They hated each other." With the help of archive material and eyewitness accounts (including Imelda Marcos), this documentary not only reconstructs the match, but shows us what was happening behind the scenes as well. Written by International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

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Documentary | Sport

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11 November 2008 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Frazier vastaan Ali  »

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Featured in De wereld draait door: Episode #5.59 (2009) See more »

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Joe Frazier finally gets to tell his side of the story
19 January 2009 | by (Park City) – See all my reviews

2009 Sundance Film Festival In 1975, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier staged their third and final battle in the capital of the Philippines. Ali, in his infamous promoting of himself and ticket sales, dubbed it "The Thriller in Manilla." They had split their first two fights, and by this time Ali was considered the heavy favorite, with many (including Ali's camp) believing Frazier was washed up. It turned out to be an epic contest, one of the greatest heavyweight bouts of all time. Ali won when Frazier's camp threw in the towel after the 14th round, although witnesses reveal that Ali was perhaps even less able to answer the bell for the 15th round.

Ali went on to become a mythic figure, the public believing his self-proclaimed title "The greatest fighter of all time." Later, stricken by Parkinson's disease, he became universally beloved, virtually worshiped across the globe. In contrast, Joe Frazier has been almost forgotten, the victim of Ali's public insults and degradations, as well as two-out-of-three losses against Ali. The Thriller in Manilla examines the fight and the events leading up to it from Smokin' Joe's perspective. It's a tale that has never really been told, but was commissioned by the BBC and is likely to show on HBO this year.

It's a fascinating story. Frazier at his prime was every bit the match for Ali, as the record shows. Further, the fight in Manilla was so close that it could easily have gone either way. Yet Ali is an icon and Frazier lives in an apartment above his old gym in the roughest section of North Philadelphia.

Director John Dower admitted to the Sundance crowd he approached the film with an agenda—a project sympathetic to Joe and willing to take a few politically incorrect shots at Ali (who , as expected, refused the offer to be involved). Gen X and Y moviegoers unfamiliar with the participants may find the subject matter lacks relevance. But for those of us old enough to remember, this was more than a boxing rivalry, and Thriller in Manilla provides a fascinating perspective into one of the most politically charged athletic events in American history. As the movie accurately depicts, Ali vs. Frazier was ideological warfare—the cocky anti-war Muslim who claimed to speak for Black America against (Ali's words) the ignorant negro Uncle Tom who looked like a gorilla and did the white man's bidding. And unfortunately for Mr. Frazier, Ali made the labels stick. Frazier has never forgiven Ali for that. And he has never recovered from it.


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