He's the greatest fighter of all time. A sports icon that is loved throughout the world. A man driven by his ambition to be the best. Muhammad Ali is a name that to this day puts fear in ... See full summary »
Thirty-Two year-old Muhammad Ali takes on what was at that time, one of the most powerful boxers in the history of the sport, in one last shot at greatness. Ali employs his "rope-a-dope" ... See full summary »
Muhammad Ali stars as himself in this dramatised version of his life story up to the late 1970s. It includes his Olympic triumphs as Cassius Clay, his conversion to Islam, his refusal of ... See full summary »
Ali's biggest match, his fight with the US government. A film about the politics and hubris surrounding the Vietnam War and the revenge exacted on America's greatest sportsman of the 20th century because he refused to fight in that war.
Ed Begley Jr.
The life and career of Muhammad Ali (1942- ) as seen chronologically in archival footage: Ali as a fighter, a personality, a political lightening rod, and a man. Boxers who fought him describe what led up to major fights and the matches themselves; they also offer personal revelations about their own lives: George Chuvalo's family losses, George Foreman's conversion, Ken Norton's gratitude, Ron Lyle's teaching, Earnie Shaver's encounter with the Klan, and Joe Frazier's good humor pack their own punch. The fighters talk about Ali's quickness, cunning, and recuperative powers - and how fighting him changed their lives. Written by
After Ali changed it
from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, everybody else started turning to Muslim. "My name is Cooly Clala Cleely or Hooly Hooly or Walla Walla." What the fuck is that? Well, my name's Leon and there ain't nothing white about that. So what the hell?
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IF ONE HAS ever been around boxers very much and gotten to know a little about how they form a sort of mini-society or sub-culture of their own, you already know what to expect from this documentary. As competitive, brutal and even 'barbaric' a bout is, the participants seem to have overwhelmingly become a sort of very exclusive fraternity.
THERE ARE ALWAYS exceptions to any rule, but by and large, the guys who boxed at the professional level are respectful, modest and quite unaffected by their prowess. They never speak badly of other 'pugs' and prove to be 'just reg'lar guys to the public at large. They have no need to prove their toughness outside of the prize ring.
SO IT IS to this exclusive world of former fighters that the production transports us to look back on the career of one Cassius Clay/Mohammed Ali. The story is traced from the earliest days as a young promising kid in Louisville, through his amateur successes; which culminated with his victory at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games. There he won the Olympic Light Heavyweight title. This left no worlds to conquer in the Simon Pure, amateur boxing. So........
IT WAS WITH great anticipation that his entry into the Pros was met. He had already made for himself and the career in the Heavyweight ranks proved to be a meteoric rise toward the top.
IT IS THIS ringside observers' recollections that are captured with the extended narrative provided by names like: Joe Frazier, Ernie Terrell, (Sir) Henry Cooper, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, George Chuvalo, Ernie Shavers and Ken Norton. There are many references to his 2 bouts with the late Sonny Liston and many now deceased fighters, such as Jerry Quarry and Floyd Patterson, appear in archival footage.
IN THE FINAL analysis, FACING ALI gives us the history of the Clay/Ali career in fisticuffs, told by both opponents and associates who were there as real and true eyeball witnesses. All is revealed to us set against the backdrop of a 1960-70s America which was going through some growing pains with the Civil Rights movement and the very unpopular Vietnam War being waged in micro-managed fashion by the Johnson Administration.
WHEN WE ARRIVE at film's end, we feel that we know Ali/Clay just a little bit better and he emerges a much more sympathetic character than our recollections of his earlier legal battles with Uncle Sam & the Selective Service System (Draft Board) than our collective memories had stored up.
NOTE: AS SORT OF a sidebar to the story, we recall having heard Ali speak of how he got the idea of being so highly braggadocios about his skills in the ring. He said that he was a guest on a noontime soft news & talk show in LA. Along with him as guest was Pro Wrestler, Gorgeous George; who wasted no time in using the airwaves hype his upcoming match that night. Cassius said that George did such a fine and entertaining a job that even he bought a ticket and was in attendance on that particular evening.
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