30 for 30: Season 1, Episode 4

Muhammad and Larry (27 Oct. 2009)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | Biography | Sport
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We follow the preparations for Ali's final attempt to win back the World Heavyweight title. Even during the lead up to the fight grave concerns were held for Ali's health and the man who ... See full summary »

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Larry Holmes ...
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Angelo Dundee ...
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Ferdie Pacheco ...
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Diane Holmes ...
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Cliff Ransom ...
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Drew Bundini Brown ...
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We follow the preparations for Ali's final attempt to win back the World Heavyweight title. Even during the lead up to the fight grave concerns were held for Ali's health and the man who stepped into the ring was frail imitation of his former self. Written by glenchapman@ruraltel.net

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A Real Masterpiece
4 November 2009 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

30 for 30: Muhammad and Larry (2009)

**** (out of 4)

Legendary documentary director Maysles (GIMME SHELTER, THE BEATLES: FIRST U.S. VISIT) dives head first into this episode of ESPN's series and ends up delivering one of the best of its kind. The film takes a look at the 1980 fight between friends Larry Holmes and Muhammad Ali, which ended with Ali being beaten to a pulp and many thinking it ended up putting him where he is today in terms of his health. This is a rather remarkable documentary that should have been given a theatrical release as it's that good and I might go even further and call it one of the best boxing documentaries I've ever seen. The amazing thing to hear happens right at the start of the film when Maysles says that all of the footage we're going to see was actually shot in 1980 as both boxers were getting ready for the match but no one wanted to released the footage until now. The documentary does a masterful job at showing the disaster that happened inside the ring but it also captures everything that was going on with the two fighters leading up to their match. Early in the film someone calls the fight a Greek tragedy and that's pretty much how it plays out as we learn right from the start that Ali gets massacred in the ring. We then flash to their story with all the footage that was shot in 1980. It's funny to see no one surrounding the champion Holmes but at the Ali camp, everyone is there daily to check him out. This old footage includes Ali playing with children, signing things for them, doing card tricks and just shows why so many people loved it. It also features several scenes of his famous mouth running. The film contains a lot of funny moments but it also turns deadly serious when it comes time to show the fight, the beating Ali took and what effect it might have had on his current health situation. Seeing Holmes crying after the fight and thinking about what happened really makes one think and want to point fingers for Ali's corner not stopping the fight a lot earlier. Maysles has several great films under his belt and you can add this one to the list. Boxing fans will certainly love it but I think the film is great enough to appeal to those who don't know the sport or like the sport.


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