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.
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 »
In 1964, world champion boxer Muhammad Ali requested exemption from the military draft based on his religious beliefs. His request was denied and when he refused induction into the army, he was convicted and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. His case eventually works itself up the Supreme Court. In their first conference after the case is presented, the justices decide by majority vote to uphold the conviction and Justice John Harlan is tasked with preparing the majority opinion. He assigns one of his clerks, Kevin Connolly, to prepare a first draft but try as he might he believes that decision his wrong. His draft argues for overturning the conviction and Harlan agrees with him. The justice must now find a way to convince his colleagues. Written by
Robert Firth, who provides the voice for the NY Ring Announcer, was delighted to have had an opportunity to work with the legendary filmmaker Stephen Frears. During their ADR session, when Firth recorded the character's voice for the film's crucial Ali victory, he and Frears spent a great deal of time searching for just the right regional accent - to help capture the proper tone and manner for that period of time in American culture. Firth was taken aback by Frears' meticulous attention to detail. And Frears was intrigued by Firth's seemingly endless options he was offering to the director - so much so, that when he was leaving, a somewhat curious Frears asked the actor for his last name. He replied, "It's Firth, like Colin Firth, but without all those awards." See more »
Justice Potter Stewart:
You okay, Harry?
Justice Harry Blackmun:
I know you're all concerned with what you perceive as my indecisiveness, you think I can't make up my mind. It's not that, it really isn't. It's that the issues in this case are so grave, you answer one question, even tentatively you think you're safe, then two more questions appear on the horizon. As I see it, I can't make a final judgement until all the facts are in. Until all the arguments have been analyzed.
Justice Potter Stewart:
But it's not a math problem, Harry. You wanna find out one answer....
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I remember the Supreme Court becoming a lightning rod during the presidency of Richard Nixon, when two of his appointees were repudiated by the Senate. I also remember the lengthy hiatus of Muhammed Ali from the ring. And I remember the passions of the 1960's and early 70's. This movie took me back to those days. However, the movie is more about the Supreme Court and the personal relationships between a group of senior jurists, some liberal and some conservative, who divide over the issue of Mujhammed Ali and his right to refuse to serve in the armed forces at a time when conscription was compulsory for most males. This is far from a convincing movie but it is enlivened by the newsreels of Muhammed Ali, a formidable figure in and out of the ring; President Richard Nixon; and the youth who confronted the established order. In this movie, the fight was on a court divided between the left and right, with a Chief Justice who wanted to avoid a difficult decision. The court appears to be made up of scatterbrained and feeble old men who are not inclined to take risks. I don't know how historically accurate this movie is but the Supreme Court is shown as an old boys club, not a group of serious jurists who form a third branch of government. It was made up of all men with only one black, Thurgood Marshall. I found it hard to watch the depiction of Judge Hugo Black as someone seemingly in the throes of senility. I believe in his day he was a great Justice. Frank Langella plays a rather staid, unimaginative and out of touch Chief Justice named Warren Burger, the man who succeeded the great Earl Warren. Christopher Plummer plays Justice John Harlan, a southern conservative who has a passion for the law. He hires a young man who advises him to rule in favour of Ali and his conscientious objector status, following the precedent set in 1955 for the Jehovah's Witnesses. The movie makes the liberal wing look far more sympathetic than their conservative counterparts, who sense no need for the court to rule on the case. But the Justices were capable of following a leader like John Harlan, who showed leadership by ruling on the basis of legal precedent and breaking rank with his boss who wanted a Court that would follow his orders. British Director Stephen Frears shows the Supreme Court as a branch of government that was able to move out of its own comfort zone in spite of itself.
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