Boxer Jack Jefferson (James Earl Jones) is the world's reigning heavyweight boxing champion. There's just one problem, he is also the first black heavyweight champion, and that bothers a lot of people. Jack's celebration is cut short, as Jack is framed for crossing a state line with Eleanor, his white fiancé (Jane Alexander in her first film role), a violation of the Mann Act. Facing a prison sentence, Jack escapes to Europe, with Eleanor in tow, encountering problems in England, and then France, and eventually landing in Cuba. In Havana, Jack agrees to enter the boxing ring for what might be the bout of his life. Both Jones and Alexander were nominated for Oscars.Written by
In the first scene in which we see Jefferson practicing, the sweat on his shirt changes from shot to shot in a way that wouldn't be predicted by evaporation. See more »
Now you're the first black man in the history of the ring who's ever had a crack at the heavyweight title. Now white folks, of course, are behind Brady. He's the redeemer of the race and so on. But you, Jack Jefferson, are you the black hope?
Well, I'm black and I'm hopin'.
Answer him straight, Jack.
Hey, look, man, I ain't fighting for no race, I ain't redeeming nobody. My mama told me *Mr. Lincoln* done that. Ain't that why you shot him?
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Screenplay by Howard Sackler Based on his play See more »
Written by Thurston Gilbert Frazier See more »
The film is only BASED on Jack Johnson.
I continue to read comments about how this film is about Jack Johnson. That's not true. It's a story inspired by Jack Johnson, who was much more articulate and sophisticated than Jack JEFFERSON, who is the character James Earl Jones plays. Granted, every obstacle put in his path because of the severe level of blatant racism was true to Johnson's life. However, I just want to point out that the real man, in spite of his era, was a more intelligent and cultured individual than the Jefferson character. In spite of this complaint, the performances in this film are absolutely sublime! It deserves to be seen for the dramatic efforts of each performer, especially James Earl Jones. EXCELLENT acting, but not an accurate representation of the man himself.
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