6.9/10
2,354
34 user 18 critic

The Great White Hope (1970)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance, Sport | 16 October 1970 (USA)
A black champion boxer and his white female companion struggle to survive while the white boxing establishment looks for ways to knock him down.

Director:

Martin Ritt

Writers:

Howard Sackler (play), Howard Sackler (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Earl Jones ... Jack Jefferson
Jane Alexander ... Eleanor
Lou Gilbert Lou Gilbert ... Goldie
Joel Fluellen Joel Fluellen ... Tick
Chester Morris ... Pop Weaver
Robert Webber ... Dixon
Marlene Warfield ... Clara
R.G. Armstrong ... Cap'n Dan
Hal Holbrook ... Cameron
Beah Richards ... Mama Tiny
Moses Gunn ... Scipio
Lloyd Gough ... Smitty
George Ebeling George Ebeling ... Fred
Larry Pennell ... Brady
Roy Glenn ... Pastor (as Roy E. Glenn Sr.)
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Storyline

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 trivwhiz

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The most honored play in the history of Broadway...becomes an electrifying motion picture! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, and for language including racist dialogue | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Last screen appearance of Chester Morris. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Reporter: 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?
Jack Jefferson: Well, I'm black and I'm hopin'.
Goldie: Answer him straight, Jack.
Jack Jefferson: 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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Crazy Credits

Screenplay by Howard Sackler Based on his play See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gilmore Girls: Sadie, Sadie (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Breakfast Blues
(uncredited)
Written by Thurston Gilbert Frazier
See more »

User Reviews

The film is only BASED on Jack Johnson.
22 April 2020 | by elliottyoungSee all my reviews

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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hungarian | German | Spanish

Release Date:

16 October 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great White Hope See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lawrence Turman See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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