7.0/10
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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)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Earl Jones ... Jack Jefferson
Jane Alexander ... Eleanor Backman
Lou Gilbert Lou Gilbert ... Goldie
Joel Fluellen Joel Fluellen ... Tick
Chester Morris ... Pop Weaver
Robert Webber ... Dixon
Marlene Warfield Marlene Warfield ... Clara
R.G. Armstrong ... Cap'n Dan
Hal Holbrook ... District Attorney Al Cameron
Beah Richards ... Mama Tiny
Moses Gunn ... Scipio
Lloyd Gough ... Smitty
George Ebeling George Ebeling ... Fred
Larry Pennell ... Franklyn 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hungarian | German | Spanish

Release Date:

16 October 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

L'insurgé See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lawrence Turman See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Johnson -Willand fight was filmed in Barcelona. 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

Pop Weaver: Makes you feel kind of old, doesn't it? Seeing Brady refereeing.
Cap'n Dan: Ah, who the hell cares? He's the man who lost that belt, Pop, and this whole rotten world's gonna watch him at the finish now, lifting it right up high and passing it on, like the Kid'll pass it on, and the next one'll pass it on. *This* time, we'll keep it in the family.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Screenplay by Howard Sackler Based on his play See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay
(uncredited)
Written by Henry J. Sayers
Arranged by Lionel Newman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
James Earl Jones at his best
21 June 2004 | by anton_merrickSee all my reviews

It's criminal that this movie doesn't get the type of attention or respect it deserves. Great White Hope chronicles the life of Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion, and his bouts with the racism of the 1900s. Before this movie, I never understood where James Earl Jones got his reputation from. Clearly it's from this. He commands all of the scenes he's shot in, demonstrating a mastery of his craft that I've rarely with any other actor. Jones rages and roars through the movie, conveying a mixture of pride and frailty that is simply not to be missed.

At the risk of being redundant: don't sleep on this movie. It's James Earl Jones at his best.


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