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The Greatest (1977)

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Muhammad Ali stars as himself in this dramatized 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 »

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(based on: "The Greatest: My Own Story" by), (based on: "The Greatest: My Own Story" by) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Cassius Clay / Muhammad Ali
... Angelo Dundee
... Dr. Ferdie Pacheco
... Herbert Muhammad
... Payton Jory
... Mrs. Fairlie
... John the Gardener (as Theodore R. Wilson)
Annazette Chase ... Belinda Ali
Mira Waters ... Ruby Sanderson
Chip McAllister ... Cassius Clay Aged 18 (as Phillip 'Chip' McAllister)
Drew Bundini Brown ... Drew 'Bundini' Brown (as Drew 'Bundini' Brown)
... Bill McDonald
... Cruikshank
... Hollis
... Malcolm X
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Storyline

Muhammad Ali stars as himself in this dramatized 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 the Army draft, and the legal battle after being stripped of his World Title.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of a legend that took the world by storm. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

19 August 1977 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

El más grande  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Part of a cycle of ring fighter movies, mostly boxing, some wrestling, initiated by the box-office and critical success of the Academy Award Best Picture winning boxing movie Rocky (1976). The films include Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Tough Enough (1983), Title Shot (1979), Raging Bull (1980), The Champ (1979), Matilda (1978), The Main Event (1979), The Prize Fighter (1979), The Greatest (1977), Body and Soul (1981), Paradise Alley (1978), ...All the Marbles (1981), The One and Only (1978), Every Which Way But Loose (1978), and Any Which Way You Can (1980). See more »

Goofs

Ali is shown fighting Joe Bugner during the montage of bouts that took place between the first Frazier fight in 1971 and the first Norton fight in 1973.

However the footage is actually taken from the second fight with Bugner in 1975 instead of their first fight in 1973. Not only is this out of sequence for the montage but the second Bugner fight occurred after the Ali vs Foreman fight in 1974 which is the climax of the film. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Cassius Clay Aged 18: How Cassius Took Rome, by Cassius Clay, Jr.: To make America the Greatest is my goal, So I beat the Russian and I beat the Pole. And for the United States was a medal of gold.
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Connections

Referenced in Blue Nude (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

The Greatest Love of All
(main title song)
Sung by George Benson
Music by Michael Masser
Lyrics by Linda Creed
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User Reviews

The greatest plays the greatest
7 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

I said several months ago that no one could play Ali except Ali. I was right. Muhammad Ali does a magnificent job playing himself in this movie. Maybe he's no actor, but in this case he accomplished what he set out to do, and he had several really effective scenes, such as when he explained why he didn't want to go to Vietnam, and the scene where Clay demanded that he no longer be called by that slave name.

This was the third film (as opposed to documentary) that I saw on the life of the great boxer. David Ramsey did an okay job in the first one, and Will Smith tried his best but didn't quite capture the champ as only the champ could. Smith may have been the best actor out of the three, and certainly his film was the best.

Chip McAllister made young Cassius Clay too much of a clown. He was okay, I guess, but the portrayal of the character improved dramatically at one point, and I also noticed the actor looked so much more like Clay. That's when I remembered: Ali himself was playing the character.

Ernest Borgnine did a capable job as Ali's trainer, but this was not one of his best performances. James Earl Jones did a fine job as Malcolm X, brief as the performance was.

I learned a few new details about Ali's life I didn't know before. I also found out that 'The Greatest Love of All' was written long before Whitney Houston made it a hit.

The main reason for watching this movie was Ali himself. He was the greatest.


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