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The Greatest (1977)

PG | | Biography, Drama, Sport | August 1977 (UK)
3:12 | Trailer
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 »


Tom Gries


Muhammad Ali (based on: "The Greatest: My Own Story" by), Herbert Muhammad (based on: "The Greatest: My Own Story" by) | 2 more credits »
2 wins. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Muhammad Ali ... Cassius Clay / Muhammad Ali
Ernest Borgnine ... Angelo Dundee
John Marley ... Dr. Ferdie Pacheco
Lloyd Haynes ... Herbert Muhammad
Malachi Throne ... Payton Jory
Lucille Benson ... Mrs. Fairlie
Teddy Wilson ... John the Gardener (as Theodore R. Wilson)
Annazette Chase ... Belinda Ali
Mira Waters Mira Waters ... Ruby Sanderson
Chip McAllister Chip McAllister ... Cassius Clay Aged 18 (as Phillip 'Chip' McAllister)
Drew Bundini Brown Drew Bundini Brown ... Drew 'Bundini' Brown (as Drew 'Bundini' Brown)
Robert Duvall ... Bill McDonald
David Huddleston ... Cruikshank
Ben Johnson ... Hollis
James Earl Jones ... Malcolm X


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


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


Biography | Drama | Sport


PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


According to Ernest Borgnine in his biography, there was a strong relationship which rose between him and Cassius Clay during the shooting. Muhammad Ali cried when he saw Borgnine's character weep during one scene. See more »


In the opening scene the American Flag is hanging incorrectly; the blue field with stars should always be in the top left when the flag is hanging in that manner. See more »


[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.
See more »


Referenced in Foreman (2017) See more »


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

User Reviews

If only Ali could act....
22 February 2002 | by mickdoyleSee all my reviews

I am a big fan of Muhammad Ali. I am a HUGE fan of Muhammad Ali. I WANT to like this movie. But I can't. Ali is a horrible actor, simply terrible. And playing himself was a bad idea; it's like the old saying `the man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.' Here, the man who plays himself in a biographic film of himself looks like a fool. Some of the worst scenes are the 1977 version of Ali playing the young Casius Clay. He appears rather, well, OLD for the part. Where was Will Smith when we needed him? Hiding from this dog in his mother's ovaries apparently. If you are a big fan of Ali's as I am, I recommend avoiding this film if you wish to remain a fan of his. Leave the room if you have to, box your way to the remote control, get it off your TV or leave the house yourself.

Ali truly was the greatest. But this movie is not the greatest or even greater than any other flick I can recall. Even the legendary 'The Crawling Hand' of 'crawl back to bed and forget it' fame is better than this movie. So please, don't watch this bomb as I did; crawl back to bed and forget it.

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Release Date:

August 1977 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

El más grande See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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