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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 »

Director:

Tom Gries

Writers:

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

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Cast

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
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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:

Winner, Loser, Lover, Loudmouth... THE MAN See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

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:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song "The Greatest Love of All", first introduced on the soundtrack of this movie by George Benson, went on to become an international smash hit for Whitney Houston in 1986. See more »

Goofs

Outside the Armed Forces induction center in Houston, a naval officer was wearing summer whites, with a khaki combination cover. That headpiece should have a white covering, not khaki, which was intended for use with summer khaki uniform. The cap is an option to the overseas cover, seen correctly worn on another officer. 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

Edited into Afro Promo (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

I Always Knew I Had It In Me
Sung by George Benson
Music by Michael Masser
Lyrics by Gerry Goffin
See more »

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User Reviews

Pretty average
4 September 2003 | by dtucker86See all my reviews

Maybe the producers of this film thought it would be highly original to have Ali play himself. I can picture them sitting down and saying that really there is no actor who could do this man justice (this was before Will Smith was born!). However, Ali just couldn't act. Its sad watching him play himself as a young man when he's so obviously overwieght older and out of shape. Also I think that at the time this film was made, he was beginning to develop Parkinsons. His speech was already becoming slurry. The filmakers surround Ali with a professional cast of actors like James Earl Jones and Ernest Borgnine as Angelo Dundee, but Ali just wasn't right for this. Maybe this is one film that should never have been made. The lead up to the climatic Rumble in the Jungle with Foreman where he regains the title is done very well, it shows him training and running. They show quite a bit of footage from Ali's fights which is fine because they are from his best fights, the only thing is they keep playing the same damn music OVER AND OVER for them! It got kind of irritating. It was thrilling though in the end when Ali went up against the younger and stronger George Foreman and beat him in a stunning upset by using that "rope a dope" strategy. The final words of the film are of the fight commentator when he says "Foreman goes down, Muhammad Ali has done the IMPOSSIBLE! He has regained the Heavyweight Championship of the World"


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