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When We Were Kings (1996)

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A documentary of the 1974 heavyweight championship bout in Zaire, "The Rumble in the Jungle," between champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali.

Director:

Leon Gast
Won 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Muhammad Ali ... Himself
George Foreman ... Himself
Don King ... Himself
James Brown ... Himself
B.B. King ... Himself
Mobutu Sese Seko Mobutu Sese Seko ... Himself (President of Zaire)
Spike Lee ... Himself
Norman Mailer ... Himself - Writer
George Plimpton ... Himself - Writer
Thomas Hauser Thomas Hauser ... Himself
Malick Bowens ... Himself - Artist (as Malik Bowens)
Lloyd Price Lloyd Price ... Himself - Concert Promoter
The Spinners ... Themselves
Miriam Makeba ... Herself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Drew Bundini Brown Drew Bundini Brown ... Himself - Ali's Ass't Trainer (as Drew 'Bundini' Brown)
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Storyline

It's 1974, Muhammad Ali is 32 and thought by many to be past his prime. George Foreman is ten years younger and the Heavyweight champion of the world. Promoter Don King wants to make a name for himself and offers both fighters five million dollars apiece to fight one another, and when they accept, King has only to come up with the money. He finds a backer in Mobutu Sese Seko, the dictator of Zaire and the "Rumble in the Jungle" is set. A musical festival, featuring the America's top black performers, like James Brown and B.B. King, is also planned. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The untold story of the Rumble in the Jungle

Genres:

Documentary | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for images of violence, brief nudity and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 February 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amikor királyok voltunk - Muhammad Ali See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,666,118, 8 June 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Almost all of the footage was shot in 1974. The film took 23 years to complete because the negatives and rights were caught up in civil suits involving the Liberians who financed it. See more »

Quotes

[Responding to Howard Cosell]
Muhammad Ali: I'm gonna let everybody know that that thing you got on your head is a phony, and it comes from the tail of a pony!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ali (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Young Rabbits
Written by Wayne Henderson
EMI U Catalog Inc. (ASCAP)
Performed by The Crusaders
See more »

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User Reviews

fascinating piece of history, even for non-fight fans
20 September 2002 | by kevink868See all my reviews

It goes nearly without saying that Ali is a transcendent figure of his generation. For those currently in their twenties who did not grow up in Ali era, this film is a glimpse at why the world choked up upon seeing Ali light the flame at the Atlanta Olympiad.

While Gast's footage of Ali in Kinshasa is sparse, interview segments with Plimpton, Mailer and Lee, and a pulsing soundtrack fill in the blanks to tell a surprisingly complete tale. The characters are fascinating: A young Don King, who had not yet made his name; a sullen, menacing George Foreman bearing no resemblance to the huckster we see today; the creepy Mobutu, who is rarely seen though his presence is felt, and Howard Cosell, who appears briefly to predict the defeat of the man who practically created him. Far, FAR superior to Michael Mann's Ali, which lifted huge pieces from this documentary. While Mann's film provides much more for the eye, Gast's "Kings" is a superior example of pure storytelling.


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