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When We Were Kings (1996)

1:43 | Trailer
A documentary of the 1974 heavyweight championship bout in Zaire, "The Rumble in the Jungle," between champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali.


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





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


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


The untold story of the Rumble in the Jungle


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 »

Did You Know?


This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #998. See more »


[first lines]
Muhammad Ali: Yeah, I'm from Africa. Yeah, Africa's my home. Damn America and what America thinks. Yeah, I live in America; but, Africa's the home of the black man. And I was a slave 400 years ago and I'm going back home to fight among my brothers. Yeah!
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Referenced in Criminal Lovers (1999) See more »


Gonna Have A Funky Good Time
Written by James Brown
Fort Knox Music Inc. (BMI) / Trio Music Co. (BMI)
Performed by James Brown
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User Reviews

Ali, Boma Ye!!
12 August 2012 | by ragingbull_2005See all my reviews

This is the Oscar winning documentary about the legendary boxing bout between Muhammad Ali, the challenger and George Foreman, who was the reigning world heavy weight boxing champion of the time.

The match became popular as "Rumble in the Jungle". it was held at Kinshasa, Zaire. Both the fighters were blacks. However, Ali was revered as a demi-God because he had spoken about the atrocities which the African Americans were facing in the US and had refused to go and fight in Vietnam. He was considered a true representative of the blacks.

George Foreman, as the documentary says, was "blacker than Ali". But still he was taken as the white devil incarnate.

The match was promoted by Don King. the President of Zaire decided to give the financial rewards to the fighters as he planned to use the bout to promote his country and his despotic rule.

the build up to the fight and then the fight itself have been captured perfectly. there are glimpses about Ali's interaction with the citizens of Zaire who constantly urge him to "Ali, Boma Ye" which means "Ali, Kill Him".

The movie is very gripping and shows the human face of the Gods of the Gloves. Two thumbs up.

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English | French

Release Date:

14 February 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

When We Were Kings See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,479, 27 October 1996

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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