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Ali (2001)

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A biography of sports legend Muhammad Ali, focusing on his triumphs and controversies between 1964 and 1974.

Director:

Michael Mann

Writers:

Gregory Allen Howard (story), Stephen J. Rivele (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
2,427 ( 265)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Will Smith ... Cassius Clay / Muhammad Ali
Jamie Foxx ... Drew 'Bundini' Brown
Jon Voight ... Howard Cosell
Mario Van Peebles ... Malcolm X
Ron Silver ... Angelo Dundee
Jeffrey Wright ... Howard Bingham
Mykelti Williamson ... Don King
Jada Pinkett Smith ... Sonji
Nona Gaye ... Belinda Ali
Michael Michele ... Veronica Porche
Joe Morton ... Chauncey Eskridge
Paul Rodriguez ... Dr. Ferdie Pacheco
Bruce McGill ... Bradley
Barry Shabaka Henley ... Herbert Muhammad
Giancarlo Esposito ... Cassius Clay, Sr.
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Storyline

In 1964, a brash new pro boxer, fresh from his Olympic gold medal victory, explodes on to the scene, Cassius Clay. Bold and outspoken, he cuts an entirely new image for African Americans in sport with his proud public self confidence with his unapologetic belief that he is the greatest boxer of all time. To his credit, he sets out to prove that with his highly agile and forceful style soon making him a formidable boxer who soon claims the heavyweight championship. His personal life is no less noteworthy with his allegiance to the Nation of Islam, his friendship with the controversial Malcolm X and his abandonment of his slave name in favor of Muhammad Ali stirring up controversy. Yet, at the top of his game, both Ali's personal and professional lives face the ultimate test with the military draft rules are changed, making him eligible for military induction during the Vietnam War. Despite the fact that he could easily agree to a sweetheart deal that would have meant an easy tour of ... Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony [DVD] [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Swahili

Release Date:

25 December 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ali See more »

Filming Locations:

Ghana See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$107,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,710,892, 30 December 2001

Gross USA:

$58,203,105

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$87,812,729
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The project lay in "development hell" for more than a decade. Several directors attempted to make the film, including: Oliver Stone, Spike Lee, and Norman Jewison. Stone's first choice for Muhammad Ali was Denzel Washington. When Washington signed on to The Hurricane (1999), Stone opted to make Any Given Sunday (1999). In the end, Jewison made The Hurricane (1999). Lee had previously directed Washington in Malcolm X (1992). See more »

Goofs

In the early 1960s section of the film, Cassius Clay refers to a member of the Beatles as "the one with the glasses." Before 1967, John Lennon seldom wore his glasses in public (though he wore them in a few studio photos), and he was certainly not famous for them. When The Beatles first came to the U.S. in February 1964, Lennon could have worn his thick-rimmed black glasses when the band met Clay, then removed them for publicity shots. See more »

Quotes

Muhammad Ali: This was supposed to be the fight that Muhammad Ali was ended. Supposed the myth that Muhammad was gonna fall! Supposed to be my destruction! Well, they miscalculated, they misjudged, they got it wrong!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, as the main title fades away the A of Ali lasts a little longer than the other two letters. See more »

Alternate Versions

Michael Mann announced in an interview with Steve Weintraub (on January 16, 2015 for 'Collider') that he is planning to release a third version of "Ali" on BluRay: "I did a re-edit of Ali for television that I really liked and I'd like to put out a Blu-ray of that edit. That was a significant re-edit. (...) It happens to move better and it's longer. (...) It's more complete and moves better. Much more dramatic." See more »

Connections

Featured in The 74th Annual Academy Awards (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Death Letter
Written and Performed by Johnny Farmer
Courtesy of Fat Possum Records LLC
Published by Big Legal Mess
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Missed Opportunity
20 June 2016 | by DraxAnivarSee all my reviews

All the incredible acting was undone by sloppy-to-non-existent editing. I had to open the Wikipedia entry on Muhammad Ali to figure out who was who, where they were, and why people were saying what they were saying.

Will Smith's and John Voight's excellent performances were wasted. The movie would have been greatly aided by displaying the names of towns and characters. It seemed like every time a new character was shown on screen, they were never introduced by exposition.

The movie jumped around locations a lot, and the dialogue was confusing at times, unless you already knew the life story of Ali.

Michael Mann can do better, but he seemed more interested in crafting the individual scenes instead of focusing on a coherent narrative. Thus, the movie was long, boring, and confusing.

It was heartbreaking, I wanted to like this movie, but the editing ruined it.


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