When We Were Kings

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  • Info: The landmark internationally televised 1974 bout between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman provides the framework for this fascinating documentary culled from over 250 hours of archival film shot before and during the fight. The contest took place in Zaire and marked the emergence of Don King as the world's greatest fight promoter. Much of the story centers on the charismatic, flamboyant Ali who at 32 was at his prime. He is seen training for the fight with a very young, and even then impressive Larry Holmes, flying out to the fight and mingling with his many fans. Meanwhile Foreman is portrayed as introverted, sullen, and a generally unpleasant person; a person totally different from the gentle and funny man he would become. The film includes interviews with Norman Mailer and George Plimpton as they reflect upon the event. African-American filmmaker Spike Lee also appears to explain the history and importance of Muhammad Ali to younger viewers. Also included in the story are clips from the African and American music festival that preceded the fight. Musical performers included B.B. King, the Pointer Sisters, Miriam Makeba, and the Spinners.
  • Release Date: October 25, 1996
  • Domestic Gross: $2,666,118
  • Length: 1 hour, 24 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Awards: 1997 Academy Awards - Best Documentary, Features
  • Reviews: 98 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes
  • IMDb link