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When We Were Kings: On September 25, 1974, in the wake of one of the greatest political scandals in its history - the ignominious collapse of the Nixon presidency - America was poised to watch a knockout punch that would redefine it as a nation of champions. In the atmosphere of a three-ring circus, in Zaire, a little known country ruled by a military dictator, on the little-noticed continent of Africa, two American fighters held the world's attention. One would capture the world's imagination.
But, four days before the scheduled "Rumble in the Jungle," as the heavyweight championship matchup between reigning title holder George Foreman and challenger Muhammad Ali was called, the promoters announced that there would be a six week delay. And in that time span, as the international media took in the rhythms of the music and the mysterious beauty of the land, and as anticipation for the fight mounted an entirely new phenomenon evolved - black Americans saw their own generational crossroads reflected in the contrasting images of the two men who had returned to Africa to fight.
The Greatest: 18 year-old Olympic gold medalist Cassius Clay feels ready to take on the heavyweight championship. In this dramatisation the incredible career of the legendary fighter is portrayed, as he gains in stature and power under the guidance of Angelo Dundee, Clay takes the heavyweight title away from Sonny Liston. Soon after his victory Clay converted to Islam, changing his name to Mohammad Ali, and begins a three year court battle to avoid being drafted into the army on religious grounds. This dramatic biography of a legend (starring Ali himself) excuse the pun, certainly pulls no punches.
Actors Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Don King, James Brown, B.B. King, Mobutu Sese Seko, Spike Lee, Norman Mailer, George Plimpton & Thomas Hauser
Director Leon Gast, Tom Gries & Monte Hellman
Year 1977 ; 1996