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ESPN Films 30 for 30: Muhammad & Larry


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Editorial Reviews

In October of 1980, Muhammad Ali was preparing to fight for an unprecedented fourth heavyweight title against his friend and former sparring partner, Larry Holmes. To say that Ai was in the twilight of his career would be generous - most of his admiring fans, friends and fight scribes considered his bravado delusional. In the weeks of training before the fight, documentarians Albert and David Maysles took an intimate look at Ali trying to convince the world, and perhaps himself, that he was still "The Greatest."

At the same time, they documented the mild-mannered and undervalued champion Holmes as he confidently prepared to put an end to the career of a man for whom he had an abiding and deep affection. An era ended when the braggadocio and confidence were stripped away in the ring and the world's greatest hero was revealed to be a man. Here for the first time is the unseen-filmed-build-up to that fight, accompanied by freshly shot interviews by Albert Maysles with members from both the Ali and Holmes camps, as well as others who were prime witnesses to this poignant attempt at courage.

Bonus:
- 2 Director's Statements
- 11 Interview Extras
- 2 Features with Larry Holmes

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Directors: Albert Maysles
  • Writers: ESPN
  • Producers: Team Marketing
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Team Marketing
  • DVD Release Date: March 18, 2010
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0039YAL6M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,875 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "ESPN Films 30 for 30: Muhammad & Larry" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
89%
4 star
0%
3 star
11%
2 star
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1 star
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See all 9 customer reviews
As this documentary points out, the truth was much more insidious.
G. YEO
Excellent footage and great interviews...a must have for Muhammad Ali fans or boxing fans in general..
chiva
Ali's training sessions are filled with onlookers laughing at Ali's jokes and cheering his every move.
Aaron J Ginn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By kone TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 19, 2011
Format: DVD
This is the 4th film released in the ESPN series 30 (stories) for 30 (years, 1979-2009). This is a good film, telling the sad story of the last hurrah of the "Greatest", Muhammad Ali. While a good film, it could have been so much better (3 of 5 stars) had it addressed the central issues of the fight between Ali and Holmes. Essentially, the film brings together a collage of interviews and film clips that led to the build-up of the Ali-Holmes 1980 fight. Interspersed are interviews with the central characters from the present, namely, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, Angelo Dundee, Larry Holmes, and Holmes's wife, Diane. Only Dr. Pacheco addresses the central issue of this film: why was a spent and ill Ali allowed to fight the champion Holmes? Pacheco addresses this issue, but in my view, he does not express it strongly enough. This fight should have never taken place - period.

The film quickly reviews how the (mis)match developed through brief clips of Ali regaining the championship for the then record third time against Leon Spinks (9/1978), followed by his retirement. Ali had lost the title to Spinks seven months earlier, a travesty in itself, as Leon Spinks was an Olympic boxing champion (1976) who only had 7 professional fights. Ali announced his retirement from boxing, and in order to crown a new champion, Larry Holmes and Kenny Norton fought for the title the same year, with Holmes pulling out a win in a magnificent fight. Ali was restless and bored in retirement, and like all former champions, the lure of the spotlight, the cheering fans, and of course, BIG money, inexorably led him back to challenge Holmes for the championship. In Ali's case, the film makes it clear he already needed the money, just two short years into retirement.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Zachary Koenig on March 18, 2011
Format: DVD
In 1980, one of the saddest professional boxing matches in the history of the sport transpired, with rising star Larry Holmes pounding former ring king Muhammad Ali into submission on his stool. This ESPN 30-for-30 documentary is a retrospective on the events leading up to that fight.

Basically, this hour-long episode of 30-for-30 focuses on two primary areas:

1. The training camp of Ali before the fight, where "The Greatest" is looking anything but. He's slow of foot, nearly devoid of his once lightning-fast reflexes, and even a little paunchy at times. Clearly, something is wrong, although Ali's ego cannot accept this fact.

2. The training camp of Holmes, featuring the snapping of gloves and crisp shuffling of feet more befitting a heavyweight boxing champion. Holmes, in arguably the prime of his career at fight time, is clearly a force to be reckoned with, and one can hardly imagine why Ali (besides his prestige) would be let in the ring with young Larry.

One word of warning: If you are looking for actual fight footage, please turn your attention elsewhere, as the actual fight is recapped in about 2 minutes right at the very end. This is all about the build-up.

Overall, this is a very well put-together little documentary on one of the sadder moments in pugilism. It's sad to see Ali in such poor condition, especially during the fight when his face is puffy and he can barely hold his hands up to protect himself. This story should serve as a warning to all the old boxers out there mulling a comeback (e.g. Evander Holyfield). The line between being champion and getting seriously injured is very thin in pro boxing. On that fateful night in 1980, Ali crossed it.
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Format: DVD
This entry by storied documentary filmmakers Albert Maysles and the late David Maysles in EPSN's sublime '30 for 30' series is one of the best of the bunch. I'd rank it fifth:

1. [By a mile...] ESPN Films 30 for 30: The Two Escobars
2. Once Brothers
3. The Best That Never Was
4. ESPN Films 30 for 30: Guru of Go
5. [This one]
6. ESPN Films 30 for 30: Winning Time: Reggie Miller Vs. The New York Knicks
7. ESPN Films 30 for 30: June 17, 1994
8. ESPN Films 30 for 30: The Legend of Jimmy the Greek
9. ESPN Films 30 for 30: The Sixteenth Man
10. ESPN Films 30 for 30: Without Bias

What makes this film so fascinating: we know what Cassius Clay was like as a young fighter - erstwhile King of the World (as captured in David Remnick's classic
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ESPN Films 30 for 30: Muhammad & Larry
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