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Facing Ali

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It's one thing when your fans will sing your praises, but you're at another level when former rivals will come to your defense. Directed by Pete McCormack (Uganda Rising), this documentary looks at the career of boxing legend Muhammad Ali from the perspective of his opponents, including George Foreman, Joe Drazier, and Larry Holmes.

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He rocked the sport, shook the world, and changed their lives. Now, several decades after they met in the ring, ten of the sport's finest fighters tell what it was like to battle Muhammad Ali, the man many consider the best boxer ever. This brutally honest documentary recounts Ali's incomparable journey as seen through the eyes of those who stepped through the ropes and into history. Join these respected fighters as they weigh in on "The Greatest" and pay tribute to a living legend in this powerful and unforgettable film.


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Product Details

  • Actors: George Chuvalo, Henry Cooper, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes
  • Directors: Pete McCormack
  • Writers: Pete McCormack
  • Producers: Adam Voghell, Derik Murray, Kent Wingerak, Marcelle Pavan, Paul Gertz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: December 29, 2009
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002T9H2KG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,322 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Facing Ali" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Zachary Koenig on February 7, 2010
Format: DVD
There is no doubt whatsoever that Muhammad Ali is one of the most polarizing (and, yet, inspiring) figures in sporting history. Not only was he arguably the most talented pugilist in history, but his religious (Islam) and societal (Vietnam) stands are now legendary. This new documentary, however, carves out its own little niche in the history of Ali by telling his story not from his point of view, but from the men who battled him inside the ring.

This film really can work on two different levels:

First, for younger (or more "inexperienced" Ali viewers), it is fascinating to hear the thoughts of other fighters who stood toe-to-toe with the man. Whether it be his greatest nemesis (Joe Frazier), most spectacular upset (George Foreman), or just some guy from England (Sir Henry Cooper) that happened to land one solid punch, all the guests in this documentary have very interesting takes on "The Greatest". It is especially poignant to hear most (if not all) of the competitors thanking Ali for giving them their chance at greatness. For some, a fight against Ali helped put food on the table for their children, which is a side of boxing not often thought about.

For more "seasoned" Ali fans, who have likely heard and read it all about the man, this movie is still enjoyable due to that fact that you get to see all "the old gang" once again. Some guys (Cooper, Ron Lyle, Earnie Shavers) might bring back long-forgotten memories of the "golden age" of boxing, others (Frazier, Foreman) help you relive those epic battles, and one (George Chuvalo) will have you almost in tears from his genuiness.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By AJ Diaz on December 26, 2009
Format: DVD
A wonderful documentary giving Ali's various opponents a moment to speak about how they felt fighting 'the greatest'. You get to hear some personal back story from the fighters. Normally you just see documentaries about how Ali did this and that, but you never get to hear the actual fighters talk, well, now you can... Its nostalgic to see these old men who were once on top of the world and now they are looking back at their past and reflecting. A must see. Of course there is plenty of 'the greatest' chattering away from past interviews and there is plenty of crystal clear footage of each fight mentioned. I'm glad this documentary was made. A real treasure in boxing documentation.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on September 19, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I rented this movie from Netflix, and I've watched it three times, first by myself, the second and third time with other people that weren't particularly boxing fans or Ali fans. Everybody agreed that this was a fascinating film! It's about an hour and forty minutes long - about as long as a movie - but you won't believe how fast the time goes! Facing Ali is fascinating on several levels:

1) It gives very brief histories of the times at which particular fights took place, particularly from the black boxers' perspective; for example, Ali's importance to the black community of the 1960's.

2) I was surprised at how many of the boxers interviewed in this movie (all men who had faced Ali in the ring), had moments in the film where they talk about regretting actions of their youth, and how all of these guys - now older men - show such enlightenment that comes with maturing into older age.

3) The movie is a fascinating, deep, quite realization for the viewer of the frailty and passage of life as scenes of these once Herculean men of power, full of the arrogance of youth, with testosterone coursing through their veins, are interposed with the interviews of these now old men - wiser, deeper in character, grateful for the time of their youth and opportunities, and most importantly, not bitter about losses in the ring that could have and should have gone their way.

This is an excellent film, with a subtle, poignant message about the importance of enjoying life in its prime and being happy and thankful for opportunities, without bitterness, and later, enjoying your present life for the deeper understanding of the important things - life, family, and love.

Even if you're not a boxing fan or an Ali fan, watch this film! It will make a positive impact on your life for a long time to come!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By The Salmon on January 31, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There has been a large amount of work dedicated to Mohammed Ali and his career but this documentary looks at the man and the times through the eyes of the fighters that faced him over the course of his amazing and controversial his career.

The movie interviews 10 former fighters that were pivotal in Ali's career; George Chuvalu, Henry Cooper, Ernie Terrell, Joe Frazier, Ron Lyle, Kenny Norton, Ernie Shavers, George Forman, Leon Spinks, and Larry Holmes. The interviews are remarkably intertwined with digitally re-mastered archival footage of their fights.
From a historical standpoint the first hour of the film does an excellent job of placing Ali in the social, racial, and economic context of the 1960s. (I could see this half of the film being used as a source for American History Courses) However, after his 3 year suspension from boxing and return in 1973 the film shifts into a fight by fight chronicle of his comeback and eventual decline. The one failure of the film is in my opinion the lack of emphasis of the the Frazier -Ali rivalry that produced three of the greatest fights of all times and made that era the pinnacle of the sport.

These 10 fighters were products of the depression (except Spinks perhaps) and each used boxing to escape their hardscrabble conditions. As one fighter noted "Nobody from the middle class goes into boxing." Each fighter was acutely aware but at the same time equally grateful that they were allowed to be bit players in the larger drama which was Mohammad Ali. As Ron Lyle succinctly put it, "If it wasn't for Ali you wouldn't be here talking to Ron Lyle today."

To the films credit the intimate focus on these men highlights that they each have their own life stories which are as compelling and in some cases as personally tragic as the man remembered as The Greatest.
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