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The Great White Hype

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

He's the flashiest, wildest, richest, most outspoken promoter the boxing world has ever known. He's the Reverend Fred Sultan, and when the sport's popularity wanes, he comes up with a heavyweight plan to turn things around.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Damon Wayans, Peter Berg, Corbin Bernsen
  • Directors: Reginald Hudlin
  • Writers: Ron Shelton, Tony Hendra
  • Producers: Barry M. Berg, Fred Berner, Joshua Donen, Neil Leifer
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2004
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00020HB0U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,723 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Great White Hype" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"The Great White Hype" is a 1996 comedy directed by Reginald Hudlin and stars Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Fox, Jeff Goldblum, Jon Lovitz, Damon Wayans, Peter Berg, Salli Richardson-Whitfield and John Rhys-Davies.

"Rocky", "Raging Bull", "Million Dollar Baby", "Cinderella Man", "The Fighter" and "Southpaw" are some of the most popular boxing films of all time. "Punch-Out" is a classic video game. All these stories have one thing in common - They all feature a white person as the star, even though in real life the majority of famous boxers are African-American, yet there are no ultra-mainstream-loved movies or video games about black fighters or any other black athlete.

That is why "The Great White Hype" is the most realistic boxing film ever made.

After running into some money problems, sports organizer Fred Sultan believes people are tired of watching black boxers compete with other black boxers. Sultan thinks the ideal option to pick in order to restore society's attraction to professional boxing is to produce a white opponent for the African-American undisputed, undefeated heavyweight champion, James "The Grim Reaper" Roper.

Sultan bases his viewpoint on the fact that in 1982 a black boxer named Larry Holmes faced a white boxer named Gerry Cooney in a bout that generated millions of dollars and that was because race played a key factor.

Since there are no popular white sportsmen, Sultan thinks white people are desperate for a famous white athlete and that with the right press coverage, he can make a white hero.

A little later, Sultan and his staff review various matches on video tapes of different white boxers for consideration.
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By Kaye on September 19, 2011
Format: DVD
Ha, ha, thinking about some of the scenes and characters in this movie always makes me laugh. I've seen it at least a dozen times and this past time I must have cried laughing. It keeps getting funnier. I read a whole lot of people trying to make sense of the movie and the point is, it's useless to try to make sense of something that's loosely based on some famous and other generalized personalities in the field of entertainment. It pokes fun at how easily we buy into a notion based on race or fame or for no better reason than it's popular. The entire movie makes sense, it flows and almost EVERY scene has something that I just have to see. After watching it again, I think the only character who tried to be sincere was Conklin and he wasn't very bright. However, even with the all-star cast (for the most part) it amazes me that I can show the movie to friends and family and some just don't get it. I get it and it's funny as he**!
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Format: VHS Tape
I can't understand Leonard Maltin's lack of enthusiasm for this movie, which features what may be the best work yet from Samuel Jackson and Jeff Goldblum. The writers, obviously inspired by the Tyson-McNeeley fight, offer us the anti-Rocky, the story of a nobody pitted against the world boxing champion, and the crafty promoter who tries to con the public into believing the outcome is in doubt and buying tickets to see them fight. This film did badly at the box office and caught me a little off guard the first time I saw it because it is so completely cynical, every character is a fraud. But once you realize there are no heroes in this story and accept that it is hilarious. Every time I see it the film gets funnier. The writers might want to do a sequel about women boxers. As women's boxing websites and newspaper coverage make clear, in women's boxing horrible mismatches in which an unprepared gal is fed to an experienced pro in the ring just to fill a fight card are commonplace and a continuing scandal.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I actually give this three & a half stars, for several reasons. First and foremost, it's funny, and I suspect that there's a fair amount of truth at the core. Second, always get a kick out of Jeff Goldblum and Samuel L. in pretty much anything they're in. Co-written by Ron Shelton ("Bull Durham", "White Men Can't Jump", among some other notables), so you've got that going for you.
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Format: DVD
The amazon.com review for this film includes the line "While sharp and funny, it's never quite clear what the point of it all is." If this is all a GREAT WHITE HYPE viewer gets out of this movie, i'm afraid he/she just wasn't paying attention. While providing a nice satirical look at egomaniacal athletes and hustling boxing promoters (Sam Jackson is as brilliantly watchable as always here) throughout, the movie is all about how hype can make a non-event an event and the film's last ten minutes is the key. What, you were expecting a ROCKY denouement? In the end, this movie shows how sports fans -- and the entertainment-junkie public in general -- can be manipulated by loudness and money. Combined with Shelton's ever-sharp and fearless takes on America's racial tension (also see the brilliant WHITE MEN CAN'T JUMP), THE GREAT WHITE HYPE is well worth a watch. And a think thereafter.
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Format: DVD
This is an odd movie. One of the qualities it shares with other motion pictures is that its parts don't add up to a great whole. However, what I find odd is that the parts are without question hilarious. There are many scenes in this film that simply do not support any other part of the movie. None the less, they had me laughing so hard that my ribs were hurting.

The movie tries to parody the sport of boxing and in particular the careers of ex-heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and boxing promoter Don King. The mockery of the two aforementioned larger than life personalities is readily apparent so it doesn't require much explanation if any. Earlier I used the word "tries" in its attempt to lampoon boxing. It's ironic that the sport of boxing as it stands is so cartoonish, attempts to "send-up" the game pretty much fail. If you're a fan of boxing and you watch this movie, you'll know exactly what I mean. A few examples of failed ribbing include the governing body in the movie (the WBI) giving a fighter with NO PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE a number one ranking so that a title fight can be sanctioned, the worthy challenger being ducked in this movie (Marvin Shabazz) coming to a press conference and getting knocked out by the fighter with no experience and last but not least, a gun-toting manager in the ring after a prize fight has concluded. Every follower of the sport knows that these events are mild compared to what actually happens in the real life sport. Cases in point, real life boxing one ups the number one ranked fighter with no professional experience in that there's a well known case of a dead boxer consistently moving up the ranks for 2 years after his death.
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