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When We Were Kings

4.6 out of 5 stars 169 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

An unforgettable account of the “Rumble in the Jungle”. With never-before-seen footage and new interviews, “When We Were Kings” takes us back to a classic moment in history. This Oscar-winning film captures all the magic of Muhammad Ali at the peak of his triumphant career.

Special Features

  • Cast and Filmmakers

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, James Brown, Spike Lee, B.B. King
    • Directors: Leon Gast
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
    • Subtitles: French, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      Parental Guidance Suggested
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: November 4, 2002
    • Run Time: 94 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00007ELEK
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,857 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "When We Were Kings" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: DVD
    I love this film. Between Muhammad Ali's poetry (and taunts at Howard Cosell's sex life), the awesome, instantaneous, destructive power of a hungry young knight at the apex of his illustrious career--as Howard might have said-- and the one, two, three, four punch of James Brown; life really doesn't get much more exciting.
    These are the obvious reasons to love this documentary. But there's also the very real political side; promoting a huge fight in a country ruled by an evil dictator; one who "sent a message" by rounding up a few thousand criminals, and killing them. So it's pretty damn interesting to see some drunken, coked up early 70s music promoter dealing with logistics in lovely Zaire.
    I also love listening to what Foreman says, and doesn't say, as I think Norman Mailer mentions in the film. My favorite is when some silly reporter asks him if he thinks Ali will win the fight, or something like that.
    "Could be, could be...But I don't think so."
    Everything in this film is worthwhile. It even explores a bit of the underbelly of the beast; the world of Don King, boxing promoter, and amoral manipulator (well, I guess the two go hand in hand). And mention is made of Muhammad's current illness, with conflicting views of whether too many beatings took him down.
    It's a film about all this and more. The story of Ali is exciting enough, with enough raw courage to put Rocky Balboa to shame. Add a quiet, dispondent, monster of an opponent, the king of sleaze, The Spinners, a sucubus, the evil dictator, George Plimpton, Norman Mailer, and others; and what do you have?
    Worthwhile entertainment, my friend. On every level.
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    Format: DVD
    There is a large hole in this film, and it is in the depiction of the actual fight itself. Everything that led up to the fight is brilliantly presented. This is Ali in all of his greatness. You see his fight strategy unfold as the film progresses. He turns the people of Zaire into his hometown crowd. You watch him psyche himself up by raising the stakes. The fight became more then the heavyweight championship. Ali was going to "walk down the alley ways and sit with the wine heads, and talk to the prostitutes on the streets..." Ali was going to better the world, and restore the black mans pride. All he had to do was beat Foreman first. And he loved to be the underdog. He loved to shock the world when nobody gave him a chance in hell of winning. You see him asking an audience of fight writers, "Who's got George picked? Raise your hands. Who thinks George is gonna whup me?" At a news conference he told Don King, "I know you got George picked, but I'm gonna show you all just how great I am."
    By the time Ali stepped into the ring, Foreman didn't stand a chance. Ali was almost a decade past his prime, and Foreman was in the middle of his, but Ali was about to shred him, and this is where this film falls short. The fight is simply not accurately depicted. The film focuses almost exclusively on Ali's rope-a-dope strategy. You are left with the impression that Ali was pounded on the ropes for 8 rounds, only to explode in a moment of glory, knocking out a tired and caught of guard Foreman. That is simply not the way it happened. There were 8 rounds in this fight, and Ali won all 8 of them. True, he did lay on the ropes a lot, but that was only a portion of his strategy. He demoralized Foreman by taking his best shots, and scoffing at them. Ali would taunt Foreman, "Is THAT all you got George?
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    Format: DVD
    For anyone who does not know the story that led up to this fight, here it is: In 1964, the mouthy impetuous Cassius Clay (soon to become Muhammad Ali) a 10 to 1 underdog, defeats the supposedly undefeatable Sonny Liston to become heavyweight boxing champion at just 22 years old. Clay used his unbelievable speed to pepper Liston into quitting on his stool after the 6th round. In 1967, Ali is stripped of his title for refusing to be drafted in the Vietnam War. Ali is reinstated in 1970 after a 3 and 1/2 year lay-off during his physical prime. Ali, now 29 years old, must fight Joe Frazier (who is in his physical prime at 27) to regain his crown. The two meet in Madison Square Garden in the "Fight of the Century", this first time two undefeated champions meet for the title. Ali loses to Frazier in 15 grueling rounds and it appears his chance to regain the title is history. In 1972, Ali is defeated by a relative unknown, Kenny Norton, in a 15-round decision that sees Norton break Ali's jaw. It appears that Ali is finished. In 1973, Frazier loses the title to the young, powerful, Sonny Liston-like slugger, George Foreman. Foreman bounces Frazier around in the ring like a rubber ball, knocking him down 7 times before the fight is ended. After easily KO'ing the imposing Kenny Norton in one round, Foreman is seen as undefeatable, just as Sonny Liston was in 1964.

    Now it's 1974, Muhammed Ali is 32 and thought to be well past his prime by the press and boxing world. Even his handlers feel Ali cannot beat Foreman and they fear Ali will be hurt badly by Foreman. Foreman is ten years younger and undefeated Heavyweight champion of the world, a title he appears to own for the next decade or more. Fight Promoter Don King offers both fighters a record 5 million dollars apiece to fight.
    Read more ›
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