Michael Mann (2001)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Will Smith gives a remarkable impersonation of Muhammad Ali in director Michael Mann's impressively mounted biopic. It begins with the then Cassius Clay winning the heavyweight title in 1964, then follows his conversion to Islam, his relationship with Malcolm X, his refusal to fight in Vietnam and concludes with his monumental 1974 comeback against George Foreman - the "Rumble in the Jungle". Smith's performance - with his punchy vocal mannerisms and muscular physical appearance - earned him his first Oscar nomination, but the movie is less convincing when it tries to provide some insight into the enigmatic fighter. Familiar events are lavishly re-created (Jon Voight's uncanny transformation into renowned American sportscaster Howard Cosell is one of the highlights) but are not re-examined or explored in any depth. While Mann's bruising approach to the heavyweight contests demands attention, elsewhere the sluggish pace and lightweight psychological profiling lessen the overall impact of a very lengthy movie. The result is a rather ordinary film about an extraordinary man.


Biopic of champion boxer Muhammad Ali, covering events from his 1964 fight with Sonny Liston to his Rumble in the Jungle with George Foreman 10 years later. Along the way, the fighter converts to Islam, maintains a conflicted friendship with Malcolm X and causes controversy with his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War. Directed by Michael Mann and starring Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight and Mario Van Peebles.

Cast & Crew

Muhammad Ali / Cassius Clay Will Smith
Drew "Bundini" Brown Jamie Foxx
Howard Cosell Jon Voight
Malcolm X Mario Van Peebles
Angelo Dundee Ron Silver
Howard Bingham Jeffrey Wright
Don King Mykelti Williamson
Sonji Roi Jada Pinkett Smith
Belinda Nona Gaye
Veronica Michael Michele
Chauncey Eskridge Joe Morton
Dr Ferdie Pacheco Paul Rodriguez
Cassius Clay Sr Giancarlo Esposito
Martin Luther King Jr LeVar Burton
Elijah Muhammad Albert Hall
Sonny Liston Michael Bentt
Joe Frazier James N Toney
George Foreman Charles Shufford
Herbert Muhammad Barry "Shabaka" Henley
Bradley Bruce McGill
Joe Smiley Ted Levine
Brother "Joe" Leon
Director Michael Mann
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: EntertainmentGuidance: Contains violence and swearing. Available on: video and DVDReleased on: 15 Feb 2002