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When We Were Kings

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Tom’s Recommended Film of the Week

When We Were Kings

When I was kid, Muhammad Ali was admired and despised alternately by many of the people in my neighborhood. Ali was a big figure, everyone had an opinion, and nobody could ignore him. He expressed himself boldly, had no signs of humility and could back up most everything he said.

The Ali-Frazier bouts commanded high attention with my schoolmates and myself. Everyone had a prediction for each fight and there was much debating in the week’s prior. The same was true of the Rumble in the Jungle, except that most everyone was sure that Muhammad Ali could never beat George Foreman. We had seen what Foreman was capable of, but in 1974 we had only a glimmer of the Greatness that was Ali.


When We Were Kings
is a wild and wooly documentary of one of the biggest Boxing matches of my generation. It showcases some of the most flamboyant figures in the boxing world at the time, including Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and Don King. But King’s spectacle in Zaire didn’t stop at Boxing; it also included performances by James Brown and B.B. King among others. In addition, this documentary includes commentary from boxing authors Norman Mailer and George Plimpton, who were there at ringside, and social commentary from film director Spike Lee.

It’s a great behind the scenes look at a world-shaping event in Boxing history.

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