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Ali

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Mann
Produced by Michael Mann
Jon Peters
James Lassiter
Paul Ardaji
A. Kitman Ho
Written by Michael Mann
Eric Roth
Stephen J. Rivele
Christopher Wilkinson
Starring Will Smith
Jon Voight
Jamie Foxx
Mario Van Peebles
Ron Silver
Jeffrey Wright
Jada Pinkett Smith
Music by Pieter Bourke
Lisa Gerrard
Cinematography Emmanuel Lubezki
Editing by William Goldenberg
Lynzee Klingman
Stephen E. Rivkin
Stuart Waks
Studio Peters Entertainment
Forward Pass
Overbrook Films
Distributed by Columbia Pictures (USA)
20th Century Fox (non-USA)
Release date(s) December 11, 2001 (2001-12-11)
(United Kingdom)
02001-12-11 December 11, 2001
(United States)
Running time 157 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $110 million
Gross revenue $87,713,825

Ali is a 2001 American biographical film directed by Michael Mann. The film tells the story of boxing icon Muhammad Ali (Will Smith) from 1964 to 1974 featuring his capture of the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston (Michael Bentt), his conversion to Islam, criticism of the Vietnam War, banishment from boxing, his return to fight Joe Frazier in 1971, and, lastly, his reclaiming the title from George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle fight of 1974.

The movie also discusses the great social and political upheaval in the United States following the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Contents

Plot

Production

The movie was written by Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Eric Roth and Michael Mann. The original script by Wilkinson and Rivele was modified by Roth and Mann.

Will Smith spent approximately one year learning all aspects of Ali's life.[citation needed] These included boxing training ( Up to seven hours per day ), Islamic studies and dialect training.[citation needed] Smith has said that his portrayal of Ali is his proudest work to date.[citation needed]

One of the selling points of the film is the realism of the fight scenes. Smith worked alongside boxing promoter Guy Sharpe from SharpeShooter Entertainment and his lead fighter Ross Kent to get the majority of his boxing tips for the film. All of the boxers in the film are in fact former or current world heavyweight championship caliber boxers. It was quickly decided that 'Hollywood fighting'—passing the fist (or foot) between the camera and the face to create the illusion of a hit—would not be used in favor of actual boxing. The only limitation placed upon the fighters was for Charles Shufford (who plays George Foreman). He was permitted to hit Will Smith as hard as he could, so long as he did not actually knock the actor out.[citation needed]

Smith had to gain a significant amount of weight to look the part of Muhammad Ali.

Cast

Reception

Ali opened on December 25, 2001 and grossed a total of $14.7 million in 2,446 theaters on its opening weekend. The film went on to gross a total of $87.7 million worldwide. The film holds a 68% "fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

The film had generally favorable reviews with the acting being well received by critics in general. Roger Ebert derided the film with two stars in his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, and mentioned, "it lacks much of the flash, fire and humor of Muhammad Ali and is shot more in the tone of a eulogy than a celebration".[1] In Variety magazine, Todd McCarthy wrote, "The director's visual and aural dapplings are strikingly effective at their best, but over the long haul don't represent a satisfactory alternative to in-depth dramatic scenes; one longs, for example, for even one sequence in which Ali and Dundee discuss boxing strategy or assess an opponent", but did have praise for the performances: "The cast is outstanding, from Smith, who carries the picture with consummate skill, and Voight, who is unrecognizable under all the makeup but nails Cosell's distinctive vocal cadences".[2] USA Today gave the film two and half stars out of four and claimed that, "for many Ali fans, the movie may be good enough, but some perspective is in order. The documentaries A.K.A. Cassius Clay and the Oscar-winning When We Were Kings cover a lot of the same ground and are consistently more engaging".[3]

In the New York Times, Elvis Mitchell proclaimed Ali to be a "breakthrough" film for Mann, that it was his "first movie with feeling" and that "his overwhelming love of its subject will turn audiences into exuberant, thrilled fight crowds".[4] J. Hoberman, in his review for the Village Voice, felt that the "first half percolates wonderfully — and the first half hour is even better than that. Mann opens with a thrilling montage that, spinning in and out of a nightclub performance by Sam Cooke, contextualizes the hero in his times", concluded that, "Ali's astonishing personality is skillfully evoked but, in the end, remains a mystery".[5]

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Awards

Home release

After the theatrical version (157 min.) was released on DVD, Mann revisited his film again with a new cut (165 min.). He took out approximately 20 minutes of footage and put 30 minutes of previously unseen footage back in. The director claimed that the politics of the times are more the focus.

References

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Ali is a 2001 biographical film which tells the story of boxer Muhammad Ali.

Muhammed Ali

  • Yeah, I know where Vietnam is; it's on TV. Southeast Asia? It's there, too?
  • I ain't got no quarrel with those Vietcong. Ain't no Vietcong ever call me a nigger.
  • Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can't hit what his eyes can't see.
  • Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. [in unison with Bundini] Rumble, young man, Rumble.
  • I ain't draft dodging. I ain't burning no flag. I ain't running to Canada. I'm staying right here. You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I've been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for 4 or 5 more, but I ain't going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I'll die right here, right now, fightin' you, if I want to die. You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Vietcong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won't even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won't even stand up for my right here at home.
  • I'm gonna give 300 dollars to the man who brings me Howard Cosell's toupee, dead or alive.
  • (taking punches from George Foreman) Is that all you got?
  • But if I ever was to get in the ring with Joe, here's what you might see. Ali comes out to meet Frazier, but Frazier starts to retreat. If Joe back up an inch farther, he'll wind up in a ringside seat. Ali swings with his left. Ali swings with his right. Just look at the kid carry the fight. Frazier keeps backin', but there's not enough room. It's only a matter of time before Ali lowers the boom. Ali swings with his right. What a beautiful swing. But the punch lifts Frazier clean out of the ring. Frazier still rising, and the referee wears a frown 'cause he can't start countin' till Frazier comes down. Frazier's disappeared from view. The crowd is getting frantic. But our radar stations done picked him up. He's somewheres over the Atlantic. Now, who would've thought, when they came to the fight, they was gonna witness the launching of a black satellite? But don't wait for that fight. It ain't never gonna happen. The onliest thing you can do is wonder and imagine.

Dialogue

Muhammad Ali: Man, without me, you'd just be a mouth and a microphone.
Howard Cosell: And without me, you'd just be a mouth.

[Ali lifts up Howard Cosell's toupee on national television.]
Howard Cosell: [to the camera] We'll be right back.
Muhammad Ali: You want some food for that thing?
Howard Cosell: How could you do something like that to a man you revere?
Muhammad Ali: Cos' it's funny.

External links

Wikipedia
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