HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
Satanic Panic
Claudine
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
   
 
Newest Articles
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
   
 
  Greatest, The Fighting TalkBuy this film here.
Year: 1977
Director: Tom Gries, Monte Hellman
Stars: Muhammad Ali, Ernest Borgnine, Annazette Chase, Robert Duvall, Lloyd Haynes, David Huddleston, Ben Johnson, James Earl Jones, Chip McAllister, Dina Merrill, Roger E. Mosley, Paul Winfield, Mira Waters, Lucille Benson, Dorothy Meyer, Malachi Throne
Genre: Biopic
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Young Cassius Clay (Chip McAllister) has arrived home from the Olympic Games, where he has won a gold medal in the boxing tournament, but now he is back his delight in his success has been tempered by his dismay at the civil rights situation. He gets a job gardening for a rich white woman who hopes to sponsor him, but when he discovers she simply treats him like one of her racehorses he walks out on her. So disgusted is he that he throws his medal into the river, complaining that it means nothing to him anymore, but in spite of his disillusionment he isn't going to let it get him down - he's going to be the greatest boxer who ever lived.

The list of biopics where the subjects play themselves is not a long one, and the sporting ones even fewer, with The Jackie Robinson Story probably the chief antecedent to this film, the story of World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali. Actually, the main influence on this film appeared to have been Rocky, as we followed the champ from his early beginnings to his enormous success, but also were treated to looks at his love life and the odd training montage: he doesn't quite start laying into a side of beef, but it's a close run thing.

Ernest Borgnine is in the Burgess Meredith trainer role, and additionally showing that not all white people are evil racists. This is because the first part of this is much concerned with the prejudice that Ali faced, although with this presentation it made it seem as if he annoyed people into taking him seriously, what with all that self-aggrandising talk he specialised in, then to a somewhat lesser extent his boxing made him a contender, when one assumes in real life it was the other way around. Certainly Ali's larger than life personality didn't do his fame any harm, and the film doesn't skimp on scenes where he has to stand up to The Man.

But after he refused to fight in the Vietnam War due to his principles, the film gives up on the interesting political stuff and sticks with the hero worship, which is a pity, because the early sequences show what a controversial figure he was even if it is in the fashion of a T.V. movie for much of the time. There are odd choices, so that we see Ali being strongly influenced by Malcolm X (played by James Earl Jones, curious casting) and his speeches against the "blue-eyed devils", but we never hear about how his religious mentor's assassination affected him. Indeed, all the Islamic stuff goes the same way as the politics after a while.

It may be flatly shot and perfunctorily performed for the larger part, but Ali proves to be as magnetic while acting as he was when being himself in the boxing ring or personal appearance. He's not the greatest as far as performing goes, yet the charisma of the man is not to be underestimated, and although this film is seen as disposable at best and an embarrassment at worst, he does manage to carry it through heavy-handed point scoring and uninspired recreations - although the actual fights are illustrated with documentary footage taken from the events. There's little to bring down the man's near-mythic status, as the only part where he looks bad is where he drags his girlfriend around his mansion for daring to wear a short skirt to a party, making him pretty conservative for a revolutionary figure. Really you're better off with a documentary to learn about Muhammad Ali's life, or a good biography, but this does have the plus of his presence to guide you. Music by Michael Masser, which includes the song "The Greatest Love of All".
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2660 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Monte Hellman  (1932 - )

"Existential" is a word often used to describe the films of this American director, who after working for Roger Corman on Beast from Haunted Cave, Back Door to Hell and The Terror directed two cult westerns, The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind. In the 1970s he continued his cult acclaim with Two Lane Blacktop, Cockfighter and China 9 Liberty 37, but come the 80s the directing work dried up, with only Iguana and Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 to his name. He also worked behind the scenes on The Wild Angels, Robocop and Reservoir Dogs, among others.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: