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Year: 1996
Director: Leon Gast
Stars: Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Don King, James Brown, Norman Mailer, George Plimpton, Mobutu Sese Seko, Spike Lee, B.B. King
Genre: Documentary
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: An account of one of the most celebrated boxing matches of all time - the "Rumble in the Jungle", the 1974 world heavyweight fight in Zaire between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.

Leon Gast's film took over twenty years to be made due to arguments over the rights to his footage, but it was worth the wait. Gast covers the whole event from the accompanying music festival right up to the fight itself, interspersed with commentary by Spike Lee, George Plimpton and Norman Mailer.

Some of the film's best moments are where you simply get to hear Ali's near-incessant talk, whether he's goading Foreman, voicing his disappointment about the fight's six week delay, or even giving advice on dental hygiene. This is Ali's film, and watching the most famous man in the world at that time you're in no doubt as to his wit, charisma and importance in history (black pride is a major theme of the film). If you're a Foreman fan, you might feel a little short-changed - note the differing receptions Ali and Foreman get on their arrival in Zaire.

You may start to get a little impatient waiting for the actual fight itself, but there is much to hold the interest, not least the superb montages set to the concert music of the Spinners, B.B. King and James Brown. When the match finally arrives, it's made even more momentous by the excellent commentary by Mailer who builds up the clash to be something of mythic proportions. Maybe some day in the future it will be: it's one of the few events where the whole world was watching that didn't involve loads of people dying.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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