Share

Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: TBD

When We Were Kings Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

In 1974, boxers [[Performer~P915~Muhammad Ali~muhammadali]] and [[Performer~P24285~George Foreman~georgeforeman]] came to the still-emerging and politically unstable African nation of Zaire for what [[Performer~P915~Ali~muhammadali]] called the "Rumble in the Jungle," a highly publicized world heavyweight championship fight. Documentarian [[Performer~P201803~Leon Gast~leongast]] flew to Zaire to film both the fight and a music festival (featuring [[Performer~P38262~B.B. King~bbking]], [[Performer~P57164~The Pointer Sisters~thepointersisters]], and [[Performer~P44750~Miriam Makeba~miriammakeba]]) organized by promoter Don King. [[Performer~P201803~Gast~leongast]]'s footage was shelved for 22 years due to legal and financial problems, but when it was finally released in 1996, When We Were Kings provided a vivid portrait of the controversial [[Performer~P915~Ali~muhammadali]]. At 33, he was considered past his prime for the Zaire fight, and his refusal to serve in the U.S. military on moral grounds was still an issue in the minds of many. But here, [[Performer~P915~Ali~muhammadali]] displays strength, skill, intelligence, and tremendous charm, making it clear how he became one of the most renowned figures in the world of sports. And, while [[Performer~P24285~George Foreman~georgeforeman]] is best known today as a genial commercial pitchman, he's seen here as a strong, forbidding opponent, not especially articulate and seemingly unstoppable. The film also features interviews with several notable fight fans, including [[Performer~P100807~Norman Mailer~normanmailer]], [[Performer~P57087~George Plimpton~georgeplimpton]], and [[Performer~P99175~Spike Lee~spikelee]]. A fascinating document of a great moment in sporting and cultural history, When We Were Kings received an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and won a Special Jury Recognition Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:October 25, 1996

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Leon Gast Best Documentary Feature 1996 Winner
Independent Spirit Awards Leon Gast Truer Than Fiction Award 1996 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences David Sonenberg Best Documentary Feature 1996 Winner
Advertisement