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Thrilla in Manila
Thrilla in Manila
Actors: Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier
Director: not specified
Genres: Sports, Documentary
NR     2009     1hr 50min

'Smokin' Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali fought three times, but it was their third and final epic encounter in the searing heat of the Philippines on October 1, 1975, that cemented — their rivalry and ended so dramatically th...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier
Director: not specified
Genres: Sports, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Documentary, Documentary
Studio: Time Life Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 06/02/2009
Original Release Date: 06/02/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 06/02/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 50min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The definitive account of the greatest fight of all time.
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 08/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Muhammad Ali is not only the greatest and most important boxer in history, he is the greatest figure in all of sports. His brazen outspoken politics, his intelligence, his wild sense of humor, a style of fighting so proficient that Bruce Lee drew inspiration from it, and most of all his willingness to go to jail and be stripped of his title and career for his personal beliefs against the Vietnam War. His legendary pre-fight antics were simply the most entertaining thing ever to happen in the world of professional sports. However you choose to look at it, Ali is The Greatest. In my opinion, the measure of a man and good sportmanship is not what is said and done prior to or even during a competition, but after. Towards the end of this recent documentary chronicling every angle of the most epic confrontation in the history of boxing, Joe Frazier's brother dials the ex-champ's voicemail for the camera to hear. Frazier's jovial voice says "My name is Smokin' Joe Frazier. Sharp as a razor. Yeah. Floating like a butterfly, stings like a bee. I'm the man that done the job. He knows, look and see. Call me. Bye, bye.'' Nearly 35 years after the fact, Frazier is still so defined by that fight and angry at his rival that his recorded cell phone greeting mockingly gloats that he is the reason Muhammad Ali now suffers from advanced Parkinson's Disease. That is just amazing to me. Frazier has gone on record many times over the years as saying that Ali has been punished by God for everything from his religious choices (Ali is a Muslim, Frazier a Baptist) to the admittedly brutal and over-the-top insults The Greatest made during their classic rivalry. As a result, I've long held a strong dislike of Frazier. But this documentary does an amazing job at summing up the champ's feelings and getting his half of the story out there. This is the best sports documentary ever made in my opinion and even non-boxing fans will likely be amazed and get the hype about The Thrilla in Manila that continues to this very day when they see it.

Looking at the sum of the events as chronicled in this doc, it's really amazing just how things played out. This particular telling of the story we've all heard or read in some form or another does a great job telling the humble story of one of the greatest boxers to ever live who has been relegated to being known as "the guy who fought Ali" while his poorly-mannered opponent gained immortality, acclaim, and blatant worship around the globe. While there are plenty of clips of Ali doing his thing here, most of the interviews are from Frazier's family and trainers and his side of the story is fleshed out better the I'd ever seen. Ali indeed pushed the envelope further with Frazier then he ever had before, utilizing racial insults like Uncle Tom and regularly calling Smokin' Joe a gorilla. I'll admit to laughing myself sick at the image of Ali clutching a small gorilla doll in one hand while rapidly punching it with the other as a prediction of the fight, but I don't think anybody would say it was a classy thing to do. The fact that the champ had personally taken Ali under his wing while he was barred from boxing didn't make Ali look too good either. And what Ali may not have realized was that the power his racial attacks on his opponent and assurances that Frazier worked for "the enemy" of black people in that time period led to Frazier's children being beaten up at school for having a perceived race traitor for a father. Things like that really put into perspective why the fight became so personal. Ali was a spectacularly funny man, but with the amount of influence he carried at that point in time one does wish he had chosen his words more carefully. And there are allegations in this doc from both camps that the words were not even Ali's own, but fed to him by the militant segregationist Nation of Islam. In one shocking moment, Ali recounts a speech he gave IN FRONT OF THE KU KLUX KLAN suggesting cooperation to eliminate interracial breeding. That really threw me for a loop. My personal hero throwing in with The Klan? If you'd told me that, I'd have called you a liar, but there it is. Forgotten moments like that are what make this documentary so amazing.

Professional boxing may have become stale and dull in recent years, but it's storied history will remain forever enthralling. Seeing Muhammad Ali in action will always be a thing of beauty, and the amazing outcome of a fight so brutal it essentially ended his career as The Greatest because he simply never recovered from the punishment he took over 14 rounds at Frazier's hands will always be talked about. Ali has recanted several times the statements made about Joe Frazier as having been purely for entertainment, but there is no forgiveness. Smokin' Joe is as bitter today as he was three decades ago and delights in the notion that his opponent's degenerative suffering could be his handiwork. You couldn't write a more compelling story then the history between these two all-time greats. This documentary is the most complete retrospective of what will always be the greatest fight of all time and whether you are a fan of boxing, Joe Frazier, or Muhammad Ali or you just want to see what all the fuss is about, you will have a great time watching this movie."
Sad, Sad
Doreen Appleton | Scottsdale, Arizona | 06/16/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Even after all these years, someone wants to save face for Muhammad Ali. The footage of his legs buckling in Round 11 of the first fight, and the knockdown in Round 15, seen in the HBO Special, is suppressed in this documentary and replaced by still footage. Also lost is Frazier's commentary on the punches.

Someone complained, someone pulled strings, and the HBO Special is not shown in its integral form. This is very sad."
Incrediable DVD - Changed my view on the past histories
Lanye Myers | 06/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I caught a bit of this on HBO a couple months ago and wanted to see more. I got the DVD and - wow - its amazing how much this really takes you back to a different world and time. I had always been a big Ali fan because he was so good at getting out there and marketing himself but this really put a light on alot of stuff that has been swept under the rug.

Plus the physicality of the whole fight itself - how it went the full rounds and the ending - well you have to see it to know.

Wish there were more extras because Frazier comes off as such a nice guy - a bit bitter but understandably so. This is a must see ofr anyone - really the boxing is so secondary - am getting a copy for my dad for father's day."
Amazing Documentary but TIME LIFE seemed to have made edits
Dave Esposito | 06/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"i saw this on HBO and it was awesome so i bought it and there were a couple parts i think they edited out like when one of joe fraizer's corner men was talking about the first ali fraizer fight they cut out a hilarious climactic part. and they took out all the footage from the first fight when joe knocked ali down and replaced it with pictures. that pissed me off."