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Muhammad Ali - The Whole Story
Muhammad Ali - The Whole Story
Actors: Muhammad Ali, Khalilah 'Belinda' Ali, Rahaman Ali, Julian Bond, Jim Brown
Directors: Joseph Consentino, Sandra Consentino
Genres: Sports, Documentary, African American Cinema
NR     2001     5hr 46min

Muhammad Ali. He is known as the most thrilling athlete of all time... he is known as The Greatest. The remarkable story of how he became one of the most loved, hated, intriguing, and controversial figures in American hist...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Muhammad Ali, Khalilah 'Belinda' Ali, Rahaman Ali, Julian Bond, Jim Brown
Directors: Joseph Consentino, Sandra Consentino
Creators: Joseph Consentino, Carl H. Lindahl, Lonnie Reed, Jim Donaldson, Mark King
Genres: Sports, Documentary, African American Cinema
Sub-Genres: Olympics, Documentary, African American Cinema
Studio: Turner Home Ent
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color
DVD Release Date: 12/18/2001
Original Release Date: 09/03/1996
Theatrical Release Date: 09/03/1996
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 5hr 46min
Screens: Black and White,Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Too Pretty To Be A Fighter
Buster Paris | Boston, MA | 08/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I popped some popcorn and settled onto my couch - and was blown away - watched the entire thing in 1 daySome of the rarest and greatest footage I've ever seen!It felt like a treat to watch the fights I've only read about - I watched both Liston fights! - how many people can say that?As the fights are concerned - you get to see them! - you get to watch Ali dance and dance - you get to watch him float like a butterfly and sting like a bee - you get to watch him apply his craft - I've never seen the amount of Ali fights as I did on the day I watched these videos. To be fair - some of the fights you only get a couple of important rounds - but as a whole this is the greatest of any Ali VHS/DVD I've ever seen.You get to see some others interviewed about Muhammad Ali - from his brother - To Angelo Dundee - to Malcolm X - it' just incredable the amount of footage that this makes available to you.I know it's said a lot, but if you're an Ali fan you HAVE to own have to!"
The greatest documentary about Muhammad Ali of all time
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 09/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When you pose with Muhammad Ali for photographs what he likes to do is have you make a fist and put it up against the side of the face while he assumes a boxing pose, so you look like you are landing a heavy blow against the only man ever to win the heavyweight boxing title three times. However, when it was my turn to pose there was no way on earth I was going to pretend I was beating up on the Champ, so I just wanted to shake hands. This gave Ali a chance to give me bunny ears.

"Muhammad Ali: The Whole Story" is a six-part documentary that chronicles legendary career: (1) "The Beginning: Olympic Gold" covers his years as an amateur. There is very little about Ali's career before he began boxing (one of the stories his mother tells is how as a baby he hit her in the mouth and loosened a tooth: "his first knockout" she says proudly). (2) "The Youngest Heavyweight" looks at the start of Cassius Clay's professional career, leading up to his winning the heavyweight crown from Sonny Liston. (3) "Exile" contrasts Muhammad Ali's title defenses with the rises problems tied to both his conversion to Islam and his refusal to be drafted, which ends with him being stripped of his title.

Disc B begins with (4) "The Road Back," where it takes three years for Ali to get another fight, culminating in losing his first fight to Joe Frazier. (5) "The Rumble in the Jungle" ends with Ali winning back the title from George Foreman, after breaking his jaw and losing to Ken Norton. Finally, (6) "The Thrilla in Manila" makes the third and final fight with Joe Frazier the centerpiece for the end of Ali's career, with less attention being paid to Ali losing and winning back the title from Michael Spinks than to the final title fight with Larry Holmes, after which Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's Syndrome.

Ali is not interviewed for this documentary, although he appears in some shots at the end. Talking about the champ is left to the men who worked in his corner (e.g., Angelo Dundee), the men that he fought (e.g., Ken Norton), the reporters who covered the fights (e.g., Howard Cosell), and the women that he married (e.g., Lonnie Ali). Their recollections and insights are offered in between, and sometimes during, film and video of Ali's fights, news footage, and television appearances (including Ali singing on "The Ed Sullivan Show" with the cast from the Broadway musical he did while in exile). For most of the key fights in Ali's career there are extended sequences and not just highlights. By the time you get to the Foreman and final Frazier fights it seems odd that there are commentators talking throughout the fight because most of the early fights are without commentary, and while directors Joseph and Sandra Consentino sometimes like the likes of Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee provide some insight, more often than not they just add nothing to what we are watching.

The strength of this documentary is that we get to watch Ali fight and listen to him talk more than we do the others. Even when we get to the talking heads we hear more from Dundee and journalist Jerry Izenberg than we do from Howard Cosell (which reminds me of an interesting omission: we do not get to the point following the first Liston fight when Clay yells, "I'm a bad man!"). Also, what they have to say is usually descriptive, telling what they remember, rather than trying to offer explanations for the subject. That is until the end, when there is an obvious attempt to put Ali in perspective. This is led primarily to Lonnie Ali, which is a smart move because there is nobody who is going to be more articulate on that score than Ali's wife.

The one thing I wanted more of from this 1996 television documentary was an explanation of Ali's fighting technique. At one point Angelo Dundee is talking about how Ali had three main punches with the left jab setting up his right upper cut and his left hook. So I really wanted to see some examples of this from some of these fights. But there are only a couple of times when a specific knockout punch is looked at in any detail (e.g., the "phantom" punch from the second Liston fight and the four-punch combination that dropped George Foreman). Overall the lesson is that when he was young Ali was too quick too hit, and later on when he slowed down he discovered he could take a punch. Add that throughout his career Ali was usually in better condition and was always smarter, and that is the legacy with which we are left. Clearly with Ali we are talking about the "art" of boxing, but a bit more of the "science" of the sport would be nice too."
A must for any Muhammad Ali fan! | Syracuse,NY | 12/20/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This series takes you through his entire life,from his amateur boxing career all the way to now. It captures his triumphs in and out of the ring in perspective. Sports and non-sports lovers will love this set. This video shows how inspirational he has been to everybody around the world, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion. This is a true video set you would want to buy."
The best documentary of "The Greatest" | 03/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you're a fan of the great Muhammad Ali, or have an interest in boxing history, or even just an interest in a fascinating period in American history, this 6-tape set (just under six hours total) will be worth the price. It contains a lot of rare footage of Ali in and out of the ring, as well as insightful commentaries by Angelo Dundee and others who knew him best. Of course it's impossible to separate Ali from his social impact and the turbulent times he lived in during his boxing days, and those are certainly covered in this set, but the main emphasis is really on his remarkable boxing career. Aside from his legendary fights with Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and George Foreman, there's extensive footage of many less-famous fights with boxers like Henry Cooper, Floyd Patterson, Archie Moore, George Chuvalo, Ernie Terrell, Jerry Quarry, Oscar Bonavena, and so on, and even his Olympic and early progessional fights. If you'd like the most complete Ali documentary available, this is the one you're looking for."