Ali (2001)



Critic Consensus: Though perhaps no film could fully do justice to the fascinating life and personality of Muhammad Ali, Mann's direction and Smith's performance combine to pack a solid punch.

Movie Info

Notoriously obsessive director Michael Mann and star Will Smith devoted nearly two years and over 100 million dollars from the coffers of Columbia Pictures and other financiers to creating this biography of boxing great Muhammad Ali, which focuses on the ten-year period of 1964-1974. In that time, the brash, motor-mouthed athlete quickly dominates his sport, meets and marries his first wife (Jada Pinkett-Smith), converts to Islam (changing his name from Cassius Clay), and defies the United … More

Rating: R (for some language and brief violence)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Michael Mann, Eric Roth, Christopher Wilkinson, Stephen J. Rivele
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 30, 2002
Box Office: $58.2M
Columbia Pictures - Official Site


as Cassius Clay/Muhamma...

as Howard Cosell

as Drew `Bundini' Brown

as Angelo Dundee

as Howard Bingham

as Belinda

as Veronica

as Chauncy Eskridge

as Dr. Ferdie Pacheco

as Cassius Clay Sr.

as Herbert Muhammad

as Luis Sarria

as Luis Sarria

as Martin Luther King J...

as Elijah Muhammad

as Robert Lipsyte

as Joe Smiley

as Sam Cooke

as Sonny Liston

as Joe Frazier

as Ernie Terrell

as George Foreman

as Bradley

as Joe Frazier

as Woman Singer

as Joseph Mobutu

as Floyd Paterson

as Jerry Quarry

as Jimmy Ellis

as Rudy Clay/Rahaman Al...

as Betty Shabazz

as Marlin Thomas

as Malcolm X's daughter

as Malcolm X's daughter

as Young Cassius Clay

as The Doctor

as Jimmy Cannon

as Madison Square Garde...

as Gordon Davidson

as Lieutenant Jerome Cl...

as Induction FBI man

as Judge Ingraham

as Bundini's landlady

as Bob Arum

as Boxing Commissioner

as Malcolm's Bodyguard

as Thomas Johnson

as Room Service Guy

as Death Newsman

as Family Photo Man

as Asian Cosmetologist

as Madison Square Garde...

as Assistant Director

as Referee Arthur Merca...

as Frazier Flight II An...

as Flight Attendant

as Hampton House Announ...

as Miami Weigh-In Repor...

as Miami Weigh-In Repor...

as Madison Square Garde...

as Willie Reddick

as Jersey Joe Walcott, ...

as Man on Train

as Boxing Commission Re...

as Reporter

as Reporter

as Madison Square Garde...

as Madison Square Garde...

as New York Reporter

as New York Reporter

as New York Reporter

as Harlem Neighbor

as Harlem Neighbor

as Harlem Neighbor

as Harlem Reporter

as Louisville Sponsorin...

as Lana Shabazz

as Miami Cop

as Dressing Room Weigh-...

as Dick Sadler

as ORTF Interviewer

as Kinshasa Reporter

as Rose Jennings

as Pointer Sister

as Pointer Sister

as Mobutu Aide/Military...

as Lieutenant Nsakala

as Zack Clayton

as Larry Holmes

as The Pilot

as CIA Man

as Black Pilot

as Black Pilot

as Reporter in Zaire

as Reporter in Zaire

as Reporter in Zaire

as Reporter in Zaire

as Reporter in Zaire

as Reporter in Zaire

as Archie Moore

as Doc Broadus

as Blonde French Report...

as Chinese Delegate

as Hunter Thompson

as Foreman Fiight Annou...

as Idi Amin

as Don King's Aide

as Additional Aide to M...

as Additional Aide to M...

as Additional Aide to M...

as Sparring Partner in ...

as Lieutenant Jerome Cl...
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Ali

All Critics (165) | Top Critics (39)

The film gives Ali his due by refusing to idealize him or to gloss over his failings.

Full Review… | October 3, 2002
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

While making a great looking biopic that is filled with detail, Michal Mann forgot to make a film that entertains, creating an emotionally void, tone flat portrait of an athlete whose contribution socially and culturally has yet to be matched.

Full Review… | January 4, 2012
Matt's Movie Reviews

You can almost see him thinking his way through his fights...

Full Review… | March 25, 2011
Turner Classic Movies Online

Brutal fight scenes and frank racial issues.

Full Review… | December 21, 2010
Common Sense Media

Mann vs. machine.

Full Review… | August 21, 2009

More than competently mounted, with a hollowness just discernible in its core... feels like the first draft of whatever film Michael Mann set out to make.

Full Review… | June 26, 2009
Antagony & Ecstasy

Audience Reviews for Ali

This movie is probably Will smiths best movie. Will smith is a brilliant actor. He plays the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. I expected more of a boxing movie but it was more about religion and Alis life outside of boxing. Muhammad Ali was a Muslim and he worshiped Elijah Muhammad. Elijah Muhammad was the leader of nation of Islam, and Muhammad Ali wanted to spread hes message thru boxing. Muhammad Ali was a smart boxer, he made hes opponents angry before the match by teasing them and calling them names. This is a movie you probably have to see, probably one of my favorite movies. "Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee. You're hands cant hit what you're eyes cant see" 4 Stars 4-7-14

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Michael Mann's Ali is an average boxing film about the Muhammad Ali, one of the most famous boxers who has ever lived. Unfortunately, I felt that this film wasn't a testament to his career, and though good, it leaves a lot to be desired. Will Smith is pretty goods ion the lead role, and he departs from his usual action films by delivering a dramatic performance. However, this is not a standout feature like Scorsese's classic Raging Bull. Mann is able to craft some terrific films, however this is one of his weaker one. Considering the subject, you'd expect something truly great, but the end result is a film that has plenty of flaws. I liked it, but I felt that it could have been much better than what was filmed. Will Smith is for me, a decent actor, and with this film, was his first real dramatic role, as he was more of an action star in the first place. He would later make better dramatic films, but Ali leaves a lot to be desired, especially considering that the subject is about one of the most famous boxers in the history of the sport. This should have been much better and it is one of those films that never realizes its full potential. The script should have been reworked to make it a much better picture that told a truly engaging story. Ali is an average film that never really satisfies. I feel that the ultimate biopic on Muhammad Ali has yet to be made. Michael Mann has made better films, but as it is Ali is good, but is far from a great picture.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer


This biopic concentrates on the period between Muhammad Ali gaining the heavyweight championship of the world as Cassius Clay, through to when regained it at the "Rumble In The Jungle" ten years later. Will Smith (minus the face fuzz) was the obvious and perfect casting choice for a charming, charismatic motor-mouth and he is completely believable as the legendary fighter, but he is also surrounded by a supporting cast who are all knockout themselves; particularly an unrecognisable Jon Voigt as the sportscaster and long time friend Howard Cosell, Jamie Foxx as his junkie sidekick and even Mario Van Peebles proves he can actually act given the right material as Malcolm X. I would have liked to have seen more of the political climate during these years of the civil rights movement but Mann's visuals are as stylish as always and he finds a nice balance between the man's sporting and personal lives. Ali may not be perfect (those with no interest in boxing will no doubt be left cold) but it is a fitting testament to a sporting icon who was not only incredibly gifted, but also a true role model and ambassador for his sport.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Ali Quotes

– Submitted by Frances H (2 years ago)

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