When We Were Kings Reviews

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Scott Renshaw
January 1, 2000

Gast should have known Ali was the best thing he had going for him, but often it seems that the real fight in When We Were Kings is between Gast and his material.

Full Review | Original Score: 5/10
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
August 14, 2005

| Original Score: 3/5
Christopher Campbell
May 30, 2014

Almost too concentrated on Ali, but the story plays well with an exhilarating pace and plenty of well-remembered expositional details.

Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

There is a palpable tension, as the two men step into the ring, that is not lessened because we know the outcome.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
James Berardinelli
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

You don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy this.... All you need is an appreciation of recent history and a desire to learn more about an event that had far more importance in the world's eyes than any other heavyweight bout in the history of boxing.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
James Rocchi
November 7, 2002

A piece of history that touches and inspires.

Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Todd McCarthy
Top Critic
March 26, 2007

Enormously entertaining.

Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

With the odds seemingly stacked against him, and surrounded by press, performers, crooks, and charlatans of every stripe, Ali triumphed, and he did so by staying true to his vision and trusting in his own talents.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Jimmy Chertkow
Film Threat
December 6, 2005

This is the real deal.

Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Jeffrey Westhoff
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
October 17, 2002

| Original Score: 4/5
Robin Clifford
Reeling Reviews
April 9, 2005

This is a great documentary film and a must for fans of the sport and Ali.

Full Review | Original Score: A
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
May 24, 2007

Wonderful sports documentary covering the 1974 heavyweight championship fight in Zaire.

Full Review | Original Score: A
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

By the time the fighters enter that ring, the excitement factor is almost uncontrollable.

Mike Clark
USA Today
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Immeasurably enriched by extensive location footage shot by director Leon Gast 22 years ago.

| Original Score: 4/4
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
Top Critic
August 4, 2008

If anyone deserves an award, it is Ali; his charisma makes the film.

Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic
September 7, 2011

Full Review | Original Score: A
Carol Cling
Las Vegas Review-Journal
September 5, 2003

| Original Score: 5/5
John A. Nesbit
Old School Reviews
March 3, 2011

Gast never makes a mistake by turning the camera on Ali-he comes through like a champ

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Judith Egerton
Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
June 25, 2004

I pick it to win the Oscar for best documentary feature.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Michelle Alexandria
Eclipse Magazine
November 20, 2003

| Original Score: 4/5

Houston Chronicle
Top Critic
October 18, 2008

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