Freedom Road (1979)





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Movie Info

Muhammad Ali made his TV-movie dramatic debut in this adaptation of Howard Fast's novel Freedom Road. Though some of the names are changed, the story concerns the true-life efforts of senators Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens to bring political order and racial equality to the post-Civil War South. Ali is cast as Gideon Jackson, an ex-slave who is elected to the U.S. senate during the Reconstruction Era. Interestingly enough, the character upon whom Jackson is based was depicted as the villain of D.W. Griffith's 1915 Civil War epic Birth of a Nation. Just as Griffth offered his own biased slant on the facts, so too did Fast rewrite history to promote his own political ideology. As for Muhammad Ali, his performance is no threat to Olivier, but he acts with sincerity and a commendable lack of bravado. Made for TV, Freedom Road represented the final film effort of Czechoslovakian director Jan Kadar. It was first telecast in two parts on October 29 and 30, 1979, an event that warranted a cover story in TV Guide.
Documentary , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Freedom Road Films


Muhammad Ali
as Gideon Jackson
Ernest Dixon
as Marion Jefferson
Kris Kristofferson
as Abner Lait
Edward Herrmann
as Stephen Holms
Ron O'Neal
as Francis Cardozo
Barbara Jones
as Rachel Jackson
John McLiam
as Ulysses S. Grant
Grace Zabriskie
as Ruth Lait
Ossie Davis
as Narrator
Sonny Jim Gaines
as Brother Peter
Joel Fluellen
as James Allenby
Jean Renee Foster
as Ellen Allenby
Bill Mackey
as Trooper
Earl Smith
as Hannibal
Fred Covington
as Sheriff Bentley
Sonny Shroyer
as Jason Hugar
Tom Delaney
as Will Boone
Ron Gural
as Frank Carson
William Allen Young
as Older Jeff Jackson
Tony Ross
as Young Jeff Jackson
Erik Washington
as Older Marcus Jackson
Rodney King Adams
as Young Marcus Jackson
Howard Brunner
as Lawyer Greene
Howland Chamberlain
as Isaac Went
Georgia Allen
as Mrs. Carter
James Bowman
as 1st White Trash Delegate
Don Brady
as 2nd White Trash Delegate
Robert Bloodworth
as Mayor at Convention
Barbara Chaney
as Mrs. Ganfret
Stuart Culpepper
as Maj. Walsh
Lionel Ferbis Jr.
as Uncle Baddy
Peter Gabb
as 3rd White Trash Delegate
Ira Graham
as Jimmy Lait
Jerome Green
as Black Delegate
Bill Holliday
as Yankee Boss
Don Hood
as Gen. Ganfret
Maurice Hunt
as Dudley Carwell
Don K. Lutenbacher
as Convention Speaker
Danny Nelson
as Auctioneer
Afemo Omilami
as Young Black Man with Scars
Courtney Pledger
as Mrs. Dupre
Jeremiah Shabazz
as Well-Dressed Black Delegate
Greg White
as Clair Willis
Bob Zay
as Roger Dupre
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