Watch When We Were Kings
- 1 hr 29 min
When We Were Kings is a thrilling sports documentary that takes the viewers on an extraordinary journey back in time, to one of the most iconic sports events of the 20th century. Released in 1996 and directed by Leon Gast, the movie chronicles the historical boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, known as "The Rumble in the Jungle," which took place in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1974.
The movie starts by introducing the context of the fight, which was set against the backdrop of political and cultural revolutions happening in Zaire. At the time, the country was under the dictatorial rule of Mobutu Sese Seko, who saw the fight as an opportunity to put Zaire on the map and assert his power on the world stage. He invited the two heavyweight champions - Ali, who was stripped of his boxing titles due to his opposition to the Vietnam War and Foreman, the reigning champion known for his unbeatable record and fierce power - to Kinshasa, where they would fight in front of an audience of 60,000 people.
The movie features rare archival footage of the build-up to the fight, including scenes of Ali training and trash-talking Foreman, and interviews with key figures involved in the event, such as the infamous boxing promoter Don King, who helped secure the financial backing for the fight. The movie also examines the racial and cultural dynamics of the event, as Ali's outspoken activism against racism and Foreman's Afrocentric philosophy clashed with the conservative views of the Zairian government.
As the day of the fight approaches, the tension builds up and the movie captures the excitement and anxiety of the audience, who are waiting to witness a historic moment. What ensues is an unforgettable battle between two of the greatest boxers of all time, as Ali uses his famous "rope-a-dope" technique and his wit to get inside Foreman's head, while Foreman tries to use his brute strength to overpower his opponent. The fight is accompanied by a stellar soundtrack featuring the legendary music of James Brown, B.B. King, and The Fugees, which adds to the raw energy of the event.
Throughout the movie, When We Were Kings also examines the cultural significance and legacy of the fight. The movie highlights the impact that Ali's victory had on the world, from inspiring a generation of black athletes to challenging racial stereotypes and promoting social justice. The movie also shows how Ali's charisma and showmanship have made him a cultural icon, whose legacy extends far beyond the boxing ring.
Overall, When We Were Kings is a powerful and captivating documentary that celebrates the spirit of athleticism, human resilience, and cultural transformation. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in sports, history, and social change. The movie brings to life the magic of one of the most remarkable moments in sports history in a way that is both informative and entertaining.
When We Were Kings is a 1996 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 29 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.0 and a MetaScore of 83.