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Ali | 2001 | R | - 4.6.5

Epic biopic of how Cassius Clay (Will Smith) became Muhammad Ali. The film concentrates on the decade from 1964, when Ali defeated Sonny Liston for the heavyweight crown, to 1974, when he defeated George Foreman in Zaire to regain the crown. Within those 10 years Ali embraced Islam, got married a few times, changed his name and refused military induction and a trip to Vietnam. Also with Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight, Mario Van Peebles, Ron Silver, Jeffrey Wright, Mykelti Williamson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Nona Gaye, Michael Bentt, James N. Toney, Charles Shufford and Albert Hall [2:47]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - A man and woman have sex; the woman is on top of the man thrusting rhythmically, they kiss and we see her in a bra. A woman wearing a slip is on top of a man in his underwear and they kiss. A man and woman kiss and lie back on a bed. While dancing a woman puts a man's hand on her hip and buttock. Men and women dance close together. A woman wears a dress which exposes some cleavage, a nightclub scene shows women in dresses which reveal some cleavage, bare shoulders and backs. A group of women dance on a stage wiggling and thrusting their hips. Women swoon over a male singer. Men are shown bare to the waist during boxing sequences.

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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A man is shot in the chest with a shotgun and we see many bloody holes in his shirt as he falls back and jerks a bit, and he is shot a few more times with handguns as he lies still. A man is shot and lies dead, with a spreading pool of blood under his head (we hear the shot and then see the body). We see a photograph in a newspaper that shows a man's battered face and hear that he was lynched. There is a reference to a man's eye having been cut out and his neck having been tied with barbed wire. There is a reference to the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama where four young girls died. A woman talks about her father having been shot. There are several boxing scenes with varying degrees of detail, but all show many hard and fast punches; one bout shows a man being punched repeatedly in the body as he is pinned on the ropes, there are many face and head punches and a punch in the jaw makes a boxer dizzy (we see a bruised cheek). A championship bout shows many hard and fast punches being landed in a man's body and face (one boxer has a bloody eye and a swollen face), one shows a boxer with a very bloody eyebrow, one shows a boxer with a puffy and bruised eye, one shows a boxer with very bruised and swollen eyes and face, one shows many punches being landed (one boxer has very swollen eyes), one shows a man being knocked out (he falls hard to the mat and is unconscious), one shows a boxer fall to his knees and then he falls flat on his back. During a boxing match one boxer gets something in his eyes which makes it impossible for him to see and he is punched repeatedly. We see a boxer working out on a heavy bag and hear the thundering punches as they hit. We see a scene of fires burning in the streets. A man throws a bottle against a wall, shattering it and smacks a man in the face. A man shoves another man in the face. A man kicks a chair in frustration, a man punches the steering wheel of his car repeatedly, in frustration. There are many instances of verbal threats. Crowds of people chant "Ali kill him." A man and woman argue.

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LANGUAGE 5 - 5 F-words and their derivatives, 2 scatological term (one is mouthed), 1 sexual reference, 5 anatomical terms, 7 mild obscenities, 4 derogatory terms for African-Americans, 1 religious profanity, 4 religious exclamations, and some insults.

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SUBSTANCE USE - Several characters are shown smoking, one character is shown to have a drinking and drug problem.

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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Boxing, the Civil Rights Movement, the FBI, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, assassinations, bigotry, racism, Africa, phone tapping, the Nation of Islam and Muslimism, patriarchy and male domination, patriotism, virginity, Nielsen TV ratings, conceit, divorce, infidelity, conspiracies, the draft, the Vietnam war, the ACLU, war protests.
MESSAGE - The young Muhammad Ali was a complex, quite flawed but charismatic person.
CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.



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