With the passing of the greatest boxer of all time, we would like to pay tribute to Muhammad Ali. Sadly there are only two movies streaming on Netflix about this extraordinary man, both of them documentaries. Ali appeared in the 1979 TV movie Freedom Road as an actor and played himself in an episode of Diff’rent Strokes. He has, of course featured in innumerable documentaries and other movies.
Ali was born into Methodist and Baptist religions but was introduced to Islam around the age of 17. Being a boxer, he was not accepted at first but as his success and fame grew along with his friendship with Malcolm X, he eventually joined the faith. Interestingly, Malcolm X walked away from Islam shortly after Ali joined and this caused a breakdown of their friendship; Ali regretted this for the rest of his life.
On top of his remarkable career in the ring, Muhammad Ali was active as a writer and a social activist.
Muhammad and Larry – 2009
Muhammad and Larry is the story of Ali’s preparations for his final fight; an attempt to reclaim the world title, very late in life, from his friend and opponent Larry Holmes. Sadly, Ali was a shadow of his former self and the challenge was destined to fail. Director Albert Maysles is an absolute master of documentary film making, particularly in the world of rock and roll (Gimme Shelter, The Beatles: First U.S. Visit) and, because of this, this movie has broad appeal – not just to fight fans.
The Trials of Muhammad Ali – 2013
The Trials of Muhammad Ali documents the boxer’s fight against conscription based on his moral objection to the Vietnam War. The use of the word Trials in the title might lead you to think that this movie is all about court room dramas. Actually it’s not. It’s more about Ali’s trials in life during a difficult time. What makes this movie particularly extraordinary is that director Bill Siegel was a staunch anti Islam advocate. Ultimately, this is not a fight film. It’s very much a celebration of Muhammad Ali’s life.