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USA: Columbia Pictures
UK: Entertainment Film Distributors
Cast: Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight, Mario Van Peebles, Ron Silver, Jeffrey Wright, Mykelti Williamson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Nona M Gaye, Michael Michele, Joe Morton, Barry Shabaka Henley, Giancarlo Esposito, Laurence Mason, Candy Ann Brown, Michael Bentt, James Toney, Charles Shufford, Vincent De Paul
Director: Michael Mann
USA: 167 mins
UK: 159 mins
USA Rated: R for some language and brief violence
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language and moderate violence
USA Release Date: 25 December 2001
UK Release Date: 15 February 2002
Academy AwardŽ nominee Michael Mann directs Will Smith in ALI, an epic drama about the best loved, sometimes reviled and most controversial international sports hero of all time - Muhammad Ali - a man whose power extended far beyond the boxing ring.
Director Michael Mann says of his efforts to bring Ali to the big screen: "Before I could commit to make this film, I had to find a story I wanted to tell. The story I wanted to tell begins in 1964 and ends in 1974. In one way, the story is simple: a man wins the heavyweight boxing championship; his title is unfairly taken from him, and he begins his quest to regain his crown and bring about justice. That ten-year period in history was all about fighting for justice."
Will Smith's transformation into Muhammad Ali required more than a physical change from 185-pound actor to 220-pound athlete. It was a metamorphosis of the soul. Nearly a year before the cameras started to roll, Smith began the arduous process of absorbing Ali's speech patterns, mannerisms and idiosyncrasies. More difficult than climbing into the ring, Smith had to enter Ali's head. He had to take on a myriad of personas - troublemaker, diplomat, loudmouth braggart, original rapper, and champion. Smith also had to use his boxing skills and acting ability to convincingly reflect an entire decade of Ali's life and career.