Playing in limited release right now is the rather excellent documentary, “The Trials Of Muhammad Ali” (our review), which gives a fascinating, in depth look at the legal battles the fighter faced, including his highly publicized decision to claim conscientious objector status when drafted for the Vietnam War. It was a position that seriously threatened his livelihood, and made him an easy target from all sides; the true story itself is hugely dramatic and compelling. But if you’d rather see a movie with actors telling the tale, well, there’s “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight.”
The Stephen Frears film follows Ali’s trial following his arrest for anti-Vietnam sentiments, and the battle that ensued of his legal right (or not) to claim that he was a CO. At the time, one could decline from the war citing religious reasons — as Ali did — but there were many thorny ways to interpret that broad definition. Benjamin Walker plays Kevin Kennedy, a Supreme Court clerk who supported Ali, with Christopher Plummer, Frank Langella, Danny Glover, Barry Levinson, Bob Balaban and more rounding out the cast. As for Ali? He’s relegated to archival footage….
“Muhammed Ali’s Greatest Fight” will air on HBO on October 5th at 8 PM. Watch below.