The Trials of Muhammad Ali

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." We ALL remember those iconic words by the Louisville Lip, don't we! Some said he was "Waved through the tollbooths of life."

In this USA entry to the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival, director Bill Siegel takes us from a 12-year-old Cassius Clay in Louisville who started boxing at a local gym, to a fragile Olympic torch bearer ravaged by Parkinson's. This documentary sweeps us from his controversial conversion to the Muslim religion (rejecting the name Cassius Clay), to the day when President George Bush granted him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

We remember his:
  • 1959 Golden Gloves Championship;
  • 1960 Olympics Boxing Championship;
  • 1964 Conversion to the Nation of Islam;
  • 1968 Refusal to be drafted, citing the Pacifism of Islam;
  • 1970 Defeat of Jerry Quarry;
  • 1971 Supreme Court ruling (and reversal) in his case;
  • 1974 Rumble in the Jungle with George Foreman;
  • 1996 Honorary Torchbearer for the Olympics;
  • 2005 Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
All of these events (and more!) are surrounded by insightful (and humorous!) interviews. I doubt if anyone is neutral on this man. I found the Supreme Court ruling particularly intriguing and blush to confess that I had forgotten all about it.

This is an interesting and informative documentary about an articulate and irrepressible man.
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