Brutal fight scenes and frank racial issues.
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 157 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Brutal fight scenes, brief gory photo of lynching victim.


Sexual references and situations, not as explicit as many Rs.


Strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Character abuses drugs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that in addition to brutal fight scenes, the movie includes a character who is a drug addict, drinking and smoking, a sexual situation and sexual references (including adultery), and some strong language. The issue of racial and religious intolerance is forthrightly presented.

What's the story?

Will Smith stars in ALI as the title fighter. The movie covers the champ's personal and professional lives, including his conversion to Islam and his refusal to fight in Vietnam.

Is it any good?


Will Smith delivers a knock-out punch as Muhammed Ali in this outstanding film that follows the champ from his first heavyweight title to the "Rumble in the Jungle" when he won the title again by defeating George Foreman in Zaire. Smith perfectly captures Ali's Kentucky drawl. Like his fighting style, it can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Director Michael Mann strikes just the right balance between the personal and the political, setting Ali's struggles in the context of the racial conflicts of his era but never losing sight of the fact that it is one man's story.

Even limited to only 10 years in Ali's life, the story spills out of the screen, with achingly brief glimpses of some of the key characters in Ali's life. This is a double loss, because these small roles are played by some of the most brilliant -- and under-used actors -- working today, including Jeffrey Wright as Ali's photographer, LeVar Burton glimpsed briefly as Martin Luther King, Joe Morton as Ali's lawyer, and Giancarlo Esposito as Ali's father. John Voight struggles under far too much rubber make-up but makes a fine impression as Howard Cosell, the sportscaster who was Ali's favorite straight man and one of his truest friends. Mario van Peebles is quietly magnetic as Malcolm X, and Ron Silver marshals his intensity just right as trainer Angelo Dundee. Mykelti Williamson is jubilantly entertaining as Don King.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the conflict Ali faced when he was drafted. How did he decide what to do? How did he stay true to himself? What was the biggest challenge? When his wife told him not to trust the fight promoters who "talk black, act white, and think green," who was right?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 25, 2001
DVD release date:April 30, 2002
Cast:Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight, Will Smith
Director:Michael Mann
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Run time:157 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some language and brief violence.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byMovieLover4Lyfe October 6, 2010
Will Smith does a superb job acting as Ali! A lot of great supporting acts as well. I am not a fan of boxing movies, but Smith is inspiring in his role and this is a movie I would recommend for families with older teens.
Teen, 13 years old Written byfangningsheng April 3, 2011

Great movie, not for young kids though

Ali was great. Will Smith did an excellent job as Muhammad Ali. Watch out for some strong language, brutal boxing, a somewhat graphic shooting, and some sexual content. Suggested MPAA rating:R for boxing sequences, a scene of violence, sexual content, and some language.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008

Not what I was expecting

I like will smith and I like Ali, the person. But this story just did not do it for me as entertainment.


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