When We Were Kings

Movie review by Renee Longstreet, Common Sense Media
When We Were Kings Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 14+

Thrilling boxing docu covers race, politics; some profanity.

PG 1997 84 minutes

Parents say

age 13+

Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yet.

Add your rating

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for and .

Community Reviews

age 10+

Muhammad Ali was arguably the most influential American figure - not just in sports - of the late 20th century.

This is a perfect film to show kids the value of sacrifice and sticking to your beliefs. Ali gave up everything on principle - and he fought back, against all odds, to reclaim what was rightfully his. Add that to the sheer drama of the fight itself, which may have been the greatest in heavyweight history (it certainly was the greatest comeback and biggest upset in heavyweight history.) Finally, you’ve got huge cultural context; a clear-eyed view on race; and the amazing commentary by a pair of literary giants, Norman Mailer and George Plimpton. There’s violence, a little nudity, and a great soundtrack. Every kid should know who Ali was, and this movie is probably the best way to accomplish that goal.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 15+


Very informative . I wasn’t looking forward to watching (my dads choice) as I thought it was all about Muhammad Ali. It is so much more. Very historical . About the 70’s , blacks and segregation, unforgettable musicians (like BB King)

Movie Details

Our Editors Recommend

  • The Hurricane Poster Image

    The Hurricane

    Denzel dazzles in biopic of imprisoned boxer.

    age 16+
  • The Fighter Poster Image

    The Fighter

    Boxing biopic mixes inspiring story, mature content.

    age 16+
  • Malcolm X Poster Image

    Malcolm X

    Insightful and well-rounded portrait of Malcolm X.

    age 13+
  • Ali Poster Image


    Brutal fight scenes and frank racial issues.

    age 16+

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

  • Young girl playing
    See all
  • Kids in class
    See all
  • Child cross country skiing
    See all

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

  • Cartoon picture of basketball, football, and medal
    Sports and Martial Arts
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of a map and jug
    See all

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate