Spanning more than twenty years between actual shooting and release, Leon Gast's superb doc was well worth the wait. In it we go all the way back to the highly publicized 1974 boxing match in Zaire between former champ Muhammad Ali (who'd been stripped of the title when he refused to go to Vietnam), and then-current title holder George Foreman. This fascinating slice of sports history provides an up-close look at all the developments leading up to what was dubbed "The Rumble in the Jungle", seen mostly from the more interesting point of-view of Ali's camp. Ah, for the good old days.
It's a bittersweet experience to revisit the late Ali in his prime, when his verbal banter was as quick and devastating as his right hand. Still, Gast's feature takes us on a thrilling ride, providing vivid testament to what made Ali so powerful and compelling, both in and out of the ring. Norman Mailer and George Plimpton both add incisive commentary. Among sports documentaries, this film is royalty, like its subject.