Past screening

When We Were Kings

Directed by: Leon Gast
Runtime: 1hr 28min Year: 1996
Watch trailer


Directed by: Leon Gast
Runtime: 1hr 28min Year: 1996
Country: United States
Topics: Sport

Presented by Kevin Macdonald. Muhamad Ali and George Foreman’s famous ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ is captured with fantastic intimacy in this Oscar winning documentary from Leon Gast.

Presented by Kevin Macdonald as part of the 10 week series Filmmakers’ Favourites

In 1974, boxers Muhammad Ali and George Foreman travelled to the politically unstable African nation of Zaire to contest the world heavyweight championship. The Fight of the Century would go down in history as the ‘Rumble in the Jungle,’ and Director Leon Gast was there to capture it all.

Complete with performances from B.B. King, James Brown and Miriam Makeba, and overshadowed by the ominous presence of President Mobutu, When We Were Kings also cements Ali’s reputation as a one of the most magnetic characters of the era. More than just a record of the fight, Gast constructs a riveting story and a powerful discourse on an event which marked the beginning of a new age of black culture and identity.

Kevin Macdonald is an Oscar and BAFTA winning filmmaker who has worked at the highest levels of both fiction and nonfiction filmmaking. His credits include One Day In September (1999), The Last King of Scotland (2007), Touching the Void (2003), Life in a Day (2011) and Marley (2012).Across 10 Thursday afternoons, celebrated doc-makers from Sophie Fiennes to Penny Woolcock to Kevin Macdonald will give a personal introduction to one of the films they chose for the Sight & Sound Greatest Documentaries of all Time poll.