Muhammad Ali: Four Films, Four Books

June 8, 2016

The strangest thing about all the recent celebrity deaths is how universally beloved each passing man was. David Bowie, Prince, and now Muhammad Ali brought people together both in life and death. Ali has struck a particular note with fans, young and old. My Facebook feed this week was fascinating because friend after friend posted pictures of themselves with Ali at various stages of his life. The only conclusion one can reach from such posts is that he was as great a guy in real life as he was in the ring.

To best honor Ali and his work, here are four movies and four books to best remember the legend.


Muhammad Ali: In His Own Words
MA in his own words
Rare archival footage animates the life of the man once known as Cassius Clay, who was to become The Greatest.

The Trials of Muhammad Ali
the trials of muhammad ali
The life of Ali outside the boxing ring, from his refusal to be drafted in the Vietnam War to his conversion to Islam, proves as thrilling as his athletic successes.

I Am Ali
i am ali
Meet the Muhammad Ali known by friends and family, including George Foreman and Mike Tyson.

Thrilla in Manila: Ali vs. Frazier
Thrilla in Manila
One of the most famed sports rivalries of the twentieth century comes to life as Ali takes on Joe Frazier in their third matchup in 1975.


Running With the Champ : My Forty-Year Friendship with Muhammad Ali


A personal tribute to the remarkable friendship between Tim Shanahan and Muhammad Ali, including dozens of never-before-told stories about Ali, his family, his entourage, and various celebrities along the way—as well as never-before-published personal photos.

Blood Brothers : The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X


In this provocative history, sports historians Roberts and Smith examine the relationship between two central figures of the 1960s: Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali.

The Phantom Punch : The Story Behind Boxing’s Most Controversial Bout

Phantom Punch

Journalist and sports historian Rob Sneddon brings new perspective to the world of boxing in the 1960s, to the managers, teamsters, promoters, boxers, and the fight itself—a fight that remains both a key milestone in the history of sports in Maine and the most controversial bout in boxing history.

Approaching Ali : A Reclamation in Three Acts


Following in the grand contemporary literary tradition of writers such as Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe, and Nick Hornby, Miller gives us a series of extraordinary insights into a man that he has been approaching nearly his entire life. The result is both a new introduction to the human side of a boxing legend as well as a loving and beautifully written reclamation of Muhammad Ali’s life after the ring.


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