The upcoming HBO movie captures the heavyweight champion's historic Supreme Court battle after he's found guilty for refusing to get drafted into the Vietnam War.
HBO will highlight "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight" in its upcoming original movie. As teased in the first promo video, the toughest battle captured in the TV movie was not one of his fights in the ring, but in the court.
At the height of his boxing career in 1967, Ali was drafted into the Vietnam War. He, however, refused to be conscripted into the U.S. military to fight in Vietnam, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was eventually arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges and stripped of his boxing title.
He later appealed his case, using his conscientious objector status claim which led to a controversial legal battle that rattled the U.S. judicial system right up to the highest court in the land. The TV movie looks at this historic Supreme Court battle from behind closed doors and the justices coming to the Supreme Court's decision in 1971 to overturn his conviction.
Christopher Plummer, Frank Langella, Benjamin Walker, Danny Glover and more star in the made-for-TV movie, while the actual Muhammad Ali appears through archival footage. Responding to a TV critic at the TCA summer press tour who asked the show's creators why the movie had so many white characters and didn't see the issue from black people's point of view at the time, screenwriter Shawn Slovo said, "We were making a Supreme Court drama. There were no black clerks and woman clerks."
"Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight" will premiere Saturday, October 5 at 8/7c on HBO. The film was premiered at the 66th annual Cannes Film Festival which took place from May 15 to 26 in France.