While many are familiar with the animosity between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman that played out before the world as the “Rumble in the Jungle”, When We Were Kings presents the complicated and inspiring conditions that brought the international boxing event together.
Occurring on October 30, 1974, at the Stade du 20 Mai in Kinshasa, Zaire (presently known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo) the event is much more than a battle between the heavyweight champion, Ali, and a ferocious boxer, Foreman, on the rise.
It is the return to the ring of Muhammad Ali, whose license to box had been suspended by the New York State Athletic Commission and championship title had been stripped from him by the World Boxing Association. In 1966, Ali, as a conscientious objector, was punished for his refusal, based on his religious beliefs, to be drafted into the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. He was barred from every state in gaining a boxing license and his passport was taken. As such, Muhammad Ali was unable to professionally box from 1967 to 1970, from 25 years old to almost 29 years old, as he appealed his conviction, which was overturned in 1971.