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Thrilla in Manila (2008)

A filmed recounting of the final championship boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975.


John Dower


John Dower
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Frazier ... Himself
Marvis Frazier Marvis Frazier ... Himself
Thomas Hauser Thomas Hauser ... Himself
Muhammad Ali ... Himself (archive footage)
Ronnie Nathanielz Ronnie Nathanielz ... Himself
Ferdie Pacheco Ferdie Pacheco ... Himself
Ferdinand Marcos ... Himself (archive footage)
Imelda Marcos ... Herself
David Wolf David Wolf ... Himself - Frazier's Camp
Butch Lewis Butch Lewis ... Himself
Buster Mathis Buster Mathis ... Himself (archive footage)
Stanley R. Hochman Stanley R. Hochman ... Himself - Philadelphia Inquirer
Sunni Khalid Sunni Khalid ... Himself
Richard Nixon ... Himself (archive footage)
Michael Parkinson ... Himself (archive footage)


On October 1, 1975, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali was in the ring with his arch rival Joe Frazier for the third time. This fight in the Philippines, which has been nicknamed "Thrilla in Manila," is considered one of the most dramatic boxing matches in history - in the words of the voice-over, "They hated each other." With the help of archive material and eyewitness accounts (including Imelda Marcos), this documentary not only reconstructs the match, but shows us what was happening behind the scenes as well. Written by International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

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Documentary | Sport

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Release Date:

11 November 2008 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Frazier vastaan Ali See more »

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Referenced in The Ben Shapiro Show: Trump Wins Big on the NFL (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

somewhat biased towards Frazier
14 February 2010 | by vincent-27See all my reviews

I think the biggest problem with this documentary, and most documentaries on Ali is that he's not in a state to talk about the events himself, so you get a lot of third hand knowledge. This documentary opened my eyes to some things, like how despicable the Nation of Islam was, and how they essentially messed up his career by making him resist the draft to Vietnam and making him think call Frazier an uncle Tom and "the enemy" as Ali puts it. There are some weird clips here, especially the part where Ali is making jokes about being on the same side as the Klu Klux Klan. This is especially strange considering all of the lynchings they performed in the south.

It's hard to say though how much of Ali's taunting were truly of a cruel nature and how much was for publicity, because Ali was brilliant at promotion. This is demonstrated by the fact that his name is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and Frazier is living in a small room above a gym. It could be that the Nation of Islam was filling him with hatred towards Frazier so he would be more motivated to win, after all they were friends in the 60's.

However, the part of this movie that is kind of messed up is how it portrays Frazier as being robbed in Manila. If you watch the fight, you will see that Frazier was clearly being dominated in the 14th round and could no longer defend himself. There are all these third hand accounts on the Frazier side talking about how sad it was and how he could have continued. Well, it's the reason they have trainer's in the corner is that most of the time a fighter doesn't know how close they are to being permanently damaged or killed. Futch knew that Ali was ahead in points anyway, so there was no point. There is a lot of people talking about how Ali wouldn't have gone back out there if Frazier didn't quit. I think this is bunk, if Ali came that far, there's no way he's sitting down in the 15th. He just would have gone out, scored so more points and then collapsed as he did when the fight was called (at that point your mind relinquishes it's control and the body takes over).

Ferdia Percheco comes off as a total jerk in this documentary, calling everybody stupid, including Frazier, who he says he doesn't want to step on. yeah right. At least Frazier had the brains to retire when it was time, instead of Ali who kept going way past his prime.

And as a side note, Larry Holmes can say that Ali was overrated when he fought him in '81 Ali was already washed up and his Parkinsons had already started. That's just pure ignorance.

Anyway, this movie is pretty good, slightly below "Facing Ali" but better than "When we Were Kings". Just take it with a grain of salt.

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