Ali is a 2001 biographical film moninated for two Academy Awards, directed by Michael Mann. The story follows the boxer Muhammad Ali, (Will Smith) from 1964 to 1974 featuring his claim of the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston (Michael Bentt), his conversion to Islam, his thoughts on the Vietnam War, his return to fight Joe Frazier (James Toney) in 1971, and reclaiming the title from George Foreman (Charles Shufford) in the Rumble in the Jungle fight of 1974.
Trivia: As the project lay in "development hell" for more than a decade, several directors attempted to make the film until Michael Mann was finally chosen. The list included: Oliver Stone, Spike Lee, and Norman Jewison. Oliver Stone was commissioned as the project's director at one point. Stone's very first choice for the role of Muhammad Ali was Denzel Washington. However, when Washington signed on to another boxer biopic, The Hurricane, Stone opted to instead make Any Given Sunday. "The Hurricane" was made by Norman Jewison in the end.