Thriller in Manila


Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier are rightfully ranked among the greatest boxers of all time. Once united by friendship, they became bitter antagonists as they vied for the heavyweight championship of the world on three occasions. The final meeting between these two boxing giants took place in the Philippine capital in October 1975. Hailed as the “Thrilla in Manila,” the match went down in history as the most dramatic sporting event of the 20th century. Dower’s gripping reconstruction takes a closer look at the match and the events that preceded it – from Frazier’s corner of the ring. Even after 30 years, the aging owner of a rundown Philadelphia gym has not forgotten the bitter moments of verbal humiliation and racial slurs which his former friend Ali, an adherent of the Nation of Islam, brought to the encounter. Archive footage and the testimonies of those who witnessed the “fight to the death” illustrate not only the drama in the ring, but also US sociopolitical realities of the 1960s and 1970s.

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  • Original title
    Thriller in Manila
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    John Dower
  • DOP
    Stephen Standen
  • Editing
    Nicholas Packer, Kate Spankie
  • Music
    Ben Bartlett
  • Duration
    90 min (46-90 min.)
  • Year
  • Colour
    • Colour
  • Production
  • Distribution is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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