Ali as Actor: An Online Guide

Muhammad Ali, world champion boxer, beloved humanitarian….and actor? Perhaps not his greatest skill, but Ali did take his shot as a thespian on both the big and small screen.

His biggest role was as himself in 1977’s feature film The Greatest, which garnered a very positive review in The New York Times. You can watch it for free on Crackle.

Two years later, Ali starred in an NBC TV mini-series Freedom Road, playing a man who goes from slavery to the U.S. Senate. Alas, the full film doesn’t seem to be available anywhere, but here’s a short clip: 

On TV, Ali starred as himself in a 1979 episode of the sitcom Diff’rent Strokes titled “Arnold’s Hero.” Watch it on YouTube.

As early as 1962, when he was a young Cassius Clay, Ali was already appearing on the big screen – as himself in the Rod Serling-penned drama Requiem for a Heavyweight. The flick is available starting at $2.99 from YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu and Google Play.

Ali also played himself in:

  • the 1985 comedy feature Doin’ Time

  • a 1999 episode of Touched By An Angel, titled “Fighting the Good Fight”


Finally, “the greatest” appeared in the 1981 remake of Body and Soul and in a 1980 episode of Vega$ titled “The Eleventh Event.” Our research team couldn’t find a streaming source for these two titles. Let us know if you have better luck!

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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