Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Aug 22, 2013
    100
    A wholly illuminating look at Muhammad Ali in all his complexity, providing a surprisingly fresh and vivid portrait of a man who played rope-a-dope with history, religion and sport and emerged from the ring as an inspiring, and flawed icon.
  2. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Sep 26, 2013
    90
    It’s an inspiring picture, particularly given the difficulty of imagining one of today’s sports superstars going so far out on a limb for unpopular beliefs.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Sobczynski
    Sep 9, 2014
    88
    The Trials of Muhammad Ali a unique and inspiring viewing experience.
  4. Reviewed by: Bruce Ingram
    Nov 8, 2013
    88
    [A] conventional yet fascinating documentary.
  5. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Sep 26, 2013
    80
    The Trials of Muhammad Ali is a complex and involving documentary.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 22, 2013
    80
    This full, footage-rich documentary shows respect for the social, legal, political, religious and pugilistic battles of the former Cassius Clay.
  7. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 24, 2013
    75
    There is history as it's remembered, and then there's history as it happened. This documentary gives us the latter, and it's a true education.
  8. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Oct 17, 2013
    75
    The archival footage in Bill Siegel’s documentary The Trials of Muhammad Ali is wondrous. How could it not be, featuring the gentleman in the title.
  9. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Sep 26, 2013
    70
    The film never lingers too long on any one thing, instead functioning as a survey in which several fascinating cultural moments are vividly evoked, but then left insufficiently probed.
  10. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Aug 22, 2013
    70
    The Trials Of Muhammad Ali’s real value is in showing—not just talking about—the time and place in which Ali lived.
  11. Reviewed by: Sean O’Connell
    Sep 27, 2013
    63
    For those seeking further insight into this sliver of Ali’s remarkable career, “Trials” is as comprehensive as it gets.
  12. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Aug 22, 2013
    60
    The film falls short of explaining Mr. Ali, who, like many outspoken individuals, can stubbornly repel scrutiny, nor will it pacify the many who opposed his conscientious objections. But it also underlines one enduring quality: namely, that he probably couldn’t care less what people think.
  13. Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    Aug 20, 2013
    60
    Produced by veteran Chicago doc outfit Kartemquin (and correspondingly bullshit-free), Siegel’s archive-and-talking-heads narrative revels in forgotten details—like Ali, during his suspension from boxing, appearing in an Off Broadway musical about slavery, the taped footage from which is eye-popping.
  14. Reviewed by: Kalvin Henely
    Aug 22, 2013
    38
    Bill Siegel has made more of a Ken Burns-esque history book--that is, a medium more dry and factual--than a film.

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