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The Great White Hope (1970) - movie overview

The Great White Hope (1970)

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Original title: Great White Hope, The

Budget $6,000,000

MPAA Rating
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, and for language including racist dialogue.

Running Time
1 hour, 43 minutes

Country USA

Production Companies
20th Century Fox

Studio 20th Century Fox

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Other Titles
• The Great White Hope (1970)

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Genre: Drama, Sports, Biography, Tragedy, Period Piece, Prison, Escape, Love, Blaxploitation

Tagline: He could beat any white man in the world. He just couldn't beat all of them.

Plot: Based on Howard Sackler's Broadway play about the life of flamboyant boxing great, Jack Johnson, THE GREAT WHITE HOPE stars James Earl Jones as Jack Jefferson, a fictional counterpart for Johnson. Jefferson, the first-ever African-American heavyweight champion, fights racism, hostile fans, and aggressive promoters to become the top fighter in the world in the early 1900s. However, once at the top, Jefferson finds that he has provoked the anger of the government, labor unions, and the boxing racket itself because of his race, talent, and his romance with a white woman, Eleanor (Jane Alexander). Under investigation by the government, Jefferson travels the world fighting for a promoter whose main focus is to find a white fighter who can match Jefferson's prowess in the ring--that is the definition of "the great white hope" of the title. Bolstered by Mr. Jones's powerful performance, THE GREAT WHITE HOPE is a searing examination of prejudice in 20th century America. The film doesn't back down from some of the more complex and disturbing issues in the play, namely the psychological reasons for the white establishment's fear of Johnson. Revealing and entertaining, Ritt's film takes an unflinching look at racial politics in America.

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 Directed by
Martin Ritt
Hud, Norma Rae, Nuts
 Written by
Howard Sackler
Jaws 2, Fear and Desire, Saint Jack
James Earl Jones
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, Star Wars, Dr. Strangelove
Jane Alexander
The Ring, The Cider House Rules, All the President's Men
Hal Holbrook
Wall Street, The Firm, All the President's Men
Lou Gilbert
Marathon Man, Juliet of the Spirits, Viva Zapata!
Joel Fluellen
Imitation of Life, Run Silent Run Deep, Friendly Persuasion
Chester Morris
Red-Headed Woman, The Divorcee, The She-Creature
Robert Webber
12 Angry Men, The Dirty Dozen, Private Benjamin
 Music By

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