Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes

See boxing superstar Muhammad Ali through a new lens in Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes, which uses his many appearances on the Emmy-winning The Dick Cavett Show to give insight into his legacy, in and out of the ring.

Ali appeared on the show multiple times between 1968 and 1979 and used his appearances as opportunities to have candid conversations with the host about racial, religious and political injustice. “There was a period in my life when I felt that Muhammad Ali was my best friend,” Cavett says in the documentary.

“They seemed to go to the edge of the racial debate in this country,” recalls Reverend Al Sharpton, who was interviewed for Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes along with sportswriter and HBO World Championship Boxing commentator Larry Merchant, Ali biographer Thomas Hauser, columnist Juan Williams, author Ilyasah Shabazz and more.

These recent interviews combined with footage from Ali’s Dick Cavett Show appearances explores how Ali came to symbolize something greater than boxing. By the time he carried the Olympic torch at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, his hand trembling from Parkinson’s disease, Ali’s legacy was immortalized as a beacon of equality and political conviction.

Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes is presented by HBO Documentary Films and Cavalier Films; directed by Robert S. Bader; written by Robert S. Bader and Dick Cavett; produced by Robert S. Bader, Bay Dariz and Allan Falk; and edited by Robert S. Bader and Oliver Thompson.