Spray flies from the head of challenger Joe Frazier, left, as heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali connects with a right in the ninth round of their title fight in Manila, Philippines, Oct. 1, 1975. Ali won the fight on a decision to retain the title.
The Trials of Muhammad Ali
An incomparable gladiator with intelligence and ego to match, Muhammad Ali held two tenures as the world’s heavyweight boxing champion in the 1960s and 1970s, and an uninterrupted reign as one of the era’s most admired and despised public figures. Or, as Sports Illustrated ranked him, “Sportsman of the Century,” renowned for fighting in the ring and not fighting in the Vietnam War. Bill Siegel’s exemplary documentary “The Trials of Muhammad Ali” (⋆⋆⋆⋆ out of four stars, unrated) analyzes his naive and shrewd personality via interviews with his brother, first wife, and an early business partner. Through a wealth of news footage — the man had no false modesty around cameras — the film explores his devotion to the Black Muslim movement, his conviction for refusing induction into the armed forces, and the historic Supreme Court battle that decision sparked. It’s a deep dive into one of recent history’s most fascinating notables. (Lagoon Cinema, 1320 Lagoon Av., Mpls., filmmaker Siegel in person Fri.-Sat. after the 7:30 and 10 p.m. shows for a Q & A.)