The Great White Hope - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Great White Hope Reviews

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February 28, 2019
Complex and outstanding!
February 1, 2019
The best sports movie ever made! With the best movie character ever portrayed: James Earl Jones as Jack Jefferson!
½ October 21, 2016
This is an unusual film - one which is nearly impossible to properly understand and place in context. On the surface this is a historical tale of racial differences in a very public forum. But this was also presented in a time of great upheaval in human rights. Then there's a third level of a present day viewer's interpretation. How do we relate to the issues of race, love, moral dignity, and living with the weight of public perception?
Super Reviewer
½ September 12, 2015
I've been liking me some Marty Ritt films lately, an undiscovered gem for me, and though not quite up to his usual stuff this one'll do in a pinch. When it first came out lo those many, many years ago (We were so poor, we didn't even have rocks) it proved highly impactful to the rest of my life and certainly my worldview. Now though, many of the seams are plain to see, for instance how much of the stage play aspects of the thing remain intact. James Earl Jones doesn't really have much of a range to explore his character and the same is true for the underdeveloped but centrally decisive Jane Alexander character. And the point of the thing, the grinding racism of the most free nation on the earth and how it adversely affects the lives of individuals isn't given its full scope. Nonetheless the flavor of the idea is present and enough to engage. In a supposedly free country where an essential kernal of life is the denial of perpetuating an oppressive condition, this piece still speaks volumes.
½ March 30, 2015
good well crafted boxing pic/bio-pic
½ October 26, 2014
Infrequently compelling with some well-staged scenes this film still however, has the overbearing whiff of the theatre from whence it came.
Super Reviewer
May 12, 2014
Howard Sackler's screenplay holds pretty closely to his stage play script, which I read shortly before watching this. The interracial relationship between Jack Jefferson (Jones), who represented real-life heavyweight champ Jack Johnson, and Eleanor (Alexander) is the most interesting feature of the story. Sure the period details provide a unique setting. The sports lingo of the early part of the twentieth century along with the racial slurs show a world that has rarely been presented on the screen. As Jack dodges the charges brought against him under the Mann Act by moving around internationally, the different cultures of the different countries are not so clearly represented, although the fact that the world was racist and not just America comes across well. The final boxing match scene in the play is all from the point of view of spectators outside the stadium. With the cinematic representation, we do get to see the two men slug it out. Though the makeup for this final fight scene is not very natural, James Earl Jones as Jack gives a performance throughout that shows both Jack's defiant energy and his defeated exhaustion.
February 1, 2014
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
Super Reviewer
October 2, 2013
Obama recently had the opportunity to pardon Jack Johnson for his "crimes". Here is the biopic of Johnson as realized by James Earl Jones. Jones brings out that larger than life personality of Johnson that upset white America to such a large degree. His story, like Ali's, was a challenge to society but without acceptance as Ali was to receive.
February 14, 2012
Based on the true story of heavyweight champion Jack Johnson. James Earl Jones in an early fine acting performance of character who's not exactly the most likable guy, but whom you want to be successful anyway.
Super Reviewer
January 17, 2012
The actual history is quite distorted but both James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander give great performances.
November 8, 2011
A great movie about will and idealism in the real world. James Earl Jones delivers one amazing performance and the story, though cliche at times, pulls no punches.
½ September 26, 2011
A biopic before biopics were all the rage. It really doesn't do the story of Jack Johnson justice. If you want that, watch "Unforgivable Blackness" -- but you can really say that about most biopics: The documentary is almost always better. But that aside, as a hollywood-ized biopic, it seemed to really capture the basically essence of Jack Johnson through a tremendous performance by James Earl Jones. I enjoyed his portrayal of Johnson and I think, based on what I've read, he did a nice job of bringing him to life (again, the hollywood-ized version). Overall, it's a solid movie and worth checking out, but for me, I always prefer reality rather than hollywood.
July 31, 2011
The character of Jack Jefferson and James Earl Jones' portrayal of him is incredible. While the acting in this film is very real, its short runtime is a testament to the movie's great concept but poor development. It felt as if the distance from point A to point B was very short and that little was accomplished. I was hoping for Rocky with racism but found a little bit of boxing and a lot of arguments that didn't really advance the plot.
½ June 18, 2011
It was an interesting story and James Earl Jones did a good job. I learned a lot about the first black heavyweight champion but I wish the story was a little more accurate.
April 21, 2011
Sometimes your so used to seeing certain people look a certain way, that when you see them look different it throws you, and that is totally what happened when I watched The Great White Hope. James Earl Jones is so young and fit looking in this semi historical semi fictional bio pic that he looks like a different person. As for the film itself, it looks decent but I was surprised to see so little actual boxing in a movie about a boxer, but I guess thats the direction they wanted to take.
February 6, 2011
Excellent portrayal of the life and times of Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion.
August 31, 2010
recommended by rubystevens....
February 3, 2010
I realized that when I was thinking back on seeing Will Smith's Ali, a lot of scene from The Great White Hope popped into my head. This was a pretty good movie. James Earl Jones is, if nothing else, a strong presense. The story is well exectued, the romance is well developed, and the fight scenes are good. It's not exactly a classic, but it's still around and still entertains.
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