Fairfax, VA (April 9, 2009) — Time Life will release the critically-acclaimed documentary THRILLA IN MANILA on DVD on June 2nd, a powerful film that reveals a previously unknown side to the final fight between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali in the Philippines through the eyes of the oft-overlooked Frazier. Variety describes the film as “unavoidably fascinating,” while Salon.com declares it “riveting,” the Boston Herald called it “a knockout” and GQ.com says “this film is worth its weight in gold.” The DVD comes with 30 minutes of bonus material not seen in the original film, including archival interviews with Frazier, Larry Holmes, and Frazier’s own son.
An Official Selection at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, THRILLA IN MANILA chronicles one of the most bitter face-offs the sports world has ever seen, recounting a tale of personal betrayal that was stoked by the racial politics of 1970s America. Featuring archival footage and exclusive interviews with boxing insiders, including Ferdie Pacheco, Butch Lewis and Dave Wolf, as well as Imelda Marcos (former First Lady of the Philippines), the documentary tells the story of two great fighters forever linked by three epic bouts, and looks at their final fight, considered the most brutal, from Frazier’s perspective for the very first time. The match was a near-death experience for both of them – highlighting the contrasting styles with which they fought, and the vitriol they hurled at each other for so long. It has come to represent an extraordinary personal battle and captured a particular moment in US social history.
Directed by John Dower (“Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of The New York Cosmos”), THRILLA IN MANILA tracks an extraordinary personal battle between two friends, and captures the poignant moment in the socio-cultural history of the country when they became American sports icons and legends. While Ali was a symbol of the civil rights struggle and anti-Vietnam War movement, Frazier was cast as the symbol of the pro-war, conservative segment of American society, some would say unfairly.
In 1967, Ali was stripped of his heavyweight crown after refusing induction into the armed forces. The film reveals how Frazier subsequently befriended Ali and supported the renewal of his boxing license and status, showing the intense feelings of betrayal he felt after Ali returned to the ring in 1970 and subjected him to race-baiting attacks.
In the ring, Joe Frazier was a fighter who refused to be defeated. It was that relentlessness that defined Frazier’s boxing career, carrying him to an Olympic gold medal and to the heavyweight championship of the world. And it was that relentlessness that made him the perfect foil for his rival, Muhammad Ali.
Using incredible archival footage and music of the time THRILLER AND MANILA is the definitive account of this iconic event, which remains controversial to this day.
About Time Life:
Time Life and the Time Life logo are registered trademarks of Time Warner Inc. and affiliated companies, used under license by Direct Holdings Americas Inc., which is not affiliated with Time Warner Inc. or Time Inc. Headquartered in Fairfax VA, Direct Holdings Americas Inc.’s history began in 1961 as Time Life a direct marketing division of Time Incorporated specializing in music and books. The business has been operated as a separate company since the mid-1970s when it relocated to Virginia, and has since grown to become one of the world’s largest direct marketers of audio and video products throughout North America, Europe and Australia. The Company has set the standard in the direct response industry by pioneering direct marketing techniques and building one of the most trusted and recognized brands in commerce. The Company now also sells its products through major traditional and non-traditional retailers around the world as well as via the Internet. The Company was sold in 2003 to private investors.