Cassius X: Becoming Ali

Cassius X puts a period of often-overlooked history into the spotlight - the period when Cassius Clay fought his way to achieving his lifelong dream of becoming World Heavyweight Champion while embarking on a secret spiritual journey.

Year: 2022

Director: Muta'Ali

Excutive producer: Mick McAvoy

Line producer: Justine Leahy

Production company: Two Rivers Media

Commissioner: Smithsonian Channel

Funding: The production has received funding through Screen Scotland's Film Development and Production Fund


Exploring the life of Cassius Clay as he undergoes his spiritual transformation as well as examining the evolution of his amazing boxing skills, this landmark film is structured around the early years of his boxing career between 1959 and 1964 when he turned professional and pursued his dream of becoming World Heavyweight Champion.

From his first contact with the Nation of Islam to the moment when he is given the name Muhammad Ali, we reveal the events in America that would shape his beliefs and examine the figures such as Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X who would become his spiritual advisors. Featuring interviews with people with a direct connection to these moments in Ali’s life, Cassius X: Becoming Ali examines the influences on Ali’s awakenings with regard to owning his own identity - the Nation of Islam, integration vs. separation, and the thoughts and perspectives and beliefs he adopts.

It is Ali’s origin story - the definitive observation of the emergence of a hero

More information

Exploring the transformation of Cassius Clay into international boxing icon and activist, Muhammad Ali, Cassius X: Becoming Ali is the first commission from Two Rivers for Smithsonian Channel. 

UK Cinema release: 13 October 2023