Muhammad Ali to be subject of new Ken Burns documentary


Filmmaker Ken Burns will be one of the producers and directors of a new documentary on legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, scheduled to air in 2021 on PBS.

Burns, along with his daughter Sarah Burns and her husband, David McMahon, began production on the two-part, four-hour documentary for PBS and Florentine Films early last year.

“Muhammad Ali may be the most iconic figure of the 20th century,” Burns said in a statement. “He arrived at exactly the right moment, amidst the tumult and upheaval of the 1960s, and he shaped his times with his powerful voice, mesmerizing presence, and achievements in the ring. But beyond the astonishing athletic gifts and mountain of charisma, there’s a very complex, dynamic man whose life story has yet to receive the comprehensive treatment it deserves.”


Ali died in June 2016 after suffering with Parkinson’s syndrome for many years.

Burns, Burns and McMahon first worked together on 2013’s “The Central Park Five,” a two-hour documentary on the five black and Latino teenagers who were wrongly convicted in the Central Park Jogger case of 1989. Their two-part, four-hour film “Jackie Robinson,” about the celebrated baseball trailblazer and activist, premiered on PBS in 2016. “Muhammad Ali” will be their third collaboration.