Tyson (1995 film)

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Tyson movie 1995.JPG
Written by Robert Johnson
José Torres (book)
Directed by Uli Edel
Starring George C. Scott
Paul Winfield
Michael Jai White
Theme music composer Stewart Copeland
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) David Blocker
Ross Greenburg (Executive)
Robert F. Phillips (Associate)
Edgar J. Scherick (Executive)
Cinematography Jack Conroy
Editor(s) Seth Flaum
Running time 104 minutes
Distributor HBO
Original network HBO
Original release April 29, 1995 (1995-04-29)

Tyson is a 1995 American television film based on the life of American heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson. Directed by Uli Edel, it is an adaptation of the 1989 book Fire and Fear: The Inside Story of Mike Tyson by José Torres, former boxer and former chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission. The film depicts events from Tyson's troubled childhood in Brooklyn through his conviction in 1992 for the rape of beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington.

The film first aired on HBO on April 29, 1995.


Mike Tyson (Michael Jai White) grows up a troubled youth who shows promise in the boxing ring. Manager and trainer Cus D'Amato (George C. Scott) begins turning the young Tyson into an undefeated fighter. However, Tyson is a difficult pupil who often gets into trouble and slacks on his training.

D'Amato surrounds Tyson with a group of trusted people, including managers Jimmy Jacobs (Tony Lo Bianco), Bill Cayton (James Sikking) and trainer Kevin Rooney (Clark Gregg). D'Amato tells Tyson that if he keeps good people nearby they can keep him out of trouble.

Tyson rises through the ranks, but is heartbroken when D'Amato's health deteriorates and he dies. Jacobs takes over as Tyson's manager. In 1986, Tyson takes part in the Trevor Berbick vs. Mike Tyson match in Las Vegas at the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship. At age 20, Tyson wins and becomes the youngest champion ever. In 1987 the Mike Tyson vs. Tony Tucker match takes place, which Tyson wins and he keeps his title.

Tyson marries his pregnant girlfriend, actress Robin Givens (Kristen Wilson). However, the happy event is followed by the sad news of Jacobs' death due to leukemia. Clayton takes on the job of managing Tyson. Don King (Paul Winfield) approaches Tyson with an offer to manage his career. Tyson declines, but King is brought on as his new promoter instead. A battle of words flies between King, Givens and Clayton in the media as they accuse one another of swindling Tyson.

When Robin suffers a miscarriage, Tyson slacks on his training. This causes Rooney, in a fit of frustration, to tell him that Robin was never pregnant to begin with. Tyson is livid at the accusation and knocks out two of his training fighters.

During the 1988 Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks match, Cayton learns that he's been fired. Tyson defeats Spinks and everyone, except Cayton and Rooney, are elated.

Robin tells the press that Tyson is emotionally unstable and abusive. She moves out and files for divorce.

In Tokyo, on February 11, 1990, the Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas match takes place. Tyson fights hard, but his team is poorly organized and lacks basic supplies. The match ends with Douglas knocking Tyson down and him failing to get up.

In 1991, Tyson is brought to trial for raping beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington. He is convicted of rape and criminally deviant conduct, and sentenced to six years in the Indiana Youth Center. Rooney files a suit against Tyson for civil damages. Upon release in 1995, Tyson announces he'll attempt a comeback. King remains his promoter, but is scheduled to strand trial for insurance fraud.


Awards and nominations[edit]

Tyson was nominated for the 1996 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. However, the award was given to another HBO film, The Tuskegee Airmen.

Video releases[edit]

Tyson was released on VHS on January 13, 1998. A DVD release followed years later, on June 16, 2008.

External links[edit]