Tyson (1995 film)

Tyson is a 1995 American television film based on the life of American heavyweight boxer Iron Mike Tyson. Directed by Uli Edel, it stars Michael Jai White as Tyson alongside George C. Scott as Cus D'Amato and Paul Winfield as Don King. The film is an adaptation of the 1989 book Fire and Fear: The Inside Story of Iron Mike Tyson by José Torres, a former boxer and former chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, and depicts events from Tyson's troubled childhood in Brooklyn through his conviction in 1992 for the rape of beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington.[1][2][3]

Tyson movie 1995.JPG
Written byRobert Johnson
José Torres (book)
Directed byUli Edel
StarringGeorge C. Scott
Paul Winfield
Michael Jai White
Theme music composerStewart Copeland
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Ross Greenburg
Edgar J. Scherick
Producer(s)David Blocker
Production location(s)Los Angeles
CinematographyJack Conroy
Editor(s)Seth Flaum
Running time104 minutes
Production company(s)HBO Pictures
Original networkHBO
Picture formatColor
Audio formatStereo
Original release
  • April 29, 1995 (1995-04-29)

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


Mike Tyson grows up a troubled youth, who vows to be a professional boxer in the future. Manager and trainer Cus D'Amato begins turning the young Tyson into an undefeated fighter. However, Tyson becomes a difficult pupil who is often exposed, and slacks off during his training.

D'Amato surrounds Tyson with a group of trusted people, including managers Jimmy Jacobs, Bill Cayton, and trainer Kevin Rooney. D'Amato tells Tyson that as long as he keeps good people nearby, they can keep him out of trouble.

Tyson quickly rises through the ranks, but becomes devastated when D'Amato's health deteriorates, and he dies. Jacobs then takes over as Tyson's manager. In 1986, Tyson takes part in the match against Trevor Berbick in Las Vegas at the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship. At twenty years of age, Tyson wins, and becomes the youngest champion ever. In 1987, the match against Tony Tucker takes place, which Tyson wins, and he retains his title.

Tyson marries his pregnant girlfriend, actress Robin Givens. However, the happy event is followed by the sad news of Jacobs' death due to leukemia. Cayton takes on the job of managing Tyson. Don King 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 Cayton in the media, as they accuse one another of swindling Tyson.

When Robin suffers a miscarriage, Tyson slacks off during his training again. 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.

In 1988, the match against Michael Spinks takes place. Before the match, Cayton learns that he's been fired. Tyson defeats Spinks and everyone becomes elated, except for Cayton and Rooney.

Meanwhile, police arrive at the home where Robin lives, where Tyson is throwing a temper tantrum, and storms out. Robin tells the press that Tyson has become emotionally unstable and abusive. She moves out and files for divorce.

In Tokyo, on February 11, 1990, the match against Buster Douglas takes place. Tyson fights hard, but his team is poorly organized, and lacks the proper 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 will attempt a comeback. King remains his promoter, but is scheduled to strand trial for insurance fraud.


Awards and nominationsEdit

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


The movie received mixed reviews from critics.[4][5]

Video releasesEdit

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


  1. ^ Nidetz, Steve. "DEPRESSING ACCOUNT OF TYSON IN HBO FILM". ChicagoTribune.com. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  2. ^ "TYSON MOVIE CAST SET BY HBO". Greensboro News and Record. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  3. ^ TYSON HITS, GETS HIT IN HBO FILM - The Washington Post
  4. ^ Sandomir, Richard (18 April 1995). "TV SPORTS; The Critics All Agree, Tyson Won't Like It". Retrieved 18 February 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  5. ^ Carman, John (27 April 1995). "HBO's `Tyson' Is a Losing Bout / Few insights in depressing drama". SFGate. Retrieved 18 February 2019.

External linksEdit