Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

Tyson 2008

Directed by James Toback

Frank portrait of disgraced heavyweight champion. “A hard-won perspective on a hard-fought life, in a movie that’s a contender for best sports documentary, heavyweight class.” — Time

USA In English
88 minutes 35mm



James Toback
Damon Bingham


Larry McConkey


Aaron Yanes


Salaam Remi


Mike Tyson


Cannes (Un Certain Regard), London 2008; Sundance, San Francisco 2009


Mike Tyson's early record was extraordinary. At 20 in 1985 he was heavyweight champion of the world, a feared, worshipped, highly profitable icon of pugilistic brutality and speed. His fall from the throne was spectacular. A rape conviction in 1992 saw him serve three years in prison. On release his vicious comeback match with Evander Holyfield cemented his disgrace. Utilising fight clips, archival news and blazingly frank new interviews with Tyson himself, director James Toback throws new light on his successes and excesses and his current bid to find something resembling inner peace. — BG

Tyson is a documentary... but it is a heart song, too, as Tyson talks about a life of near constant abuse and humiliation. And as he talks, so his innate violence becomes clearer. Tyson is not an apology or an apologia, but a piercing insight into how our society creates its villains and then despises them for behaving badly. Whatever you think of Mike Tyson now... we guarantee your mind will be changed.” — David Thomson, San Francisco Film Festival