Universal acclaim - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28

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Critic Reviews

  1. The result is an often-anguished monologue built on pride, despair and self-defense. Accuracy aside, Tyson does work hard to analyze his own, clearly complex character. So while we only get half the picture, it makes for consistently compelling viewing.
  2. 100
    A documentary with no pretense of objectivity. Here is Mike Tyson's story in his own words, and it is surprisingly persuasive.
  3. Toback has found a documentary subject as tragic and ridiculous, as bizarre and driven, as the heroes of his other films.
  4. 100
    What emerges is a fallen warrior's tale: the inside story of a man bloodied and bowed.
  5. 90
    An extraordinary documentary.
  6. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    By getting Tyson to open up as he has, Toback has succeeded in illuminating one of the most polarizing, complex and -- the film almost forces one to admit -- misunderstood figures of our time.
  7. No filmmaker I know has gotten as close to a professional athlete as James Toback gets to Mike Tyson in his new documentary.
  8. 90
    Tyson is more like a particularly riveting therapy session, with Tyson as both analyst and patient.
  9. 90
    Mr. Toback's film, partly because it restricts itself to Mr. Tyson's point of view, offers a rare and vivid study in the complexity of a single suffering, raging soul. It is not an entirely trustworthy movie, but it does feel profoundly honest.
  10. The result is as gripping as a title fight and as mesmerizing as a conversation with a cobra. You may not be happy with everything said, but you will not be bored.
  11. 88
    You won't know what hit you after watching Tyson. This power punch to the gut is one of the best movies of any kind this year.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Terrifically compelling and, more than that, unexpectedly moving.
  13. 83
    No other sporting figure has ever been afforded so much screen time for self-revelation: just another instance of Iron Mike's one-of-a-kind status.
  14. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    Very humane portrait of a potentially extremely unlikeable character.
  15. 80
    If you’re not really interested in Mike Tyson as a boxer and a person, the film doesn't give you much to go on. This is a movie called Tyson and it is about Mike Tyson – and nothing else.
  16. It's a sympathetic portrait of a complex man driven by an anger that still bubbles beneath the surface.
  17. What's so affecting about him in the film, though, is that he doesn't seem monstrous at all. To the contrary, Iron Mike, having meted out epic suffering in the ring and other venues, seems to be a man who has suffered genuinely, even terribly, in the course of a life that he never believed would last 40 years.
  18. 80
    The resulting portrait shows a seriously troubled man whose brutality was bred into him on the punishing streets of Brooklyn and whose modest wisdom seems as hard-won as any title. Tyson's fight career may be over, but his battle with himself has many rounds to go.
  19. 78
    It's brutal to watch the bigger-they-are-the-harder-they-fall tragedy of this once-great heavyweight. In fact, it's enough to make you cry.
  20. 75
    Ultimately, this may be the closest we'll ever get to understanding how Mike feels about himself, and there's value in viewing that assessment.
  21. 75
    Gives a taste of what it might be like to live inside Mike Tyson's mind.
  22. An absorbing and not-too-uncomfortable experience, so long as you remember there's a camera lens and a big distance between you and the film's violent subject.
  23. 75
    The movie humanizes Tyson and brings him down to the land of mortals, making his achievements loom larger. And if the boxer hasn't entirely made peace with his troubled soul, Tyson suggests the struggle is going his way.
  24. 70
    Tyson does succeed in humanizing a deeply troubled individual who has been depicted as an almost animalistic stereotype of African-American manhood.
  25. 70
    The movie makes it clear that, for all his snarls and outbursts, he is intelligent, candid, and easily wounded; that he is by turns inordinately proud and inordinately ashamed and, above all, intensely curious about himself, as if his own nature were a mystery that had not yet been solved.
  26. The result is flashy, but the meaning is a bit of a bob and weave.
  27. 67
    Tyson can be brutal with himself, but Toback's fawning documentary lets him off easy.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Dec 15, 2011
    It was an interesting movie and it did a good job giving us insight on one of the greatest boxers of all time. Tyson is definently worthIt was an interesting movie and it did a good job giving us insight on one of the greatest boxers of all time. Tyson is definently worth watching if you are a fan of Mike Tyson or boxing in general. Full Review »
  2. j30
    Oct 9, 2011
    A well made documentary about one of the most misunderstood sports figure in history.
  3. Jan 9, 2011
    A powerful, compelling documentary told in Tyson's own words. Excellent cinematography, used mostly to underline the many (and conflicted)A powerful, compelling documentary told in Tyson's own words. Excellent cinematography, used mostly to underline the many (and conflicted) aspects of the film's subject. The film focuses on both the personal and professional life of Tyson, conveying the links between the two with compassion and, at times, humour. This is truly an authentic autobiography, as the fillmmaker (a long-time friend of Tyson) let the boxer tell his own story. Is this the only story of Tyson, or an entirely objective telling of his life? It may not be, but it is highly candid and genuine. It is neither a paean to the greatness of the man at his peak nor a salacious "tell-all" appealing to the gossip crowd. This documentary is a thoughtful meditation on character, excellence, boxing, and an insecure man who has been betrayed countless times. Full Review »