Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

When FALLEN CHAMP first appeared in 1993, director Barbara Kopple won both the Emmy and DGA award, but the film has rarely been screened since then. Now with the upcoming release of James Toback’s film TYSON, the time is right to look back on Kopple’s achievement at covering the subject from multiple perspectives.

Here’s what Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly had to say about the film at the time of its release: FALLEN CHAMP is organized around the central question of Mike Tyson’s life: How, wonders director Barbara Kopple, could the heavyweight-champion boxer, a gifted athlete by any measure, end up wasting the best years of his career in jail, convicted of rape last year at the age of 25? Kopple is an intriguing person to do such wondering. The Academy-Award winning director of 1991’s AMERICAN DREAM, a documentary about the Hormel meat company’s labor strike, she’s no jaded sports journalist or tabloid headline chaser. Her earlier work had demonstrated an understanding of the difficulties of working-class lives pushed into extreme situations, which helps a lot when you are tackling a subject as rough-and-tumble as Tyson.

Part of the Spring 2009 season of the Stranger Than Fiction documentary series.

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