HE TOOK ON THE FBI, THE IRS, JUDGES, JURIES AND THE MOB. FIGHT AFTER FIGHT, HE WAS ALWAYS LEFT STANDING.
This TV movie about Don King, the most famous boxing promoter in the world, is blessed with first-hand comments from the colorful cigar aficionado himself as portrayed by Ving Rhames; standing in a boxing ring, he guides us through the story. We don’t really know what ingredients in King’s life and career to believe, but it doesn’t matter because the truth is not the point. We get to see his rise as the first black promoter, the coaching of world champions Ali, Foreman, Holmes and Tyson, the circumstances surrounding the “Rumble in the Jungle” and the origins of one hair-raising haircut… Fascinating to follow; Rhames is outstanding as the goal-oriented King.
1997-U.S. Made for TV. 121 min. Color. Produced by David Blocker. Directed by John Herzfeld. Teleplay: Kario Salem. Book: Jack Newfield. Cast: Ving Rhames (Don King), Vondie Curtis Hall (Lloyd Price), Keith David (Herbert Muhammad), Jeremy Piven, Loretta Devine, Lou Rawls.
Emmys: Outstanding Made for Television Movie, Writing. Golden Globe: Best Actor (Rhames).
Last word: “HBO is a great place to make movies not by accident. They even let me put in the line where Don turns to the camera and says ‘This movie is bullshit, it’s HBO’s revenge on me for taking Tyson to Showtime.’ After we won the Emmy and other awards, Ving told me that Don called him to tell him how much he enjoyed his performance. Ving was brilliant.” (Herzfeld, interview with Jeff Pearlman)