Don King: Only in America [1997]

Made for HBO, this film biography of boxing promoter Don King is solid entertainment, thanks to a startlingly real performance at its core by Ving Rhames (who won a Golden Globe award for the role, then gave it away to Jack Lemmon on the TV broadcast). Rhames has the shuck-and-jive, but also the canny intelligence, as the film follows King from small-time numbers runner and concert promoter to ex-con to self-created fight mogul. The movie, based on a book by Jack Newfield, doesn't pull punches in outlining King's extralegal shenanigans and strong-arm tactics, bracketed by a device of having King address the audience from a boxing ring as he introduces episodes from his life. That could have gotten old, but not with the foxy, insinuating Rhames doing the talking. --Marshall Fine

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