After graduating from Harvard, Toback worked as a journalist. An assignment from Esquire on football player Jim Brown led to collaboration on Jim: The Author's Self-Centered Memoir of the Great Jim Brown.
In 1974, Toback's screenplay The Gambler was produced, and his directorial debut was with the 1978 film Fingers. It was remade twenty-eight years later as The Beat That My Heart Skipped. It is currently the only original American movie ever to be remade as a French film. Toback followed Fingers with Love and Money in 1982. (1982). Toback wrote and directed Exposed in 1983, and in 1989, Toback directed the documentary The Big Bang.
Toback wrote the original screenplay for Bugsy, which won the Golden Globe for Best Picture and was nominated for ten Academy Awards. Toback won the Los Angeles Film Critics' Award for Best Original Screenplay and a similar award from the readers of Premiere Magazine.
In 1997, Toback wrote and directed the comedy Two Girls and a Guy, and in 2000, he wrote and directed Black and White in collaboration with members of Wu-Tang Clan. He then wrote and directed Harvard Man starring Adrien Grenier in 2002. In 2003, Toback wrote and directed When Will I Be Loved and in 2007, Toback directed Tyson, a documentary about boxer Mike Tyson.
The 2006 documentary The Outsider is about Toback and his work.
Film: Interview James Toback - the Taming of Tyson; Director James Toback Got Mike Tyson to Star in His Improvised Hip Hop Film, Then Sat Back and Let the Sparks Fly
Nov 24, 2000; Byline: JESSICA MELLOR The name James Toback might not be very familiar to British cinemagoers, but he'll now be known as the man...
NOT AS SIMPLE AS `BLACK AND WHITE' JAMES TOBACK'S LATEST DRAMA UNFOLDS AS SUBURBAN WANNABES CROSS OVER INTO THE WORLD OF HIP-HOP
Apr 02, 2000; It's a concept as old as the young Elvis, as timeless as Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally," as fashionable as the FUBU shirts...