for those comic fans like me the arrival of Samuel L. Jackson at the end of this summer's Iron Man movie was nerd-tastic [jks]. Jackson was face of Ultimate Nick Fury when Marvel relaunched the Avengers in the Ultimate Universe. Which is geek speak, but as long as you know that having Samuel L. Jackson show up wearing the eye patch was very cool you'll be alright.
When Marvel redesigned Nick Fury for their new Ultimate line they wanted someone who was the height of cool, and in the early 2000s that was Samuel L. Jackson. Nick Fury though has traditionally been a white guy with greying hair. Originally he was one of Marvel's war characters that were created during the Second World War to fight the Nazis in comics while the soldiers were fighting the Nazis in Europe. With the end of one war and the start of a Cold War he became a James Bond like spy and sort of the super cop for the Marvel Universe.
Though he's had his own book, he's mostly a supporting characater showing up in other people's books, so the fact that there had never been a movie about him did not surprise me. One would not expect there to be a Robin movie, nor an Alfred the Butler movie no matter how popular Batman got.
However there was in fact a movie in 1998, written by David Goyer whose most well known for writing Batman Begins and Batman: The Dark Knight. The most likely filmed in Toronto or Vancouver made-for-TV movie is based on the original Nick Fury and not the more recent revamp and it stars... wait for it.... wait for it... David Hasselhoff [wp]. Aren't you glad you waited for it. The two clips below are a study of the different movie Nick Furys. And boy am I glad Hasselhoff wasn't cast in Iron Man.