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The Wrestler (1974)

PG | | Action, Crime, Drama | February 1974 (USA)
Promoting the world of professional wrestling at the expense of the plot itself, Frank Bass (Ed Asner) takes a stand and defends what he thinks is right. Gamblers, mobsters, unscrupulous ... See full summary »


(as Jim Westman)



On Disc

at Amazon



Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Bass
Verne Gagne ...
Mike Bullard
Billy Robinson ...
Jerry Wade ...
Don Muraco ...
Himself (as Don Moraco)
Lord James Blears ...
Danny Hodge ...
Himself (as Dan Hodge)
Joe Scarpello ...
Dick Afflis ...
Himself (as The Bruiser)
Vincent McMahon ...
Reginald Lisowski ...
The Crusher (as The Crusher)
Dusty Rhodes ...
Ed McDaniel ...
Himself (as Wahoo McDaniels)


Promoting the world of professional wrestling at the expense of the plot itself, Frank Bass (Ed Asner) takes a stand and defends what he thinks is right. Gamblers, mobsters, unscrupulous wrestlers, money-grubbing promoters, and fixers conspire to corrupt the industry, but Frank tries to make the game as honest and fair as it is his idealized vision. Frank's efforts climax as he promotes an over-the-hill champion in the final matches of his career. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Athletes...? Actors...? Assassins...? See more »


Action | Crime | Drama


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

February 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bestione superstar  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The bulk of the cast is made up of wrestlers from the Minneapolis-based American Wrestling Association, which was owned by the film's producer, Verne Gagne. See more »

Crazy Credits

Professional wrestling legend Ric Flair is listed in the credits as "Rick Flair." This was made during the beginning years of Flair's career and he was trained by executive producer/star Verne Gagne. See more »


I See Them
Written by Howard Arthur
Sung by Mona Brandt, Pat McKee
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User Reviews

Some prime nostalgia for Midwestern pro wrestling fans
25 February 2007 | by (Phoenix, Arizona, USA) – See all my reviews

...first off, if you were hoping for a RAGING BULL or REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT about pro wrestling, this picture doesn't even step towards the goal, let alone come close. Ed Asner and Elaine Giftos are fine comic actors, but they're better sampled respectively on any given "Mary Tyler Moore" episode or in GAS-S-S-S. No, this picture is strictly for fans of the Minneapolis-based American Wrestling Association of the late '60s and early '70s. That promotion was owned and largely starred Verne Gagne, who was one of the greatest ring acrobats of all time. Gagne apparently had a commitment in the 1960s from Minneapolis theater owner W.R. Frank to make a theatrical film, essentially using the wrestlers in the AWA (as well as announcers Marty O'Neill and Rod Tronguard) as the main cast. The thing wasn't pulled together until several years after Frank died, even though his name appears on the credits; it's likely that Gagne himself also produced and wrote this movie while only taking the screen credits as executive producer and actor...

...after the movie made the circuit of drive-ins and four-wall theaters in the Upper Midwest towns where the AWA held their house shows, Gagne started claiming he made this movie to prove that wrestlers couldn't act. That was strictly a kayfabe bit to try to keep the marks in the fold, as latter-day wrestlers like Roddy Piper and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson have proved some of them can act up a storm on a movie set. But THE WRESTLER doesn't even give Asner a whole lot to work with, let alone Billy Robinson or Superstar Billy Graham, just to mention two of the top wrestlers in the AWA at the time. But if, like me, you were a fan of the Saturday night mayhem Gagne committed to video screens in '74, all the old ring faces are themselves worth the hour and a half it takes to watch this one...

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