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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)



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Bass
Verne Gagne ...
Mike Bullard
Billy Robinson ...
Billy Taylor
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

Must-see for all old school wrestling fans.
11 July 2003 | by See all my reviews

As a long time wrestling fan, I've always heard about The Wrestler, but I'd never seen it before today. I saw it in a discount store for $5 and figured what the hell, take a chance. It's not a bad film considering the era it was made in and who the stars are, but to anyone who follows wrestling or knows the behind the scenes info, it's quite amusing.

The character of Verne Gagne as almost-over-the-hill champ Mike Ballard is an ironic figure when you consider that while he was still in good shape as the movie showed, the real Verne Gagne was indeed in the same boat as Mike Ballard. The irony comes in when one considers that Verne was not only the World Champ of the AWA, he was also the promoter. His unwillingness to put over (lose to) an up and coming challenger left his AWA title somewhat of a joke as no one really got a chance until Verne retired in 1981. By then it was too late to salvage the damage done by having a balding, aging, old timer as champ in a era dominated by youth as the AWA was basically dead in the water in 1988 before offically closing shop in 1990.

As far as the movie goes, it's actually not as bad as you would think a film with nearly an entire cast of wrestlers would be. Luckily for the viewer Verne chose guys like Billy Robinson, Dusty Rhodes, and Lord James Blears to have the main roles since they have enough personality to distract the audience from the fact that its a movie full of mainly non actors.

All in all its a great movie for wrestling fans, and even if you aren't a fan it's still not a terrible flick.

Just try to not laugh too hard when you watch the movie and you consider that Verne Gagne is the guy who let Hulk Hogan sign with the WWF since he didn't think he had a future in the wrestling biz.

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