"Pumping Iron," the film that turned the obscure sport of male bodybuilding into an overnight phenomenon and made Arnold Schwarzenegger a star, broke the ground. Now, experience PUMPING ... See full summary »
Hear it staight from the Legends themselves about their stories of success and heartbreak. EVOLUTION OF BODYBUILDING offers a close look at what it takes to compete in the "Mr. Olympia" and... See full summary »
In the iconic age of muscle heroes, Norwegian bodybuilder David Hansen arrives at Venice Beach to pursue his American dream in the mid 1980's. Stallone and Schwarzenegger are the heroes of ... See full summary »
A syndicate wants to buy a whole district to rebuild it. They've bought every house except the small gym "Olympic", where Mr. Austria Joe Santo prepares for the Mr. Universum championships ... See full summary »
From Gold's Gym in Venice Beach California to the showdown in Pretoria, amateur and professional bodybuilders prepare for the 1975 Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe contests in this part-scripted, part-documentary film. Five-time champion Arnold Schwarzenegger defends his Mr. Olympia title against Serge Nubret and the shy young deaf Lou Ferrigno, whose father is his coach; the ruthless champ psyches out the young lion. Sardinian Franco Columbu competes in the lightweight class; at home in Italy he solves a tight parking problem by lifting the car into place. Joe Weider is the marketer; Mike Katz and Ken Waller go for the title of Mr. Universe. Bodybuilding and a celebrity-to-be go mainstream. Written by
This was an extremely well-done "documentary" about men's bodybuilding, and the 1975 Mr. Olympia contest in particular.
The film, of course, features the most famous bodybuilder of all time - Arnold Schwarzenegger. There are also profiles of his handful of competitors, most notably Lou Ferrigno, who gained notoriety by being the green monster in "The Incredible Hulk" TV series.
Anyway, this film really shows the hard work (but not the steroids, by the way), the dedication and the egos of the bodybuilders, particularly Schwarzenegger. Arnold is the defending champion in the field and also has the biggest ego and is pictured as a man obsessed with winning. (To this day, has he ever lost in anything? Like him or not, what this man has accomplished is amazing.)
Ferrigno's story is more about his dad than anything else, a man living out his dreams through his son. However, unlike other driven sports parents (i.e. Jimmy Piersall's father in "Fear Strikes Out"), he gives "Big Louie" nothing but encouragement.
However - please note, because I was fooled for years, too , until the DVD came out - that it turns out that much of the dad's role was made up just for the film, which is why I put "documentary" in quotes. In reality, he had little to do with his son's training, according to a feature on the DVD disc. There is a 25-year reunion with some of the people involved here, and it's very interesting, as they point out what was added for "dramatic effect." (These filmmakers must have inspired Michael Moore).
Also featured in the film were several contestants in another competition, Mr. Universe, which was held at the same venue as the main attraction. In here, we see good guy (Mike Katz) battling bad guy (Ken Waller). Katz was particularly an intriguing study and provides a good example of what motivates many of these guys to build such incredible bodies.
A lot of what these contestants do - and Schwarzenegger was a master at this - was play mind games at these contests, trying to "psych out" their opponents. All of that is pictured.
The physical work, the mental games, the families of these guys, their social life, outlooks on life, and the behind-the-scenes look at a unique sport - all are fascinating. I found it such when I saw it over 25 years ago, and it's still an extremely entertaining film.
35 of 43 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?