17 user 3 critic

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 »


James A. Westman (as Jim Westman)


Eugene Gump




Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Asner ... Frank Bass
Elaine Giftos ... Debbie
Verne Gagne Verne Gagne ... Mike Bullard
Billy Robinson Billy Robinson ... Billy Taylor
Jerry Wade Jerry Wade ... Self
Don Muraco ... Self (as Don Moraco)
Lord James Blears Lord James Blears ... Self
Danny Hodge ... Self (as Dan Hodge)
Joe Scarpello Joe Scarpello ... Self
Dick Afflis Dick Afflis ... Self (as The Bruiser)
Dan Gable ... Self
Vincent McMahon Vincent McMahon ... Self
Reginald Lisowski Reginald Lisowski ... The Crusher (as The Crusher)
Dusty Rhodes ... Self
Ed McDaniel ... Self (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 | Sport


PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Verne Gagne's character, loosely based on himself, is portrayed as an aging Champion. Verne was in his 9th AWA World Heavyweight Title reign at this time in real life, which ended when Nick Bockwinkel defeated him on November 8, 1975. On November 13, 1979, Verne defeated Rusher Kimura for the IWE (International Wrestling Enterprise in Japan) IWA World Heavyweight Title in Niigata, Japan and dropped it back to Kimura three days later. He and Mad Dog Vachon (Maurice Vachon) defeated Pat Patterson and Ray Stevens for the AWA World Tag Team Titles on June 6, 1979 (Verne's fourth and second with Vachon; his other reigns were with Moose Evans and with Billy Robinson). On July 20, 1980, The East-West Connection (Adrian Adonis and Jesse Ventura) won the titles by forfeit because Verne had gone on vacation. Ten days earlier, Verne defeated Bockwinkel for his tenth and final AWA World Heavyweight Title reign and retired as Champion on May 19, 1981, with the belt being awarded to Bockwinkel. Despite this, he returned to the ring five months later in a win over Dick Slater on Night 2 of Southwest Championship Wrestling's Houston Wrestling Gold Cup Tournament on October 31st. He would return to the ring several more times, finally having his last match on June 29, 1986, teaming with his son Greg Gagne and Jimmy Snuka in a win over The Sheik's Army (Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie (Adnan Al-Kaissy), Boris Zhukov and Nord The Barbarian (John Nord)). 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
See more »

User Reviews

A look into the legend & legacy of professional wrestling
7 May 2003 | by kamnetSee all my reviews

Quite simply, this movie should be remembered as a pure piece of Americana at its finest. In 1973 wrestling promoter Verne Gagne took some of the best wrestlers in the pro wrestling world and got them to make a movie about pro wrestling. The movie, 30 years in retrospect, looks more like a cheeky documentary produced in the classic "kayfabe" style (the traditional promotion of wrestling as a sport, cloaked in mystique and tradition).

The wrestling talent is pure, raw and unadulterated - featuring stars such as Dick the Bruiser, the Crusher, Nick Bockwinkle, Ric Flair, Dory Funk Jr, and "Dirty" Dick Murdoch, Dusty Rhodes and many others - all young and in just starting to hit their peaks. And in a rare appearance, Vincent J. McMahon, the progenitor of the now popular WWF/WWE - promoting pro wrestling in the old style, before the glitz, glamor and entertainment hoopla surrounding it. Verne Gagne himself also appears in this movie as one of its main stars, putting himself over the competition in his typical egotistical, yet entertaining, style.

But this movie isn't all wrestling. There's a good story to be told here, essentially giving the viewer the feel as if they've cut right into the middle of a traditional wrestling program. There is no real start or ending to this story, but it is another chapter in the daily struggle of faces and heels.

Ed Asner is the main star here, his acting ability along with his middle-age looks are a perfect fit for the character, he really does look like a wrestling promoter trying to keep his business together and defending it from the outside corrupting influences of a local mobster (played by legendary wrestler & commentator "Slammin'" Sam Menacker).

There is no comparison to any other wrestling movie made, this one is definitely the undisputed heavyweight champion!

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Release Date:

February 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wrestler: The Main Event See more »

Filming Locations:

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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