Pumping Iron (1977)

20 Oct

Before Arnold Schwarzenegger became a big action star, he already had a succesful career as a body builder, winning Mr. Olympia five times. In Pumping Iron we see him in 1975 during his final year as a professional body builder where he tries to win the title again. Bodybuilding and fitness wasn’t very popular yet, but director George Butler wanted to show this subculture. With Schwarzenegger as the main focus he had chosen a very interesting person with lots of character, making Pumping Iron a very interesting documentary to watch.

Schwarzenegger isn’t the only body builder that is shown as we also follow one of his main competitors, Lou Ferrigno (who you of course later played The Hulk). Ferrigno is still very young, but together with his father he trains very hard to win the title and beat Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger knows that having a great body isn’t the only thing you need to win this and that when you can put some doubt into the mind of someone else you already have a bigger chance to win. He studied psychology when he was young and it shows in this movie. He is shown as a master of manipulation, casually making remarks against Ferrigno while he is having breakfast together with his parents. It makes for a very entertaining watch.

Schwarzenegger also has some pretty memorable quotes:

Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer.

Serge Nubret: Looks like I can take you.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Heh heh, yeah, keep looking.

I was always dreaming about very powerful people, dictators and things like that. I was just always impressed by people who could be remembered for hundreds of years, or even, like Jesus, be for thousands of years remembered.

Even if you have no interest in body building, Pumping Iron manages to give an entertaining look into the mind of Hollywood’s biggest action stars who has proved that with a lot of determination you can reach any goal you set for yourself. If you haven’t had enough after watching this I suggest to watch Raw Iron, which was made in 2002 and it shows outtakes and interviews with a lot of the people that were in the original.

Score: 8

Trailer:

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