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The Wrestler
IMDB Rating: 6.0/10 from 142 votes
Release: February 1974 (USA) /

The Wrestler

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Director: James A. Westman,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: 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

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Critic 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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