Beyond the Mat (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

Beyond the Mat (1999)



Critic Consensus: Even if you aren't a fan, Beyond the Mat provides a riveting, perceptive look into the world of professional wrestling by taking a closer look at the people beneath the personas.

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Movie Info

The carnival world of wrestling is explored through the portraits of three men who are at the end points of their dangerous and unpredictable careers: Terry Funk, a renowned Texas champ who is 53 and has been wrestling for 32 years, Jake "the Snake" Roberts, a wrestler on the skids who attributes his downfall to a crack cocaine addiction and a horrible childhood; and Mick Foley, a devoted father and husband who thinks it would be wise to quit for the sake of his family, but will have trouble letting go.more
Rating: R (for language and violent content)
Genre: Documentary, Sports & Fitness, Special Interest
Directed By: ,
Written By: Barry W. Blaustein
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 22, 2000
Lions Gate Films - Official Site

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Barry W. Blaustein
as Interviewer
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Critic Reviews for Beyond the Mat

All Critics (69) | Top Critics (19)

Documentaries are almost always more interesting if the filmmakers fess up about their relationship to the subject, as unabashed pro-wrestling fan Barry Blaustein does in this naively made, compelling homage to the sport.

Full Review… | March 23, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A gently and genuinely observed film whose subject is a garish, artificial display of mayhem.

Full Review… | March 23, 2007
Top Critic

We tour the All-Pro Wrestling School in California and Philadelphia's fearsome Extreme Championships, but it's the studies Blaustein makes of several wrestlers that root the film.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Entertaining and twisted.

Full Review… | March 19, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Funny and touching documentary.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Seattle Times
Top Critic

So tired and dated.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Beyond the Mat

A gritty and interesting look at life behind the wrestling scenes.

Lafe Fredbjornson

Super Reviewer


Adult professional wrestling fans aren't stupid, we know wrestling is fake and the outcomes are pre-determined. What none fans don't realize is why we like it. It's the drama, the pageantry, the cheesy stories, the costumes, and most of all the action. Yes, it's pre-determined and choreographed, but you still need to be charismatic and athletic, and night after night these guys put their bodies on the line just for our entertainment. People have been killed and paralyzed doing this, so to anyone who says it's not real and takes no skill, I point to this documentary. Beyond The Mat looks into the lives of these guys outside the ring and show the ancient Terry Funk, whose body has been ravaged from years in the ring. He can barely walk anymore, but still has to get in there and has to do this because it's all he knows and what he loves. Jake "The Snake" Roberts is also featured and he talks about how eight years on the road with WWE and how it made him a neglectful father, a bad husband, and a drug addict. Roberts says between the pain and the constant moving around he could never have done it without drugs! Finally, they look at Mick Foley AKA Mankind, Dude Love, Cactus Jack and show how he's this normal family man and while his family knows it's for show, how much they worry. In the last 30 years, hundreds of pro-wrestlers have died under the age of 45, most of them due to the physical trauma they've put their bodies through or the dependence on drugs that has resulted from it. If those were NFL or MLB stars instead, there would be massive reform and congressional intervention, but the truth is no one cares about these guys, except of course their families, friends, and fans. Beyond The Mat is important because it shows just what these guys put on the line and just how little the people at the top care.

Todd Smith

Super Reviewer

The best documentary that I have ever seen on professional wrestling. Those who were fans of the sport in the 80s will be appalled at the current state of the wrestlers of that era.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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