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Bigger, Stronger, Faster* (2008)


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 76
Fresh: 73 | Rotten: 3

Critics Consensus: Bigger, Stronger, Faster* is a fascinating, informative, entertaining and especially introspective account of the American 'enhancement' culture.

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: Bigger, Stronger, Faster* is a fascinating, informative, entertaining and especially introspective account of the American 'enhancement' culture.


Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 105,857


Movie Info

In the hopes of exploring American culture's increased obsession with winning, documentary filmmaker Christopher Bell examines the anabolic steroid use of his two brothers. After setting the stage with a look at the cultural backdrop of the 1980s -- in which hulky stars like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were the ideal -- Bell illustrates how he and his brothers became involved in the bodybuilding subculture, eventually discovering the brutal truth that success in the lifestyle of … More

PG-13 (for thematic material involving drugs, language, some sexual content and violent images)
Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
Christopher Bell , Alexander Buono , Tamsin Rawady
In Theaters:
Sep 30, 2008
Box Office:
Magnolia - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Bigger, Stronger, Faster*

All Critics (77) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (73) | Rotten (3) | DVD (2)

A thoughtful, informative and thoroughly entertaining examination of the role of performance-enhancing drugs in modern life.

Full Review… | July 24, 2008
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

A lively and incisive look into the nation's growing preoccupation with pumped-up superlatives.

June 23, 2008
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Unexpectedly funny [and] sometimes angry.

Full Review… | June 20, 2008
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Smart, touching and enlightening, a combination that makes Bigger, Stronger, Faster the best documentary of the year so far.

Full Review… | June 13, 2008
Detroit News
Top Critic

By making this journey personal, a powerful vulnerability permeates the film.

Full Review… | June 13, 2008
Denver Post
Top Critic

It'll shake up your beliefs not just about steroids but about competition, hypocrisy, body obsession and American notions of masculinity.

Full Review… | June 9, 2008
Top Critic

Their mistakes are our entertainment.

Full Review… | August 15, 2011
East Bay Express

A dangerous side effect of being a 'true' American.

Full Review… | December 29, 2010

It raises big, intriguing questions that rarely, if ever, come up in the hubbub about steroid use in professional athletics, particularly Major League Baseball.

Full Review… | July 1, 2009
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

Chris Bell's very personal documentary, tracking how steroid use influenced his body building family's game, health and interpersonal relationships, is neither an apology nor a hard-lined expose about doping.

Full Review… | May 26, 2009

If steroids were outlawed, only outlaws would have steroids

Full Review… | April 21, 2009
Movie Habit

This is one of the best documentary films of 2008, along with 'Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father.'

Full Review… | January 29, 2009
Laramie Movie Scope

Though somewhat repetitive and clunky, Chris Bell's Bigger Stronger Faster deserves credit for presenting a fairly evenhanded examination of steroids & their threat to the integrity of the country's sports industry.

Full Review… | November 25, 2008
Film and Felt

A matter-of-fact funny and clever in-depth look at steroid use in modern-day America.

Full Review… | November 24, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A wide-ranging look at the use of performance-enhancing drugs in America

Full Review… | September 19, 2008

Pessoal como Moore (incluindo um momento Roger and Me com Schwarzenegger) e auto-referencial como Spurlock (mas mais honesto), Bell cria um filme que levanta questões realmente relevantes sobre a caça às bruxas relativa ao uso de esteróides.

August 25, 2008
Cinema em Cena

Like many of the best documentaries, [it] doesn't take us exactly where we expect to go.

Full Review… | August 13, 2008
Creative Loafing

Bell's film is in need of an unbiased editor, but his conclusion that the use of steroids is rooted in a poisonous American belief that bigger is inherently better and second best is just first among losers is compelling.

Full Review… | August 8, 2008
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Giving his film real emotional kick are the personal stories of Mad Dog and Stinky, two average guys chasing a media-fed dream that will only result in disappointment.

July 25, 2008
Kansas City Star

An an insider, Bell's work here is comprehensive to the point of over-saturation, but it's all so alien and interesting that it doesn't bog down.

Full Review… | July 25, 2008

It may or may not change your opinion of how we should treat steroids in America, but it will at least give you greater sympathy for people who use them.

Full Review… | July 24, 2008
Las Vegas Weekly

The fault is not in our steroids, but in ourselves.

Full Review… | July 16, 2008

...goes from poignant to amusing to tiresome...

Full Review… | July 4, 2008
Sacramento News & Review

The unique point of view -- from a guy who used to take steroids and has two brothers who still do -- is the reason to see this.

Full Review… | July 1, 2008

Bell makes some good points about the dark side of the American dream, but much of his argument about steroids is muddled.

June 27, 2008
Salt Lake Tribune

Audience Reviews for Bigger, Stronger, Faster*


I believe that Bigger, Stronger, Faster is an overrated documentary. What is it telling us that we don't know? Absolutely nothing. We know how Anabolic Steroids affect the body and we know that people who use a drug will say it has no harmful affect on them. If you take an extreme amount of any type of drug it will cause health risks and steroids are no different. No drug is completely safe and all these bodybuilders telling us it's not hurting them are full of shit.

As for the documentary; it's technically well made. I was entertained by the first half, but it just kept saying the same things over and over and over. The filmmaker doesn't take a side on the issue and that's what saves this documentary for me. With that said the documentary also comes off as unfocused. At times it seems like, hey steroids aren't that bad. Then the next second, steroids are awful and can kill you.

To me the brothers and the filmmaker both cop out and blame America for the use of steroids. It's competition that drives them to take steroids. Well you could have an inkling of a backbone and take a stand against it. Growing up, I had posters of Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa. I cheered as Barry Bonds approached Hanks record. Now when I see those faces it makes me sick. Bonds says to the media, you lie too. So I guess that makes it ok that he cheated to become the best. That's how I feel this documentary comes across. It's ok that athletes are cheating to be the best because everyone lies and cheats. We live in America and this is just a side of effect of that. That's bullshit and this documentary comes off as bullshit to me.

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Eye opening documentary on steroid use here in America. Really examines the good and bad from it in a very entertaining fashion. Definately worth a watch for just about anybody.

Everett Johnson
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer

A good muscled look at the taboo of steroid use and the biggorexic pressures on modern American men. Film-maker is in an ideal situation for doing this project, with two brothers who have used steroids and the film-maker himself having only dabbled with them once and his whole life struggled with the decision of whether or not to plunge in. I think this is just as revealing about widespread cultural hypocrisy as Grass, The Union, Bowling for Columbine, and the works of The Yes Men.

_kelly .King

Super Reviewer

An great doc that shows us how America's need for being the best changes the way people alter themselves.

James Alvarez

Super Reviewer

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