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Pumping Iron

Pumping Iron (1976)



Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 23
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 1

In addition to offering an enlightening early look into the world of future star/politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pumping Iron provides a witty and insightful overview of competitive bodybuilding.


Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

In addition to offering an enlightening early look into the world of future star/politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pumping Iron provides a witty and insightful overview of competitive bodybuilding.



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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 9,279

My Rating

Movie Info

Arnold Schwarzenegger gained his first real notoriety outside body-building circles with this documentary about a group of men training for the Mr. Olympia contest. Arnold had already won the title six times before, and was training for his seventh victory before retiring to fully pursue his acting career (which began to catch fire with his likable turn in Stay Hungry, released the same year) when this was shot. Here he displays an easy charm and wicked sense of humor as he plays mind games with

Nov 11, 2003

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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (1) | DVD (13)

A very good film, beautifully shot and edited, intelligently structured and -- to risk what will surely seem at first a highly inappropriate term -- charming.

August 3, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The most fascinating aspect of this film is the dedicated training that turns average-built young men (frequently they refer to themselves as weaklings in their early youth) into superbly-created physical edifices.

March 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie is a very shrewd mixture of documentary and realistic fiction, put together with both eyes and ears on entertainment value.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An interesting, rather slick and excessively long documentary about the small but intensely competitive world of body-building.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Its in-your-face images of the bodybuilding subculture's well-oiled narcissism both startled and fascinated viewers, making for an unlikely boxoffice hit.

January 6, 2004
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pumping iron is as satisfying as having sex with a woman and reaching orgasm, says Arnold Schwarzenegger in this fascinating1977 documentary

March 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Arnold's "reality" debut

April 6, 2007
Atlantic City Weekly

Fascinating stuff when viewed in the context of Arnie's now notorious political career.

March 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Directors George Butler and Robert Fiore never allow their film to turn into a freak show, but neither do they illuminate the appeal of body building, either to those who participate or those who watch.

March 14, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Sort of entertaining. Arnold is a prophet.

August 24, 2005
Juicy Cerebellum

A rather amateurish, rough-around-the-edges affair.

May 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness | Comments (5)
Lessons of Darkness

Young kids may dream of bulking easily with steroids, but this film graphically shows that it takes a helluva lot of work ... to step on stage with these guys

March 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

This is a short and sweet docu-drama for anyone interested in the field of bodybuilding, as well as the art of psyching out your opponents.

February 5, 2005 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Durable documentary starring future Gov. Arnold.

October 25, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

An entertaining and intimate look body building and its devoted personalities. Pumping Iron has muscle and might in all the right witty places

June 24, 2004

It's a living, breathing freakshow in Pumping Iron.

March 4, 2004 Full Review Source:

Superior documentary filmmaking

January 30, 2004
Lawrence Journal-World

Delivers a quirky meditation on body-building as an odd mixture of pain and narcisstic pleasure.

January 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

An extremely well-made film, delving into the lives of the competitors with wit and insight

January 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

An enlightening documentary bolstered by what still ranks as one of Schwarznegger's most memorable screen appearances -- playing himself.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for Pumping Iron

Pumping Iron is the classic documentary about the sport of body building and follows Arnold Schwarzenegger as he competes for the title of Mr. Olympia. Aside from Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno is competing against him, and is one of the biggest body builders in the 1975 competition. Pumping Iron is a compelling film, one that documents an interesting sport. Nowadays, Mr. Olympia is different, but back in the 1970's, you can clearly see the sport for what it was, a pure expression of trying to craft a muscular physique. Now, bodybuilders seem to push boundaries that are absolutely insane, almost abnormal. With Pumping Iron, which follows the 1975 Mr. Olympia competition, you see bodybuilders with a more natural looking muscle build. I really enjoyed the film, and thought it was a fine documentary that chronicled this interesting sport. For fans of the sport, this is a must see, and it definitely gives you an insight behind the scenes as to how body builders prepare for the event. The star of the film is of course Arnold Schwarzenegger and he really steals the show here. I really enjoyed the film, and thought it was a fine documentary on this interesting sport. If you hold an interest in the sport, or are interested in the subject, Pumping Iron is an engaging film that follows song of Bodybuilding most important contenders of the 1975 season. This is a well thought out film, one that definitely shows us an aspect of the sport that we rarely see. Fans will enjoy this one, and it also might be a worthwhile viewing for non body building fans as well simply for the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger is in it.
April 9, 2014
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Whoooo yes sir.
September 27, 2008
Lenny Muggsy

Super Reviewer

Docu-drama about bodybuilders featuring a very young arnie. Sound entertaining? Thought not...
January 5, 2007
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Part documentary, part mockumentary the film manags to both portray the (then) underground bodybuilding culture of the 1970s and slyly mock it.

Smarter than it is given credit for, though that is hardly saying much.

Arnold is, surprisingly, not much of a stickler for form...
June 15, 2010
Eduardo C

Super Reviewer

    1. Himself: Milk is fo babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer.
    – Submitted by Timofey P (7 months ago)
    1. Himself: It's as satisfying to me as coming is. You know, as having sex with a woman and coming. So, can you believe how much I am in heaven?
    – Submitted by Kos G (3 years ago)
    1. Himself: Franco is pretty smart, but Franco is a child. And, when it comes to the day of the contest, I am his father. He comes to me for advices. So, it's not that hard for me to give him the wrong advices.
    – Submitted by Kos G (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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