Andre the Giant Reviews

  • Dec 04, 2020

    Andre The Giant is a perfect documentary that focuses on the life and career of Andre The Giant. I love everything from the people who were interviewed to the footage from WWE and other wrestling companies. I never saw a good documentary that really touches the themes of being different and becoming who you are no matter what you are. Overall, this HBO documentary really touches Andre The Giant on a high note.

    Andre The Giant is a perfect documentary that focuses on the life and career of Andre The Giant. I love everything from the people who were interviewed to the footage from WWE and other wrestling companies. I never saw a good documentary that really touches the themes of being different and becoming who you are no matter what you are. Overall, this HBO documentary really touches Andre The Giant on a high note.

  • Sep 06, 2020

    I wasnt alive when Andre was but watching the princess bride as a kid, and watching his wrestling highlights was amazing! same with this documentary about his life was just amazing. He truly was a tough guy but also had a heart of gold

    I wasnt alive when Andre was but watching the princess bride as a kid, and watching his wrestling highlights was amazing! same with this documentary about his life was just amazing. He truly was a tough guy but also had a heart of gold

  • Sep 22, 2019

    A fitting tribute to a man who was genuinely one of a kind On March 29, 1987, the most significant pro-wrestling match of all time took place at WrestleMania III in the Pontiac Silverdome, in front of 93,173 fans, as Hulk Hogan (the greatest of all time then and the greatest of all time now) defended his title against former best friend, André the Giant. It's not the greatest contest of all time; for a WrestleMania main event, it's very short (12 minutes), with Hogan extremely restricted as to what he could do with André, whose mobility was severely compromised and who was in immense pain due to acromegaly. But it didn't matter, because the match culminated with Hogan doing the impossible and slamming André. Which brings us to Jason Hehir's excellent documentary, the emotional high-point of which is that match. Sure, it's not always successful in its attempts to separate the man from the myth, often falling back on the very mythological elements it's trying to sidestep, and it's neither as insightful nor as objective as one might wish. However, it's respectful, informed, and entertaining, avoiding hagiography, and featuring some superb archival footage. Choosing to forego a narrator, and using only archival footage and talking-head interviews, Hehir allows the interviewees to tell the story. During pre-production, he and producer Bill Simmons decided to include only material which had been directly witnessed; there was to be nothing anecdotal; "we were only going to have first-person accounts. So, if someone said, "I heard André drank 156 beers," well, were you there? If you weren't, it's not gonna make it in. But when Ric Flair says "he drank 106 beers in front of me", that makes it in." This affords the documentary a sense of personalised intimacy – every interviewee is talking about things they saw rather than things about which they heard – which works towards Hehir's mission statement of depicting the man rather than the myth. In this respect, one of the most important sections is the disappointingly brief depiction of his time in his adopted home of Ellerbe, NC, which is where Hehir is most successful in dividing the man from the mythos. André loved living there because he could be himself and because he was left alone – he could be a regular citizen. This comes in the middle of a section about how logistically difficult André's life was (as Flair points out, he couldn't put on a disguise and stroll around New York, and as Hogan explains, everything was too small for him, rendering mundane tasks such as eating in a restaurant hugely difficult). The Ellerbe section is one of the most low-key, moving, and human parts of the documentary, and it's the only part where hyperbole seems entirely absent. Another moving section concerns the making of The Princess Bride. In a direct rejoinder to colleagues who humorously extol his legendary drinking, Cary Elwes points out that André drank as much as he did because he was perpetually in so much pain. Along the same lines, director Rob Reiner and actress Robin Wright discuss how surprised they were at how difficult André found it to perform even the simplest physical tasks (a pseudo-wrestling scene with Elwes had to use a (hilariously bad) stunt double, and for a scene where he catches Buttercup (Wright), she had to be supported on wires because André couldn't hold her weight. In this sense, although the tone is never melancholy, André's story does emerge as something of a tragedy – not because he failed to achieve his dreams, but because in doing so, he dissuaded himself from availing of the aid that could have lengthened his life, and would certainly have eased his suffering. In terms of problems, the most egregious is Hehir's failure (for the most part) to disentangle André Roussimoff from André the Giant. Hogan, Flair, WWE owner Vince McMahon and, André's best friend, Tim White all talk about the man behind the persona, but none of them knew him before he became André the Giant. This is why the Ellerbe section and the brief material on his life in France are so important, as they speak to who he was rather than who we believe him to be, with many of the (probably hyperbolic) stories fitting more comfortably into the image of André the Giant than the life of André Roussimoff. Additionally, more than likely due to WWE's direct involvement, there's nothing even remotely negative said about the company, although Hogan does point out that André probably shouldn't have been in the ring at WrestleMania III. The implication is that McMahon may have exploited André's passion for the business, but this is buried under more mythologising and is quickly forgotten. Nevertheless, this is a very fine tribute. André was vitally important to an industry at a pivotal crossroads, and the film captures why he was such a compelling character, able to elicit pathos (and later antagonism) from wrestling audiences the world over with relative ease.

    A fitting tribute to a man who was genuinely one of a kind On March 29, 1987, the most significant pro-wrestling match of all time took place at WrestleMania III in the Pontiac Silverdome, in front of 93,173 fans, as Hulk Hogan (the greatest of all time then and the greatest of all time now) defended his title against former best friend, André the Giant. It's not the greatest contest of all time; for a WrestleMania main event, it's very short (12 minutes), with Hogan extremely restricted as to what he could do with André, whose mobility was severely compromised and who was in immense pain due to acromegaly. But it didn't matter, because the match culminated with Hogan doing the impossible and slamming André. Which brings us to Jason Hehir's excellent documentary, the emotional high-point of which is that match. Sure, it's not always successful in its attempts to separate the man from the myth, often falling back on the very mythological elements it's trying to sidestep, and it's neither as insightful nor as objective as one might wish. However, it's respectful, informed, and entertaining, avoiding hagiography, and featuring some superb archival footage. Choosing to forego a narrator, and using only archival footage and talking-head interviews, Hehir allows the interviewees to tell the story. During pre-production, he and producer Bill Simmons decided to include only material which had been directly witnessed; there was to be nothing anecdotal; "we were only going to have first-person accounts. So, if someone said, "I heard André drank 156 beers," well, were you there? If you weren't, it's not gonna make it in. But when Ric Flair says "he drank 106 beers in front of me", that makes it in." This affords the documentary a sense of personalised intimacy – every interviewee is talking about things they saw rather than things about which they heard – which works towards Hehir's mission statement of depicting the man rather than the myth. In this respect, one of the most important sections is the disappointingly brief depiction of his time in his adopted home of Ellerbe, NC, which is where Hehir is most successful in dividing the man from the mythos. André loved living there because he could be himself and because he was left alone – he could be a regular citizen. This comes in the middle of a section about how logistically difficult André's life was (as Flair points out, he couldn't put on a disguise and stroll around New York, and as Hogan explains, everything was too small for him, rendering mundane tasks such as eating in a restaurant hugely difficult). The Ellerbe section is one of the most low-key, moving, and human parts of the documentary, and it's the only part where hyperbole seems entirely absent. Another moving section concerns the making of The Princess Bride. In a direct rejoinder to colleagues who humorously extol his legendary drinking, Cary Elwes points out that André drank as much as he did because he was perpetually in so much pain. Along the same lines, director Rob Reiner and actress Robin Wright discuss how surprised they were at how difficult André found it to perform even the simplest physical tasks (a pseudo-wrestling scene with Elwes had to use a (hilariously bad) stunt double, and for a scene where he catches Buttercup (Wright), she had to be supported on wires because André couldn't hold her weight. In this sense, although the tone is never melancholy, André's story does emerge as something of a tragedy – not because he failed to achieve his dreams, but because in doing so, he dissuaded himself from availing of the aid that could have lengthened his life, and would certainly have eased his suffering. In terms of problems, the most egregious is Hehir's failure (for the most part) to disentangle André Roussimoff from André the Giant. Hogan, Flair, WWE owner Vince McMahon and, André's best friend, Tim White all talk about the man behind the persona, but none of them knew him before he became André the Giant. This is why the Ellerbe section and the brief material on his life in France are so important, as they speak to who he was rather than who we believe him to be, with many of the (probably hyperbolic) stories fitting more comfortably into the image of André the Giant than the life of André Roussimoff. Additionally, more than likely due to WWE's direct involvement, there's nothing even remotely negative said about the company, although Hogan does point out that André probably shouldn't have been in the ring at WrestleMania III. The implication is that McMahon may have exploited André's passion for the business, but this is buried under more mythologising and is quickly forgotten. Nevertheless, this is a very fine tribute. André was vitally important to an industry at a pivotal crossroads, and the film captures why he was such a compelling character, able to elicit pathos (and later antagonism) from wrestling audiences the world over with relative ease.

  • Aug 15, 2019

    Fabulous documentary about a gentle giant who made an even larger impact on the professional wrestling world! Great storytelling about Andre's entire life as a mythological-like man, plus, a phenomenal side story about his history in pro wrestling and how he helped transform the sport from regional-based to the larger than life, worldwide, WWE, we all know. Also, terrific interviews!

    Fabulous documentary about a gentle giant who made an even larger impact on the professional wrestling world! Great storytelling about Andre's entire life as a mythological-like man, plus, a phenomenal side story about his history in pro wrestling and how he helped transform the sport from regional-based to the larger than life, worldwide, WWE, we all know. Also, terrific interviews!

  • May 19, 2019

    4/5 stars I really enjoyed this. Part of this was just nostalgia as I grew up in the time of Andre, Hulk, and Macho Man. But past that this was just a really well done documentary. And it operated on multiple levels. On one level you had the story of Andre himself which was cool and touching. And then you had a whole different level where it was talking about the history of the WWF (now WWE) that I had NO idea about. I learned a bunch about how the WWF was formed and how the matches worked. Overall, really enjoyable.

    4/5 stars I really enjoyed this. Part of this was just nostalgia as I grew up in the time of Andre, Hulk, and Macho Man. But past that this was just a really well done documentary. And it operated on multiple levels. On one level you had the story of Andre himself which was cool and touching. And then you had a whole different level where it was talking about the history of the WWF (now WWE) that I had NO idea about. I learned a bunch about how the WWF was formed and how the matches worked. Overall, really enjoyable.

  • Apr 14, 2019

    An excellent doc featuring the one and only giant: Andre the Giant. I was a huge fan of WWF wrestling back in the '80s and '90s and one of my fav wrestlers was Andre. He was larger than life and a true spectacle every time he was shown on TV (even when he wasn't wrestling). This is a nice but sad doc to learn about his early and unfortunately her physical ailments too. He did so much for the world of wrestling. This is must watch for any wrestling fan.

    An excellent doc featuring the one and only giant: Andre the Giant. I was a huge fan of WWF wrestling back in the '80s and '90s and one of my fav wrestlers was Andre. He was larger than life and a true spectacle every time he was shown on TV (even when he wasn't wrestling). This is a nice but sad doc to learn about his early and unfortunately her physical ailments too. He did so much for the world of wrestling. This is must watch for any wrestling fan.

  • Dec 30, 2018

    A brilliant insight into a brilliant entertainer.

    A brilliant insight into a brilliant entertainer.

  • Oct 11, 2018

    Just for Hulk Hogan's testimony on the details of the logistics and choreography of his mythical battle with Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III, this documentary is completely worth watching. But in addition, Ric Flair talks about Andre's sex life and, among others, there are details about how Andre hated Randy Savage and made him suffer in the ring. Fantastic. Essential for fans of professional wrestling. Recommended for enthusiasts of pop culture and the creation of modern myths.

    Just for Hulk Hogan's testimony on the details of the logistics and choreography of his mythical battle with Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III, this documentary is completely worth watching. But in addition, Ric Flair talks about Andre's sex life and, among others, there are details about how Andre hated Randy Savage and made him suffer in the ring. Fantastic. Essential for fans of professional wrestling. Recommended for enthusiasts of pop culture and the creation of modern myths.

  • Jul 22, 2018

    Big Documentary a guy...excellent view and insight into a WWE & real life legend.

    Big Documentary a guy...excellent view and insight into a WWE & real life legend.

  • Avatar
    Philip P Super Reviewer
    Jul 09, 2018

    Chronicles the events of Andre's life without necessarily diving too deep into the the why of these events; the drive was there, but what created that drive? What made wrestling so attractive? Why did he become so infatuated with it? It seems there had to be more to it than not wanting to live on a farm his whole life and doing something different. No, wrestling became that something different that he loved and that made his uniqueness worthwhile. Was this all that was needed for Andre to dedicate his life to it? How did he maintain this level of commitment and why? Like many a music docs the events audiences are familiar with are easy to recount, but to get to the core of what motivated and inspired those artists to create the kind of music and persona they did is what really drives these bio docs past surface-level. "Andre the Giant" does this in bursts, has some really insightful interviews from those closest to the Giant, and some archival footage that is absolutely glorious as well as critical to viewers understanding the arc and transformation of this man. Still, it is only in these bursts that Jason Hehir's film seems to be able to genuinely pull the curtain back. As much a mini-doc about the evolution of wrestling in popular culture as it is a documentary about Andre the Giant (which isn't bad, but instead undoubtedly appropriate) this is simply a subject that requires more room to breathe and at a tight 85-minutes the room just isn't there.

    Chronicles the events of Andre's life without necessarily diving too deep into the the why of these events; the drive was there, but what created that drive? What made wrestling so attractive? Why did he become so infatuated with it? It seems there had to be more to it than not wanting to live on a farm his whole life and doing something different. No, wrestling became that something different that he loved and that made his uniqueness worthwhile. Was this all that was needed for Andre to dedicate his life to it? How did he maintain this level of commitment and why? Like many a music docs the events audiences are familiar with are easy to recount, but to get to the core of what motivated and inspired those artists to create the kind of music and persona they did is what really drives these bio docs past surface-level. "Andre the Giant" does this in bursts, has some really insightful interviews from those closest to the Giant, and some archival footage that is absolutely glorious as well as critical to viewers understanding the arc and transformation of this man. Still, it is only in these bursts that Jason Hehir's film seems to be able to genuinely pull the curtain back. As much a mini-doc about the evolution of wrestling in popular culture as it is a documentary about Andre the Giant (which isn't bad, but instead undoubtedly appropriate) this is simply a subject that requires more room to breathe and at a tight 85-minutes the room just isn't there.