Mumbai: Wrestling movies have long held a special place in cinema, capturing the intensity, drama, and raw emotion of this dynamic sport. From the iconic battles of professional wrestling rings to the intimate stories of amateur wrestlers striving for greatness, these films offer a compelling glimpse into the world of grappling and determination. Among the highly anticipated releases is The Iron Claw, which is set to release on 9 February 2024 in your nearest PVR INOX cinemas. This is a film poised to make waves with its immersive storytelling and gripping portrayal of wrestling's triumphs and tribulations. As audiences await the release of ‘The Iron Claw’, there's no better time to revisit some of the genre's most memorable offerings. Here are five wrestling movies to watch before experiencing the thrills of ‘The Iron Claw’:
The Wrestler (2008)
The Wrestler portrays the story of Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson, a worn-out professional wrestler facing personal and professional decline. Played by Mickey Rourke, Randy struggles with health problems and broken relationships while seeking redemption in his career. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, the film captures the raw realities of life both inside and outside the ring, earning critical acclaim for Rourke's compelling performance and its gritty portrayal of the wrestling industry.
Foxcatcher, directed by Bennett Miller, is a tense biographical drama portraying Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz's complex bond with wealthy sponsor John du Pont. Starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo, the film explores ambition and obsession, culminating in tragic events. Praised for its performances and dark examination of wrestling culture, ‘Foxcatcher’ captivates with its intense narrative and character dynamics.
Dangal is a sports biopic directed by Nitesh Tiwari, portraying the true story of Indian wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters, Geeta and Babita Phogat. The film stars Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat and follows his journey to train his daughters in wrestling against societal norms. Through rigorous training and determination, the Phogat sisters break barriers, becoming champions in the male-dominated sport. ‘Dangal’ celebrates the power of perseverance, familial bonds, and women's empowerment, earning widespread acclaim for its performances, storytelling, and inspirational message.
Sultan is a Bollywood sports drama directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, starring Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma. The film revolves around Sultan Ali Khan, a wrestler who rises from obscurity to fame, only to fall into a pit of personal struggles and redemption. Through its gripping narrative and powerful performances, ‘Sultan’ explores the themes of ambition, love, and the indomitable spirit of the human will, making it a standout in the realm of Indian cinema.
Paradise Alley (1978)
Paradise Alley is a 1978 sports drama directed by Sylvester Stallone, who also stars in the film alongside Armand Assante and Lee Canalito. Set in 1940s New York City, it follows three brothers who see wrestling as their ticket to a better life. As they navigate the challenges of the wrestling world, they confront personal and professional obstacles that test their bonds and ambitions. Stallone's directorial debut offers a gritty portrayal of family, ambition, and the pursuit of dreams in the world of professional wrestling.
And here’s the film that inspired this list:
The Iron Claw (2024)
‘The Iron Claw’ follows the Von Erich wrestling family's journey, led by Texas NWA Heavyweight Champion Kevin Von Erich. Set in the 1970s and 1980s, the film portrays their triumphs, tragedies, and the burden of the ‘Von Erich curse.’ Wrestling victories, personal struggles, and family tragedies shape their story, ultimately leading to redemption and legacy in the wrestling world. Through poignant moments, the film honors the resilience of the Von Erichs and their lasting impact on professional wrestling.
If you're eager to immerse yourself in the adrenaline-pumping world of wrestling, where the boundaries between victory and defeat blur, mark your calendars to not miss the premiere of ‘The Iron Claw’ this Friday at your nearest PVR INOX cinemas.