Pumping Iron
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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 his competitors and explains how getting pumped up for competition always reminded him of sex… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A very good film, beautifully shot and edited, intelligently structured and -- to risk what will surely seem at first a highly inappropriate term -- charming."
‑ Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine
"An interesting, rather slick and excessively long documentary about the small but intensely competitive world of body-building."
‑ Richard Eder, New York Times
"Arnold's "reality" debut"
‑ Lori Hoffman, Atlantic City Weekly
"Sort of entertaining. Arnold is a prophet."
‑ Alex Sandell, Juicy Cerebellum
"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."
‑ JoBlo, JoBlo's Movie Emporium
"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."
‑ , Variety
"Its in-your-face images of the bodybuilding subculture's well-oiled narcissism both startled and fascinated viewers, making for an unlikely boxoffice hit."
‑ Glenn Abel, Hollywood Reporter
"Fascinating stuff when viewed in the context of Arnie's now notorious political career."
‑ , Empire Magazine
"A rather amateurish, rough-around-the-edges affair."
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
"Durable documentary starring future Gov. Arnold."
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
"The movie is a very shrewd mixture of documentary and realistic fiction, put together with both eyes and ears on entertainment value."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"Pumping iron is as satisfying as having sex with a woman and reaching orgasm, says Arnold Schwarzenegger in this fascinating1977 documentary"
‑ Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile
"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."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"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"
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
"An entertaining and intimate look body building and its devoted personalities. Pumping Iron has muscle and might in all the right witty places"
‑ Frank Ochieng, TheWorldJournal.com
More reviews for Pumping Iron on Rotten Tomatoes