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The Best Wrestling Films Ever

Figure 1 Cinema fans have been treated to some excellent wrestling films

The passion and drama of sport have long been used by Hollywood to craft some of the most memorable movies. But wrestling has not always been treated with the respect it deserves. Boxing, baseball and football have all been immortalized on the silver screen but wrestling is not as well represented.

Our sport may not be one that attracts the sports betting fans in quite the same way but there is definitely excitement and thrills in the ring. There have been a few directors that have been able to capture that. We have not included any documentaries in our list, as we wanted to concentrate on films that tell stories inspired by the stories of the ring.

The Wrestler, 1974

If you love wrestlers from the 1970s then you should definitely watch this movie. It is virtually a who’s who of the sport from the decade, including a starring role for the American Wrestling Association’s Verne Gagne. He plays an old champion who is reluctant to make way for a younger man.

Ed Asner stars as the promoter of the league who struggles with backing his current champion or moving with the times and introducing younger talent. This is a really good depiction of small-time wrestling leagues of the time and the difficulties promoters had with putting on a good show.

Nacho Libre, 2006

If you have ever seen a Jack Black film you will already know that Nacho Libre approaches wrestling in a markedly different way than our previous movie. This comedic tale follows a cook who tries to raise money for the orphanage he works at by wrestling in his downtime.

Nacho Libre shows its love for Lucha Libre, a Mexican style of masked wrestling in a way that makes you want to go to a show as soon as you finish the film. There are plenty of crazy characters to complement Black in the main role – and some more cameos from some of Mexico’s wrestling royalty.

Figure 2 Nacho Libre celebrates the Mexican wrestling tradition

Fighting With My Family, 2019

This is another wrestling comedy – but one that is based on a true story. It is actually essentially a biopic of Paige, a female wrestler who became a household name. She was just a British teenager when she first started on the long road to fulfilling her dreams and this movie follows that story.

Florence Pugh plays the wrestler who joined the WWE developmental program and found herself at odds with the model types who only saw it as a way of being famous and had no wrestling experience. The Rock produced and stars in this riotous comedy, with Vince Vaughan turning in a memorable appearance as well.

The Peanut Butter Falcon, 2019

This critically acclaimed heartwarming drama is more of a road trip buddy movie than a wrestling film. But it still has the sport at its heart. It follows the story of a man with Down’s syndrome who escapes from the facility he is living in to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler.

Along the way he meets fisherman Shia LeBeouf who encourages the man and decides to take him on a cross-country trek to meet up with a wrestling trainer. Wrestling is commonly seen as a comedic vehicle, so it is good to see it getting the full drama works here.

The Wrestler, 2008

We started off this movie rundown with a film called The Wrestler and we finish with another critically acclaimed masterpiece of cinema. Mickey Rourke is sensational in an Academy Award-nominated role as an ageing wrestler who refuses to accept that his best days are behind him.

It is an unflinching portrait of the world of wrestling where some famous names cannot give up the sport that they love – or cannot see an alternative to putting their bodies through hell in the only way they know how to make a living. It is not always an easy watch – but it is utterly compelling.

 

 

 

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