Friday, 3 June 2011

Pumping Iron Review (Arnold Month)

Pumping Iron

While now infamous for his contribution to Hollywood Cinema, Arnold Schwarzenegger started his career as a competitor in the world of bodybuilding. This 1977 “documentary”/ drama primarily focuses on the ‘Austrian Hulk’  as he contends for the title Mr Olympia. The film also includes the actual ‘Incredible Hulk’ from the 70s/80s TV series, Lou Ferrigno , and Franco Columbu, who played minor roles in Running Man and The Terminator. It’s a film that deals with bodybuilders with immense goals and personalities, and this comes through the entertaining interviews with the individuals. 
Elements of the film have been exaggerated and ‘acted’ such as Lou Ferrigno’s Dad, who in reality had little to do with Lou’s career. However, his ‘performance’ is hilarious and brings further humour to the film. Its a simple piece of cinema that gives further insight into the monstrous, sometimes grotesque and addictive nature the sport has had on its athletics. The sheer lengths and regimes they endure is fascinating, and keeps the film interesting.
Overall, I can’t criticise Pumping Iron in the traditional ‘film critic’ sense, but it is a very well-done documentary/ drama piece of cinema. It has gained ‘cult’ status due to Arnold’s early involvement, and that of Ferrigno’s. Though I’m personally not interested in the world of bodybuilding, it’s various interviews with the early look at the 'stars' are surreal, yet entertaining. Its a great ‘sports film’ with a lot of human drama.

The following section of text is a quote taken from the film. It describes Arnold’s ‘addiction’ to his bodybuilding lifestyle, in a slightly obscure but hilarious manner: 
"The greatest feeling you can get in a gym or the most satisfying feeling you can get in the gym is the pump. Let's say you train your biceps, blood is rushing in to your muscles and that's what we call the pump. Your muscles get a really tight feeling like your skin is going to explode any minute and its really tight and its like someone is blowing air into your muscle and it just blows up and it feels different, it feels fantastic. It's as satisfying to me as cumming is, you know, as in having sex with a woman and cumming. So can you believe how much I am in heaven? I am like getting the feeling of cumming in the gym; I'm getting the feeling of cumming at home; I'm getting the feeling of cumming backstage; when I pump up, when I pose out in front of 5000 people I get the same feeling, so I am cumming day and night. It's terrific, right? So you know, I am in heaven." 
Here is the video: 


  1. Arnold Strong ... know the caricatures of Salathiel Gualter