Pumping Iron (1977)

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Robert Fiore and George Butler direct Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno and Mike Katz in this documentary about body building.

Arnie excels here in this, at times obviously staged, documentary. As an early glimpse of the icon in the making it is fascinating. His presence in any shot sucks the oxygen from all the other competitors, while his teasing of poor, young Ferrigno is fun yet the final scene of their comraderie is touchingly more complex. As an actual insight into the world of competitive bodybuilding it feels a tad lightweight however. A great documentary immerses you into into a new world, this merely feels like a quick cursory glance, obscured by the towering obstacle of a star in the making.

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