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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 24 July 2004
You will never get a better chance to see a movie star in embryonic form than watching 28-year old Austrian body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger in this 1976 documentary about bodybuilding. Arnold is "Pumping Iron" to win his sixth straight Mr. Olympia title and the future Terminator steals the spotlight from his competitors (including Lou Ferrigno in his pre-Incredible Hulk days) with relative ease. Directors George Butler and Robert Fiore capture the world of competitive bodybuilding on film, but it is Arnold who makes it all seem like such a noble effort. With his natural charm and his single-minded determination, it is easy in retrospect to see why he became such a box officer star. This is a man who has always been comfortable with who he is and what he is doing. Even if you find the sight of muscular men covered in oil to be somewhat disquieting (I am pleading guilty here), you will find this look at their world to be both fascinating and insightful.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 December 2013
Entertaining, well made documentary on the sport of body building (circa mid 1970s) focusing in
particular on then 28 year old Arnold Schwarzenegger, who can be charming, funny, and as when
he's explaining his admiration for dictators in his Germanic accent ("People remember them") or
playing psych-out mind games on his so-called best friend, but also rival, before a competition -
he can be more than a bit creepy and disturbing.

While always enjoyable, and fascinating for where Arnold's life led him after this film made him a
star, it's not a super deep or moving documentary. Its too lightweight,repetitive and self-conciously
funky for that, along with the fact that sections are admittedly semi-staged for the cameras.

But if it's not quite a great film, its certainly a good time.
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on 31 March 2004
I was waiting for this version to come out on Region 2 for the UK as only playback DVD's through my PS2. I found the whole 'film' great, especially the mind games between Arnie and Lou. The extras, especially Raw Iron etc. were worth the purchase price alone, with the whole DVD capturing a great mix of work outs, posing, and scripted storylines - highly motivational in my personal opinion. Never seen the VHS version, but apparently the DVD quality is vastly improved. Definitely a great purchase!
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VINE VOICEon 7 August 2014
Not a film, but rather a fascinating documentary, this is the one that gained Arnold Schwarzenegger global recognition thanks to his infectiously arrogant personality coming out on screen as well as his undeniable imposing physical stature and passion for success. The perfect movie star! It also helps show Lou “The Incredible Hulk” Ferrigno, who got the Hulk role after this documentary aired, in a nice light and shows the real people behind the greased up muscles and spotlights of the stage.

It’s very focused on the world of bodybuilding and the stars themselves so may not appeal to everyone as casual viewers of Schwarzenegger himself, but this is a very real and eye-opening world into the man we associate with films such as ‘The Terminator’ and ‘Commando’. There is nothing about his drive for being a film star, so don't expect any pre-movie auditions or interviews. This is all about the bodybuilding. This is where it all started, and we can see the seeds being sown as to why he is one of the greatest success stories in modern US history from coming to America with a dream and not stopping until he had crushed all those who stand before him to get there.

It’s warm funny, emotional and controversial in places like all documentaries should be and a nice look into the world of pumping iron and sweating blood.
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This is a seminal Schwarzenegger classic! Anyone a who is a fan of body building or Arnold or both should watch this. Very inspiring and shows just how ahead of his time Arnold really was. Not only did he become the best, this is how he did it. Ballet lessons to improve his movement is a prime example. He understood it all on a fundamentally different level and changed the game for competitions forever!

It is a very motivating film and you can't help but be inpsired to go out and try to achieve better! A highly recommended watch!
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on 12 October 2009
All things considered, Arnold Schwarzenegger has had an interesting life. He arrived in America with almost no money and barely able to speak a word of English, then through sheer hard work and determination went on to win bodybuilding's biggest title a record-breaking seven times, became arguably the greatest action movie star of all time and got elected as the governor of California. Clearly you don't achieve all that without having something a little special, and Pumping Iron gives something of an insight into this.

It's 1975 and Arnold Schwarzenegger is preparing to defend his Mr Olympia title for the sixth time in a row. He's been king of the hill for the last five years, but now there's new competition in the shape of Lou Ferrigno - a massive 6'5" bodybuilder who is younger, bigger and hungry for success. The documentary charts their preparations in the run-up to the Mr Olympia contest to be held in Pretoria, South Africa. Along the way, it provides an insight into both men's characters, their personalities and the events that drove them to take up bodybuilding.

The two men couldn't be more different. Ferrigno is quiet, reserved and soft spoken, training mostly with his father in a basement gym, while reigning champion Schwarzenegger is brash, arrogant and charismatic.

The fascinating thing about this movie is the insight it provides into the psychology behind what is for the most part quite a misunderstood sport. Bodybuilding is as much a battle of egos as muscles. In a competition early in the film, one bodybuilder hides another man's clothes and training gear just before he goes on stage, distracting him and breaking his focus, and ultimately causing him to lose.

Likewise, in the run up to the big showdown in Pretoria, Schwarzenegger starts playing mind games with the younger and more impressionable Ferrigno, gradually eroding his confidence. In another telling interview, Schwarzenegger admits that if he finds another competitor who looks like he might be a threat, he'll make sure he spends lots of time with him the night before the competition and basically talk him into losing.

Schwarzenegger is very much portrayed as the villain of this movie, using various underhand ploys to keep Ferrigno from winning. And yet his focus, determination to win and sheer charisma are obvious even at this early stage of his career, and it's easy to see why he went on to greater things.

And the rest as they say is history.
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on 23 April 2013
If you want a DVD with loads of great features, or a DVD on the History of Bodybuilding, or even how to become a Bodybuilder, then stay well clear of this DVD. This is a Documentary about the Great ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER and Bodybuilding as a Sport! I love this DVD and all its content! i find it Funny, Interesting and all round Entertaining! a good Documentary full stop, and i am not, nor would i want to be a Bodybuilder either! but i do appreciate the Hard Work, Sacrifice, Diet habits and all round Dedication, that goes with the territory of Bodybuilding. This is what was Known as the Golden Age of Bodybuilding, the 1970's, with the Greats such as Arnold Schwazenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Franko Columbo, Ed Corney, Mike Katz and many others. This is when Bodybuilders trained the Vince Gironda way i.e Tummy Vacuums, wide Lats and tiny Waists, unlike today's Bodybuilders, Pumped and Jacked to the high Heavens with Roids, and looking like Giant Bloated Meat Headed Freaks, all lined up on stage like some Bizarre Freak show! Men who through extreme Chemical Abuse have become so Muscular, they can hardly move! don't get me wrong, this is not a put down, each to their own! And Bodybuilders in the 70's after all where shooting up the Roids to, but their look had not been took to the ultimate Freak show level, at this stage of Bodybuilding's History yet! The Joking and Banter between these Guys is (HILARIOUS) at points, all round good Fun to watch, very Entertaining and a Eye opener to say the least. A must have for all Real Bodybuilders to have in their DVD collection.
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on 23 December 2012
When someone loves the 'pump' this much....

"It's as satisfying to me as, uh, coming is, you know? As, ah, having sex with a woman and coming. And so can you believe how much I am in heaven? I am like, uh, getting the feeling of coming in a gym, I'm getting the feeling of coming at home, I'm getting the feeling of coming backstage when I pump up, when I pose in front of 5,000 people, I get the same feeling, so I am coming day and night. I mean, it's terrific. Right? So you know, I am in heaven."

Need I say more?
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This is a seminal Schwarzenegger classic! Anyone a who is a fan of body building or Arnold or both should watch this. Very inspiring and shows just how ahead of his time Arnold really was. Not only did he become the best, this is how he did it. Ballet lessons to improve his movement is a prime example. He understood it all on a fundamentally different level and changed the game for competitions forever!

It is a very motivating film and you can't help but be inpsired to go out and try to achieve better! A highly recommended watch!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is a seminal Schwarzenegger classic! Anyone a who is a fan of body building or Arnold or both should watch this. Very inspiring and shows just how ahead of his time Arnold really was. Not only did he become the best, this is how he did it. Ballet lessons to improve his movement is a prime example. He understood it all on a fundamentally different level and changed the game for competitions forever!

It is a very motivating film and you can't help but be inpsired to go out and try to achieve better! A highly recommended watch!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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