Wrestling is an incredibly exciting and demanding sport, so it’s no small wonder that so many movies have been made about the subject. These films show both the good and the bad that comes with being involved in competitive wrestling. Looking at the top five films about the subject, you’ll see why people are so passionate about the sport.
This film follows gold medalists Mark and David Schultz, two brothers that are approached by the wealthy John du Pont to be a part of his all-star wrestling team in future events. Mark joins immediately, but Dave takes a while to come around. The training is made hard by the eccentric John du Pont, which, combined with other factors, ultimately causes the brothers to drift apart again. The movie spirals towards an unhappy ending that left many theatergoers breathless.
- Vision Quest
The cult classic Vision Quest stars Matthew Modine as Louden Swain, a great high school wrestler that decides to challenge himself by dropping several weight classes and going up against a state champion wrestler. He considers this his “vision quest,” a challenge that he has to face before adulthood. During his rapid weight loss, he becomes infatuated with a woman staying at his home and falls in love with her even though she is much older. This was in a time before using popular dating sites could have helped him. Had the tech been available to find a partner that was closer to his age and willing to stay with him, his life could have been easier. Instead, Louden struggles between his affection and his duty, forcing him to make difficult choices about his future. The film was not very popular in its day, but it has become more popular in modern times as a good story.
What happens when you try to create delicate plans to benefit you? In the case of Win-Win, the plans fall apart when you need them to keep in place. This film features a lawyer, Mike, who is also a wrestling coach trying to balance his Family’s needs and make enough money to survive. He takes in a young man, Kyle, from a tough family who is a good wrestler. Eventually, the delicate house of cards crumbles, and Mike has to do what’s best for everyone instead of himself.
- American Wrestler: The Wizard
Ali Jahani comes to the U.S. following the Iran Hostage Crisis and tries to fit in at his new high school. However, his Iranian heritage makes things hard for him as people treat him poorly because of Iran’s hostility to the United States. Ali joins the wrestling team and is a powerful contender, eventually gaining the respect of his community through his hard work while not losing sight of himself. This movie is magical.
- Fighting With My Family (2019)
Fighting with my Family takes a look at the professional wrestling circuit for two siblings that were raised by their Family of wrestlers. Both children, Saraya and Zak, show a talent for wrestling, so they try to join the pros as they age. While undergoing the rigorous training required to join the WWE, Zak is told he doesn’t have what it takes, and Saraya struggles. The two lash out at each other because Saraya, now going by Paige, is failing while Zak has already spiraled into depression from being ousted. Eventually, Paige makes it into the WWE and becomes a champion, while Zak becomes a next-generation wrestling trainer.
The wrestling films that we have reviewed here each show wrestlers in moments of crisis. These individuals face adversity at every step as they try to carve out their identity in the world along with a career. Sometimes, wrestlers go on to be Olympic competitors, coaches for a new generation, or seek out professional wrestling. Other times they lapse into despair. These films tell us that we have to make the most of what life offers us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda Raley is a Psychology Faculty student, a freelance writer on sex and relationships, and a relationship beginner psychologist-consultant.