He is the world's greatest bodybuilder, hollywood blockbuster action hero, former governor of California. Arnold Schwarzenegger's stratospheric rise is built on a lifetime of work, resilient problem solving, open minded curiosity and a committment to giving back. To celebrate the publication of his new book Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life Arnold Schwarzenegger comes to London for two live events.
On this occassion our CineClub would like to take a deeper look at the films which made Schwarzenegger a household name with this dedicated mini-season.
The first film Pumping Iron is an 1977 American docudrama about the world of professional bodybuilding. It centres on the Mr Universe and Mr Olympia competions and on Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of its primary competitors. The film was a box office success, making Schwarzenegger an international celebrity and helping to popularize the culture of bodybilding and the fitness craze of the 1980s.
Schwarzenegger began lifting weights at age 15 and won the Mr. Universe title aged 20, and subsequently the Mr. Olympia title seven times. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time, and has written many books and articles about it.
Pumping Iron knocks preconceptions sideways in its opening moments - with a sequence showing Schwarzenegger taking ballet lessons to improve his posing style - and it goes on to demonstrate convincingly that bodybuilders are as 'normal' in their vanities, foibles and rivalries as any other group of nuts. The movie is a very shrewd mixture of documentary and realistic fiction, put together with both eyes and ears on entertainment value.
USA, 1977, English, 86min, directed by George Butler and Robert Fiore.