A Fan's Guide to the Best and Most Fun Movies About Pro Wrestling
If you are the type of wrestling fan who can't get their fill just from watching actual wrestling, there are luckily a handful of enjoyable films about the action in the squared circle.
The history of pro wrestling movies isn't pretty. Just the words "Ready to Rumble" still make many a fan nauseous. Don't fret, though.
Zombies, dramatic performances and absurd humor have played their part in the creation of a better brand of wrestling movie.
There are award-winning films as well as the movies you might watch at one in the morning, loopy from too much pizza.
Note: I'm only including non-documentaries for this list.
One of Jack Black's more subdued comedic performances is his turn as a Mexican Catholic priest who moonlights as a luchador.
The humor is dry and the film is bursting with odd quotable lines.
The wrestling in Nacho Libre serves mostly as a vehicle for sight gags and Black's trademark goofiness. While not the most technically sound grappling, it's fun to watch.
Real-life luchador Silver King plays Nacho's main adversary. Black does appear to have a bit of skill himself though, moving decently in the ring.
Nacho's scrawny partner and a tag team of fur-wearing little people add to the film's bizarreness.
If you like your movies to be just crammed full with the most elements it can, then perhaps Enter…Zombie King will be right up your alley.
It's equally a zombie movie and a movie about masked wrestlers. Naked women of varying attractiveness appear from time to time and there is as much gore as there is comic book style presentation.
The odd hodgepodge works. Zombie King ends up being a gloriously fun homage/parody of the old Santo b-films.
Jim "the Anvil" Neidhart makes an appearance to top things off.
Unfortunately I couldn't find a trailer, but the movie is available on Netflix so the investment involved with be minimal.
Like most '80s movies, Body Slam features paper thin logic and corny music and is the film equivalent of cotton candy.
Body Slam is more enjoyably bad than anything else.
The movie focuses on a down and out music promoter, played by an unimpressive Dick Benedict, who ends up accidently getting involved in managing wrestling. The plot meanders and the acting is tepid at best, but it’s still campy fun.
Roddy Piper is one of the major stars and his subdued performance is disappointing. With a guy that crazy, you have to unleash him, not try to make him into a real actor.
The actual wrestling is highly watchable as they've enlisted actual wrestlers.
The Barbarian and the Tonga Kid work inside the ring while Lou Albano and Freddie Blassie play, you guessed it, wrestling managers.
A Canadian mockumentary about independent wrestling, Kayfabe leans heavily on inside jokes, but still appeals to folks other than diehard wrestling fans.
Kayfabe won several awards at film festivals like Best Comedy at the Lakedance International Film Festival and has received a number of outstanding reviews.
Naturally comparisons to Spinal Tap have been made and while Kayfabe has its share of chuckle-inducing moments, it's not on the comedic level of that all-time classic.
On Independent Film Reviews Vance Garrett said of the film, "It is a love letter to the life of the independent wrestler."
See the whole gushing review here.
Man on the Moon
Not exclusively about wrestling, Man on the Moon is the biopic about Andy Kaufman who famously wrestled women and eventually Jerry Lawler.
This is one of Jim Carrey's better serious roles as he believably transforms himself into the late comedian Kaufman. It doesn't hurt that Carrey and Kaufman look so much alike.
Fans expecting a comedy, which makes sense as a comedian is playing a comedian, will be disappointed. It's mostly a drama with some funny moments.
Courtney Love is annoying and flat as the love interest.
As for the wrestling, Carrey vs. some untrained women is no Shawn Michaels vs. the Undertaker, but Kaufman's strange foray into the wrestling world is an interesting footnote in its history.
Easily the best movie ever made about wrestling.
If you've never seen a Darren Aronofsky flick be prepared to be deeply emotional involved with the characters and see an ambiguous ending that is one part unsatisfying, one part a discussion generator.
The Wrestler is just as engaging for non-wrestling fans as it is for diehards as the heart of the story is a story about failure and attempting to step out of one’s own personal abyss. The script and direction are all top notch, but what propels this movie to greatness are the actors.
Mickey Rourke's performance is the best of his career and can be held up as a shining example of an actor completely fusing with a character. Rourke seems to be born for this role.
It's hard to tell where Mickey Rourke ends and Randy "the Ram" Robinson begins.
This role resurrected his career like few roles have done for an actor’s career.
Like Rourke, his co-star, Marisa Tomei was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in The Wrestler. She plays the Ram's would-be stripper girlfriend.
And while Tomei is far prettier and less skeezy than most strippers, she makes it work. She comes off as authentic and compelling.
Comedian Todd Barry plays a callous grocery store manager perfectly. The movie of course also features some cameos from actual wrestlers.
R-Truth, Necro Butcher, Jay Lethal, Ernie "the Cat" Miller and others all appear in it.
It's not only just a moving, striking film, but somewhat educational to non-wrestling fans about the dark underbelly of the sport.