The World According to Arnie – Pumping Iron (1977)

Pumping Iron Title

This is not going to be a lengthy review for a few reasons. Primarily because, prior to watching it again, I thought Pumping Iron had much more to it than lots and lots of shots of muscle bound blokes flexing their guns and a future superstar acting like a douchebag. But as it doesn’t, I will keep it fairly brief.

Pumping Iron Poster Pumping Iron is a documentary that covers the 1975 Mr Universe and Mr Olympia competitions, and the attempt of “the one and only” Arnold Schwarzenegger to win the Mr Olympia competition for an unprecedented sixth time in a row. The doc focuses mainly on Arnie, but also looks at his main rivals, particularly Lou Ferrigno, as well as looking at the contenders for Mr Universe.

The main thing that comes across when watching this doc is that in real life Arnie was a jerk. He’s like a high school jock, who’s popular because he’s the star athlete. Nearly everything he says is shit, and nearly all of it is totally uninteresting. He’s a wanker to people, particularly his rivals, but they play along, laugh when it’s necessary to laugh, and basically placate him because they’re in awe of him. In many respects being in awe of him is fair enough, because winning anything five times in a row is no mean feat. There is certainly much to admire, and if it weren’t for the fact that his dominant personality is so vapid and self-involved, he would have me in awe too. But Arnie’s lucky there is no personality element to judging Mr Olympia, because if there is he might be in trouble. I say ‘might’ because from this doc, there isn’t much else going on upstairs with any of the other contestants either. It may be blatantly obvious to everyone, but bodybuilding doesn’t exactly require smarts.

Pumping Iron 4 Now I’m aware of the manipulative abilities of documentaries, but in this case it seems as though the makers, Robert Fiore and George Butler, are as much in awe of Arnie as anyone else. There’s a particularly uncomfortable scene where Arnie describes what working out feels like and he equates it to having an orgasm. But he doesn’t leave it there, and describes how he’s “in heaven” because he gets to cum all day and then go home and cum all night. It’s really off-putting and creepy.

Although the documentary is about body building, we don’t really get an idea of what it’s all about. There is information sprinkled throughout, so we get a vague idea of what it’s about, such as how it’s judged, the categories and the difference between Mr Universe (amateur) and Mr Olympia (professional). But there is far too much time dedicated to showing people simply working out, footage without purpose, or showing Arnie sleazing on to women, or just lounging on the beach. Information is sparse, and we never get an idea of how much time is spent in the gym, what their diet consists of, or how these contestants make their money (or how much they make). Information I would like to know when watching a documentary about the little known (especially in 1975) “sport” of bodybuilding. Essentially it comes down to a fanboy celebration of Arnie, one that boils down to him doing a little training, but mostly showing him lounging about enjoying his celebrity and being a bit of a jerk to people.

Pumping Iron 3 I was really surprised by my reaction to Pumping Iron, because I remember this as being a highly enjoyable documentary and don’t recall thinking that Arnie was a jerk when I first watched it. The 70’s continues to be a dire period in Arnie’s career.


Next up, the unseen Cactus Jack. I don’t think this one will change the trend.


For further evidence of Arnie being a douchebag…

Carnival in Rio (1983)

According to IMDB this goes for 53 minutes, but I’ve only seen this five minute excerpt on Youtube and that was more than enough. This is basically that off-putting orgasm story described above ramped up to 11. Apparently this was intended as a travelogue style video, but all this shows is Arnie making Brazilian women uncomfortable with his sleazy personality. I still can’t believe someone thought it was a good idea to show him making a young woman suck on a carrot, or show him grabbing dancing girls asses. It really is mind boggling, and yet further evidence that Arnie was a pretty dodgy cunt.

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About Judge Droid

In between refining my procrastination skills I talk a lot of shit about movies and such.

21 responses to “The World According to Arnie – Pumping Iron (1977)”

  1. Droid says :

    My apologies boys and girls. This is pretty shitty review, but I was disappointed in this one because I thought it was heaps better than it really is, so I couldn’t be bothered with an in depth review.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      I somewhat disagree Droid. Arnie being a complete and utter cock bag was entertaining in that train wreck sort of way. You just can’t help but watch in utter horror, disgust and fascination.

      Also the movie is gayer then gay porn but not as gay as Top Gun. It is so obvious that 3/4 of the other competitors would bend and spread if the Austrian “oak”( makes you question that nick name doesn’t it?) gave them the nod.

      I do agree that it does not hold up well. I watched it like 10 years ago and wondered why I liked it when I saw it as a teenager

      • Droid says :

        I will clarify and say that it isn’t boring. That’s not what I meant. I think it’s just the shock of comparing it to what I remembered it being. Like you, I saw this as a teen and liked it. This is only the second time I’ve seen it and I can’t believe how my completely off my recollection of it was.

      • Droid says :

        And to further clarify, I meant uninteresting in the context of a bodybuilding documentary. Everything he says is about himself, or being a smart ass about his competitors.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        One point about Arnie’s incessant shit talking about his competition is that it got into their heads. Arnie realized many of them were weak emotionally and mentally and he defiantly exploited that fact.

        If I remember right he told one guy that if you jump up and down and things move or jiggle you aren’t ready to compete and that dude bought hook line and sinker. I wish i could remember who that dude was I think he might have one of the bigger names of that time.

      • Droid says :

        Yeah, I do realise that he was playing mind games with his competitors, particularly Ferrigno who he obviously saw as a threat, but he’s a jerk when he’s just being interviewed.

        He tells a story of some cocky guy that asked him for some posing tips or something and he told the guy that he should scream whenever he posed. So the guy did it (these obviously aren’t bright individuals) and got thrown out of the competition. It’s really the way Arnie tells his stories. From many people that story would be funny, but Arnie comes across as such a smug cunt that you want to take a bat to his head.

  2. Tom_Bando says :

    I can remember catching this ages back, esp. w/ the Hulk on there etc. I don’t have any interest in seeing it again though.

    Cactus Jack–is that also ‘The Villain’ w/ Kirk Douglas and Ann-Margret? Saw it. Kinda funny/okay for half an hour but slowish and over-obvious the rest of the way. You have Kirk as Wile E Coyote(!) but it’s not really well-handled.

    Me likes Ann-Margret though. Yes.

    • Droid says :

      Yeah its also called The Villain in certain countries. I think I’ve seen part of it, but I could be mistaken.

      Don’t bother watching this again.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      Ann Margert was recently on one of the 50 Law and Order TV shows. She still looked alright in the commercials.

  3. Stuntcock Mike says :

    No apologies necessary Droid. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with something inspired when the material isn’t.

    Just remember, you have THIS to look forward to:

  4. koutchboom says :

    Does that one clip the one that has him smoking weed? Or end with him naked picking up the naked chick and walking off?

  5. MORBIUS says :

    Hate to say I told you so, but with Carnival in Rio…

    Told you so…

  6. Jarv says :

    I’ve got exactly the same memory of this being good. I shall avoid rewatching it.

    There was another documentary on Arnie just after he won his second term as Governor and he came across as a real wanker in his bodybuilding days.

    There was one scene where he’s sitting at breakfast with Ferrigno basically telling him he was an ugly cunt (which is true) for half an hour and that he would be destroyed in any competition because he’s too ugly. I remember thinking “wow, you’re a real dick”.

  7. kloipy says :

    i thought this was a great review Droid. That Youtube video looks like a Date Rape game show

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