Pumping Iron

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Pumping Iron is a 1977 docudrama about the world of bodybuilding. The book as well as the movie are about the run-up to the 1975 Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competition.[1] Released by George Butler's company Cinegate, the film focuses on Arnold Schwarzenegger and his competitors, Lou Ferrigno and Franco Columbu. The documentary was co-directed by Robert Fiore and George Butler. It was based on the book of the same name by Charles Gaines and George Butler (Simon and Schuster, 1974).

Pumping Iron documents, and to some extent dramatises, what is commonly referred to as "The Golden Age" of bodybuilding, a time when mass and size mattered less, and symmetry and definition of the body was preferred. The documentary follows the two main bodybuilding competitions, the IFBB Mr. Universe (for amateurs) and the Mr. Olympia (for professionals) in Pretoria, South Africa. Though the documentary focuses on Schwarzenegger, many notable bodybuilders make appearances, including Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbu, Mike Mentzer, Robby Robinson, Mike Katz, Albert Beckles, Ken Waller, Frank Zane, Paul Grant, Ed Corney, Serge Nubret and Danny Padilla — all talented champions in their own rights.[citation needed] Ed Corney appeared on the front dust jacket of the hardcover edition of the book and the front of the softcover version, as well as on the poster for the movie.

The film was re-released on DVD in 2003 for the 25th Anniversary of the original. The DVD featured behind the scenes footage and recent interviews with the cast.



In addition to popularizing bodybuilding, Pumping Iron was the world's introduction to Arnold Schwarzenegger, and was a contributing factor to his acting career. Franco Columbu would go on to win the Olympia in 1976 and 1981, and eventually became a practicing chiropractor and actor. Lou Ferrigno also went on to much success: though he never won the Olympia title, he succeeded in television and movies, starring as the title character in the TV series The Incredible Hulk.

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