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Wrestling is an art, of the highest form, and it’s time to take it seriously.

Through experiments in storytelling and spectacle, the sport of wrestling shares many of the same concerns as cinema. Wrestling can be a lot of things – fun, bombastic, hardcore, toxic – but never boring.

This curated selection of films honours the dedication of wrestling performers and fans alike, whilst highlighting the darker side of the sport. These prestige dramas, indie flicks and cult classics serve as a great entry point for the uninitiated, or a thought-provoking watch for the already converted.

The centrepiece is The Iron Claw (2023), director Sean Durkin’s critically acclaimed love letter to the golden age of wrestling; it adapts the lives of the Von Erich brothers and their wrestling dynasty, overcome by tragedy & toxicity. A change of pace is the wholesome dramedy The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019, dir. Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz), where a wrestling fan with Down Syndrome escapes his care facility to pursue his dream of entering the ring. Bennet Miller’s Oscar nominated Foxcatcher (2014) is a study of fixation turned fatal, as an unsettling an eccentric millionaire develops an obsession for a young Olympic wrestler. In offbeat New Zealand comedy The Legend of Baron To’a (2020, dir. Kiel McNaughton), a Tongan man fights to reclaim his late father’s championship belt and honour his legacy. We finish off with John Carpenter’s sci-fi cult classic They Live (1988), starring ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, a preeminent example of the wrestler turned movie star, and a great satire of 1980s capitalist USA.

– Grace, Lachlan and Patrick; Swinburne Cinema and Screen Studies students

About Movie Mogul in partnership with Swinburne University of Technology

Movie Mogul is a project run in partnership with Swinburne University of Technology which provides Cinema & Screen Studies students with the opportunity to curate their own season of films for exhibition on Cinema 3. The winning seasons were decided by a panel of experts at a pitch session at ACMI. This year’s winner is Wrestling with Reality.

Watch the season trailer featuring Australian wrestling legend KrackerJak


Wrestling with Reality

The Iron Claw
2h 12m Biography, Drama, Sports 2023
The Peanut Butter Falcon
1h 37m Adventure, Comedy, Drama 2019
2h 14m Drama, Biography 2012
The Legend of Baron To'a
1h 45m Action, Comedy, Drama 2020
They Live
1h 34m Sci-Fi 1988

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