In the 1970’s for British audiences wrestling was a bunch of pot bellied middle aged men who spent their days in pubs offering unsolicited advice to anyone playing on the one armed bandits and by night donned a garish pair of budgie smugglers and threw one another around the ring. Although in fairness many of them were only a sausage roll away from a coronary and the audience consisted mainly of pensioner women who got so excited at the emotion of the ‘wrestling’ that there would barely be a dry seat in the hall. HBO’s Andre the Giant dvd shows the American side of 70’s wrestling……
America was different, but only just, with many of the US states with their own wrestling federation each with their own stars who rarely met. Andre the Giant changed all that. A Frenchman roughly the same size as the Alps. He. Was. Huge. Dwarfing everyone else and having gone to America as a wrestler he effectively became the eighth wonder of the world and quickly became a huge star. This HBO documentary shows his dizzying climb to fame and his size made him unassailable. No one could beat the loveable affable giant. Andre the Giant and some super savvy promoters soon started to capitalize on his size and instigated the start of the modern wrestling universe which has given the world The Rock, The Undertaker and The Badger (OK we made up that last one) which were far better and more imposing monikers than their Brit equivalents Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and Livid Les (OK we made that last up as well!).
The documentary uses rare interviews and archive footage and some pretty candid stories from those closest to him. Suffering from a genetic disease that made everything about him grow huge – a claim that our Editor claims to suffer from in a certain area of his anatomy – a claim that his wife has quickly shot down (‘You’re fired!’ – Ed). His life was to be short lived and his career peak was a legendary fight with Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania III. Hogan, who is about to have his own life story made in to a film, speaks openly about the pantomime that they were about to embark on when Andre the Giant had been suffering from a number of physical issues due to his size and was now in extreme pain. His life was ultimately a tragic one because his sheer size made him a star it was also what would deny him any privacy unable to go anywhere without being noticed.
Even if you’re not a wrestle fan this is an intriguing documentary about the man who had fans that even included the late screenwriter William Goldman who went on to write a role for him in The Princess Bride. Apart from the documentary itself the film also has a bunch of decent bonus extras notably the fights he had including Wrestlemania III.
Here’s the Andre the Giant dvd trailer…….
ANDRE THE GIANT DVD IS RELEASED ON 6TH MAY 2019