The sports movie genre has been blessed to have a nice selection of quality picks worth watching.
Basketball fanatics can look to White Men Can’t Jump plus Love and Basketball as bonafide classics. Baseball enthusiasts know that Bill Durham and Moneyball are required viewing. And devoted followers of the football scene look to Friday Night Lights and Remember the Titans as the finest films about their preferred sport. When wrestling fans are forced to look for standout flicks that represent their favorite form of sports entertainment, their options aren’t as plentiful as you’d think. Pure onscreen trash such as Ready to Rumble and No Holds Barred sadly exist and should only be watched for a decent chuckle and nothing more.
If you’re on the lookout for movies based on wrestling that don’t make you feel as if you’re wasting your precious time and energy, we’ve got you covered. The 20 films we compiled for this list do a great job of covering the wild world of professional wrestling in one of two ways – through a cinematic lens that features big time actors and even real-world wrestlers or offering a documentary presentation on the sport’s standout personalities.
These films aren’t about the rise of an amateur wrestler looking to overcome their demons and notch a triumphant win in the end – they’re more about the pomp and circumstance that comes with delivering body slams, hot promos, and other crowd popping antics.
Director Max Landis got sick of hearing about how pro wrestling is fake from its many detractors. And honestly, we feel the exact same way. Max then took it upon himself to put together an amazing short film that legitimizes the sport he loves so much and breaks down just how enthralling it can be as a form of entertainment. Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling flips gender roles as it retells the story of Triple H and details the many intricacies displayed by his onscreen character. And all the while, Max puts the best aspects of wrestling on full display in the most hilarious and thought provoking ways possible.
Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling can be viewed in full on YouTube for free.
The Wrestler (1974) acts as a cinematic time capsule that features a who’s who of pro wrestling biggest stars from the mid-70s. If you consider yourself a true historian of the sport, then you’ll have a fun time recognizing each and every Hall of Famer that makes an onscreen appearance. The American Wrestling Association’s own Verne Gagne stars in this film as an aging champion who’s conflicted over dropping the title to a young up and comer played by Billy Robinson. Throughout the film are a number of cool cameos from the likes of Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Don Muraco, Pedro Morales, Nick Bockwinkel, and a host of other throwback greats.
The Wrestler (1974) can only been seen via DVD and VHS.
Sylvester Stallone made his feature film directorial debut with Paradise Alley, a movie that delved into the dirty dealings and underworld antics of professional wrestling. The film follows a trio of brothers – one of them convinces the more athletic brother to pursue a career in wrestling, while the third sibling takes it upon himself to manage him along the way. Plenty of drama ensues as the trio nets great success and earns the attention of a local gangster who decides to present an overwhelming challenge to their hot young prospect. Keep an eye out for cameos from Terry Funk, Dory Funk Jr., Ted DiBiase, Dick Murdoch, and several other late 70s legends.
Paradise Alley is available to watch on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, and Amazon Prime Video.
Seeing as how two of the biggest stars from the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection era are in this film makes total sense considering its subject matter. Body Slam follows a struggling music promoter who decides to try something new in order to revive his career. That fresh endeavor turns out to be his mixing of rock shows that also feature a slice of professional wrestling. The comedy antics this movie thrives on is due to the roles played in part by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Captain Lou Albano, and the Wild Samoans. By the way, keep your eyes peeled for some dope wrestler cameos during the final match sequence.
Body Slam can only be viewed on DVD and VHS.
WWE Studios’ track record for producing halfway decent films is astronomically low. But from time to time, they actually release a product that’s watchable and actually quite memorable. One of those projects is the comedy called Queens of the Ring. It mainly focuses on a single mother who’s having a hard time coping with her son, who’s now finding her uncool and choosing to hang out with his young friends over her. In order to appeal to his interests and regain his favor, the mother gathers her workmates together in a bid to become professional wrestlers. And of course, this setup leads to plenty of hilarious moments from start to finish.
Queens of the Ring can be seen on Vudu, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Amazon Prime Video, and iTunes.
Below the Belt puts the personal triumphs and losses tied to entering the wrestling business on full display in this heart tugging drama. It especially provides a tough lesson on the many hardships tied to 80s women’s wrestling. This film selection follows a waitress who goes for a drastic career change that leads to her meeting with a professional wrestling trainer. This training period quickly transitions into her fighting for a chance to become the best in a seedy business that’s equally parts rewarding and emotionally deflating.
Below the Belt is available to watch on Vudu, Sling TV, and Amazon Prime Video.
The main character within Foul King is more or less a constant letdown in his bank manager’s eyes. His constant lateness is partly the reason why, which makes sense. As fate would have it, the downtrodden bank teller discovers a local wrestling trainer who decides to train him. After this event transpires, the bank teller takes on the role of an after hours heel pro wrestler known as the “Foul King.” This South Korean film follows his humorous in-ring exploits and the troubles he gets himself into due to his newfound confidence.
Foul King can be seen on Amazon Prime Video.
Jack Black is a comedic joy. When he stepped into the world of Lucha Libre for Nacho Libre, his gut-busting theatrics perfectly matched up with the film’s wrestling antics. This movie pick sees Black play the part of a cook who looks to raise more money for the monastery he grew up in. In order to keep providing for the many children that reside there, he moonlights as a masked luchador who fights to keep winning and keep his real identity under wraps. Mexican wrestling legend Silver King and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s own Human Tornado both make cool cameos in this hilarious film.
Nacho Libre is available for viewing on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, iTunes, and Netflix.
A pair of lady wrestlers dream of making it big with the assistance of a janky but lovable manager in All the Marbles. This wrestling duo calls themselves the “California Dolls,” who vie to rise up the wrestling circuit ranks and make it big. Only problem is they have to contend with a pair of rival lady wrestlers by the name of the “Toledo Tigers” and a super sleazy wrestling promoter. All the Marbles provides a comedic look at the best and worst parts of everything that comes with competing as a women’s professional wrestler. Expect to see a mud wrestling match or two in this one.
All the Marbles can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Vudu.
Film director/producer Ruth Leitman does an amazing job of covering the early days of women’s professional wrestling by interviewing the biggest stars of the 1940s and 1950s. The legendary personalities he comes into contact with includes The Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Gladys “Kill ‘Em” Gillem, Ida Mae Martinez, Ella Waldek, and Penny Banner. This documentary features a ton of throwback footage of the women themselves and even takes a look at their post-career lives. The sequence that shows all six women meeting up to swap war stories is simply fascinating and quite the tearjerker.
Lipstick and Dynamite, Piss and Vinegar: The First Ladies of Wrestling can be seen on Amazon Prime Video and Sling TV.
Andy Kaufman knows a thing or two about the wrestling business. He made big box office money during his feud with Jerry “The King” Lawler, after all. If you’re looking for a primer on that money making grudge, check out the Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon. And if you’re in the mood to watch “Classy” Freddie Blassie use his sharp tongue during a morning meet up with Kaufman, check out this film as well. My Breakfast with Blassie acts as a spoof of the 1981 film My Dinner with Andre (not the giant). This parody sees Kaufman and Blassie improvise their funny quips and introspective conversation as they interact with each other and some, let’s say, enthusiastic fans.
My Breakfast with Blassie can be seen on Tubi, iTunes, Sling TV, and Amazon Prime Video.
If you’ve followed every season of the GLOW drama series on Netflix and are interested in the backstory behind the popular 80s promotion, then this documentary film is a must-watch. GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling is an inside look at the rise and fall of the wrestling federation that ran from 1986 to 1989. Several of GLOW’s most recognizable personalities, such as Mountain Fiji, Matilda the Hun, and Lightning, speak over archival footage and reminisce over their days as bonafide wrestling stars.
GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling can be viewed on CONtv through Amazon.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts stood near the top of the wrestling mountain during the 80s. Fans still celebrate his haunting promos, devastating DDT finisher, and memorable feuds with other top wrestling stars. But Jake’s well-documented inner demons have played a huge part in his downfall. This incredible documentary gives fans a deep look at Jake’s fight to reclaim his life and regain the trust of his family with the assistance of another wrestling legend – Diamond Dallas Page. The Resurrection of Jake the Snake is an inspiring film that puts the spotlight on wrestlers looking to recover from their debilitating issues.
The Resurrection of Jake the Snake can be seen on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Vudu.
Paige is one of WWE’s greatest success stories from within the company’s now thriving women’s division. Her ascent from NXT to the main roster helped kick off the rise of the Women’s Revolution and give the wrestling landscape a welcome makeover. This fascinating biopic tells the tale of Paige’s upbringing with her wrestling family, her close relationship with her brother, and what it took for her to climb the ladder in WWE to championship status. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s co-starring role in this film gives it an even stronger sense of legitimacy among avid wrestling fans.
Fighting With My Family can be viewed on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Vudu.
The best mockumentaries of all time fully embrace their source material and embraces the ridiculousness of it all. For wrestling fans, Kayfabe: A Fake Real Movie About a Fake Real Sport is required viewing. This film follows the impending shutdown of an indy wrestling fed called the (*takes deep breath*) Tri-City International Championship Wrestling Federation. During the TCICWF’S run of final shows, viewers get to follow the lives of the promotion’s lovable yet goofy wrestlers and get a lesson on the real/fictitious aspects of professional wrestling.
Kayfabe: A Fake Real Movie About a Fake Real Sport is available to watch in full for free on YouTube.
“HE’S GONNA…HE’S GONNA PUKE! That infamous line is derived from the classic 1999 documentary that fans of Mick Foley, Terry Funk, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts remember fondly. This Barry W. Blaustein passion project details the triumphs and failures of numerous wrestling legends and the rookies looking to make a play for the big leagues at the time. The World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) get plenty of screen time here as cameras document the behind the scenes drama that ensues within both companies.
Beyond the Mat can be seen on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix.
Director Paul Jay got extremely lucky when he decided to follow Bret “Hitman” Hart around during 1997. In doing so, his documentary ended up catching one of the most infamous moments in wrestling history on camera, which was the Montreal Screwjob. Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows follows Bret from SummerSlam 1997 right up until his controversial bout with Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series 1997. Fans get to see Bret consider his options as his contract for the WWE comes to a close, plus it features a behind-the-curtain peek at Bret’s fellow wrestling journeymen and his home life.
Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows can only be seen be seen on DVD.
Shia LaBeouf stars in this heartwarming tale about a man with Down syndrome who decides to break free of his nursing home lockdown to pursue his dream. And that dream happens to be his pursuit of becoming a professional wrestler. Shia’s character ends up befriending the rambunctious young man and becomes a coach/best friend to him in the process. During their journey together, they begin to learn even more about each other and find a way to stay one step ahead of a social worker played by Dakota Johnson.
The Peanut Butter Falcon is available for viewing on Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Sling TV.
Quite literally, Andre Rene Roussimoff was larger than life. His world travels placed him in the biggest wrestling promotions and pitted him against a who’s who of the most recognizable personalities in the sport. All the while, he captured the attention of even non-wrestling fans due to his gargantuan size, lovable personality, and jaw dropping feats when it came to his beer drinking. This HBO documentary details Andre’s rise to fame and the personal struggles he dealt with due to his gigantism. With amazing anecdotes from his friends/family plus archival footage, this doc breaks down the legend of the eighth wonder of the world in a truly fascinating manner.
You can check out this documentary on YouTube, Vudu, HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Go.
Mickey Rourke’s comeback trail can be charted back to his amazing performance in this film. His role as the downtrodden wrestler known as Randy “The Ram” Robinson showcased his amazing penchant for displaying a character’s inner struggles onscreen. The Wrestler (2008) details the trials and tribulations of former wrestling legends that continue to compete even when it’s clear that their best years are behind them. This film showcases Randy as he mixes it up with recognizable wrestlers on the indy scene and attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter. As for the film’s ending, it’s completely left up to your interpretation.
The Wrestler (2008) can be seen on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play Movies & TV, Vudu, and Amazon Prime Video.