Made before the wholesale entry into mainstream culture of steroids, breast (and pec) implants, liposuction, and other procedures that have made cosmetic surgery the business it is today, PUMPING IRON was released in an era when excessive attention to one's own body still seemed somewhat
shameful. Changing times have taken away much of the oddity of the sight of men who devote their lives to increasing their muscle bulk. It remains notable primarily as a record of pre-Hollywood Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The bulk of the documentary follows Schwarzenegger as he prepares for the 1975 Mr. Olympia competition. At 28, he has not been beaten in competition in seven years,...