We here at MEAT have put together a list of bodybuilding films of legends that have paved the way for what love and know today. Ranging from Arnold to Ronnie the list is as extensive as you can think. Following core values we see as vital to the bodybuilding culture each selection we have here has culminated that and we think everyone should see and take in the inspiring outcomes. Bodybuilding is more than just a competition of physique and strength, there’s individual lives and stories that are happening to create something larger than life.
1. Pumping Iron (1977)
If you haven’t seen this yet, how is that even possible? Probably one of the most influential movies to boost bodybuilding into the mainstream. It showcases what is considered by many to be the golden age of bodybuilding which occurred in the 1970’s. Depicting two major bodybuilding competitions: Mr, Universe and Mr. Olympia. In the film we’re following along some of the most recognized names in bodybuilding such as Mike Katz, Ken Waller, Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbo, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Comeback (1980)
In one of the greatest comebacks of all time, six times Mr. Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the world bodybuilding arena after five years away as a Hollywood movie star. Attempting to win his 7th Mr Olympia he must prepare in 8 weeks time to compete against people who have been training years for the greatest competition ever. Appearances by a number of the Mr. Olympia contenders are made as well. Includes scenes of Arnold training in the gym in Sydney, plus contest pump room scenes, interviews, and contest posing by some of the other competitors.
3. Lou Ferrigno: Stand Tall (1997)
A documentary on Lou Ferrigno and his journey to the Olympia 19 years after he had retired from bodybuilding. In 1977, bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno gained national notoriety when he and Arnold Schwarzenegger were the subjects of the documentary previously mentioned, Pumping Iron, a chronicle of their preparation and rivalry in the Mr. Universe competition. Even though Ferrigno lost, it launched his brief acting career with The Incredible Hulk. This film follows the now 43 year old former muscle man as he makes one last bid for bodybuilding stardom as he once again hits the gym to prepare for the Olympia competition.
4. Bigger, Stronger, Faster (2008)
In this documentary you’re presented with the prevalent use of steroids in sports as an indicator of the American obsession with winning at all costs. Thinking this is their ticket to getting closer to the American dream, the Bell brothers have been tracked into the world of performance-enhancing drugs. Containing interviews with doctors, politicians, bodybuilders and coaches it raises the question: Is it all worth it in the end?
5. Generation Iron (2013)
From the producer of the aforementioned original classic Pumping Iron, comes "Generation Iron", the long awaited true story of rivalry, dedication, victory, defeat, redemption and triumph. This film explores the professional sport of bodybuilding today and gives us insight to the lives of current bodybuilding stars Phil Heath, Kai Greene, Branch Warren, Dennis Wolf, as well as ambitious newcomer Ben Pakulski and European sensation Roelly Winklaar all on their journey to be crowned Mr. Olympia.
6. CT Fletcher: My Magnificent Obsession (2015)
Recognized as one of the most influential and motivated fitness trainers, CT Fletcher: My Magnificent Obsession takes a look at the struggle, pain, and hardships that he has encountered throughout his life. Leaving an abusive childhood home, this film dives further into Fletcher's personal and professional life exhibiting the power that motivation can have on the human spirit. Also making appearances you’ll see Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bill Goldberg, and Kevin “Da Hulk” Washington. Throughout the film Fletcher's life shows us how we can, too, push through our obstacles to achieve dreams of greatness.
7. The Perfect Physique (2015)
This is a compelling documentary giving emotional, raw, and uplifting insight into a world of strength and beauty. It digs deep underneath what goes on in these competitors' lives and what they deal with rather than us coming up with our own narratives. To acquire the best physiques in the world it takes relentless desire, fierce determination, and unwavering discipline. No feat like that comes easy. It takes a lot more intense training to maintain a lifestyle like this to stay on top and obtain the best physiques in the world.
8. Ronnie Coleman: The King! (2018)
Ronnie Coleman is known as “The King” and for very good reason. He is the 8x Mr. Olympia champion in the world of bodybuilding. Sharing the record for most Olympia wins all time. Now being retired, he has undergone over 6 surgeries leaving him incapacitated, but his desire to keep training like a pro bodybuilder has not disappeared. Traversing the history of Ronnie’s career as a bodybuilding legend and following his journey to rehabilitation; for the first time ever discover the true man behind The King.
9. Dorian Yates: The Original Mass Monster (2019)
Dorian Yates changed bodybuilding forever. The 6x Mr. Olympia champion ushered in a new era of bodybuilding physiques by showcasing an unprecedented amount of mass not ever seen to be possible. Simply put he is the greatest British bodybuilder who ever lived. The documentary follows the life and times of his storied career and the new life he’s created post bodybuilding. A great watch about one of the more modern bodybuilders on this list.
10. Flexatron: Becoming Shawn Rhoden (2019)
Bodybuilding, what we all know as a highly competitive sport, the late Shawn “Flexatron'' Rhoden had risen to become one of the best athletes in the world. His rise to fame didn't start in the gym. Born on the island of Jamaica, Shawn saw his early life success nearly taken off course by death, depression, and alcohol. After two failed suicide attempts, Rhoden decided to change his life’s path. Through the love and support given by his family and the dedication he had to the gym, he returned to the bodybuilding world and finally won the Mr. Olympia title in 2018. This isn’t your typical story about bodybuilding, it’s rather a story of how this sport inspired change and saved a life; the life of Shawn Rhoden.