Box art for The Wrestler

The Wrestler


A powerful portrait of a battered dreamer, ex-professional wrestler Randy The Ram Robinson, who despite himself and the odds stacked against him, lives to be a hero once again in the only place he considers homeinside the ring.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

4 out of 5
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
4 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
5 out of 5

Brilliant drama about rough redemption is for adults only.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this critically acclaimed indie drama is a strong, brilliant, fierce film -- for adults only. The acting, direction, and writing are of Oscar caliber, but there's extensive nudity, unflinching violence, drinking, drug use/abuse, and swearing. The film is also moody and complex, depicting the physical and moral consequences of the characters' work as "professionals" in the economy of entertainment.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk aboutthe nature of the "fake" violence depicted in the wrestling matches -- is it really "fake" if people are bleeding?
  • What's the appeal of professional wrestling to begin with? What makes it compelling entertainment?
  • Is it as popular now as it was in the '80s? Why or why not?
  • Discuss the similarities between Randy and Cassidy,who both make low pay selling their bodies (he wrestles, she strips).What effect does that have on their self-esteem? Their relationshipswith others?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 33
    see all The Wrestler reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Predictable as it is, this sad, strong beast of a film keeps us pinned to the mat with the strength of its compassion and the overpowering force of its central performance.

- Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, Friday, January 16, 2009

Fresh: The Wrestler isn't a perfect movie, but Rourke's performance gives it the impact of an atomic elbow drop.

- Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fresh: The Best Film of 2008

- Blake French,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Mickey Rourke's Wrestler performance is already one of the outstanding, iconic acting jobs of the last few decades, one of the most convincing acting jobs I've ever seen. It actually made me feel like watching a documentary at times, forgetting I am watching Rourke play a role. Aronofsky's directing and the camera work adds to that impression. We often follow the character through his locations, getting a very real feeling of the surroundings. While there are a few interesting looks behind the curtain of pro wrestling, that's not really what this film is about. It's a close look at a man struggling in life, being no longer able to do what he likes to do best. The fact that he is a decent human being, deserves respect and treats others likewise doesn't make his failing easier to watch. The realistic feeling and the outstanding acting performances still make us watch and care. Thankfully, the ending is somewhat open and does not offer the most obvious solution. Impressing, sad and touching.

- ironclad1609, Tuesday, July 24, 2012

4 stars

"The Wrestler" has almost nothing to do with wrestling... typically a Darren Aronofsky thing. The narrative is traditionally linear and simple, but it is very raw and riveting. An authentic, bona fide acting performance by Mickey Rourke. There's a surreal amount of veracity that everything carries whether it is heightened from the camerawork, the screenplay, or the pitch dark tones the narrative throws at the audience. It's a downer for sure, but it doesn't mean Darren Aronofsky doesn't succeed. The audience are emotionally plunged into the life of Mickey Rourke's character, Randy "The Ram" Robinson due to fine direction and screenplay. This is by far the most simplistic yet compelling film Darren Aronofsky's ever done. It's his best work yet.

- fb1463751009, Friday, March 9, 2012

4 stars

Mickey Rourke makes his career movie, a moving, emotional down to gritty earth story of an old sore wrestler who tries to make it with a failing heart and lonely life. This is a really decent film with good performances and a insightful look into the fake wrestling world. Its actually kinda funny really...grown men in tights grappling with each other, wearing make up and whats more its actually a very popular 'sport' in the US. This baffles me, do grown up's know its fake? I can forgive kids obviously but grown adults? will this film scar some people for life with its spoilers of the wrestling world? Behind the scenes the film shows how the whole setup works, from drugs and muscle enchancing to scripts and fake injuries...its all there yet why its so popular is another story. The plot isn't too original, the sleazy stripper that needs to be won over, the come back, the bad father who battles to keep his daughter by his side, we've seen it before in many sports flicks but this looks fresh and realistic. The film is almost in a documentary style, following 'the Ram' around as he pushes through life, the camera is shaky and handheld, there aren't any special effects and their is alot of real human emotion that all people from all walks of life can relate to, its very touching and at times slightly depressing to be honest. Rourke himself looks pretty shit these days...a bloated hotdog with a scarred, stretched face from too much surgery, he shifts around like a brick with a heavy suntan and delivers speech much like an 80's Stallone. His performance isn't the greatest in the world but he does make you believe he could be a wrestler and you do feel for him all the way through the film, you want his life to work out, in this sense he acts well but what he shows isn't too far from the 'Marv' character in 'Sin City', a large mumbling hulk. Its still a very good film due to its portrayal of real life and real problems which so many skip around or fantasize too much. The ending is too sad really, I would of liked to see a better finish for the Ram...I guess Mickey did his job well cos I'm upset about his characters final scene.

- phubbs1, Thursday, February 9, 2012