Barry Blaustein's critically acclaimed documentary about wrestling takes viewers beyond the ring and into the lives of the men and women who inhabit this colorful, competitive, and surprisingly complex world. During the fi... more »ve years he spent working on the film, Blaustein discovered that the control wrestlers exert in the ring is often contrasted by the lack of control they have in their own lives. Some pursue dreams--others are pursued by personal demons. Always relaying his love and respect for his subject matter, Blaustein travels on the open road with the wrestlers, shares their most intimate moments with their families, and witnesses their victories and defeats in the ring. 108 minutes.« less
I have to preface this by stating I am not at all a pro-wrestling fan. But good documentaries make you care about the subject matter no matter your pre-conceived notion. And that's exactly what this one did. Now, thats not to say if I were a pro-wrestling fan I wouldnt get more out of this, I am sure I would. I think it works because it shows people - hopes and dreams are universal. This documentary focuses on McMahon and the WWF (when it was known as that) and the ECW (when it existed). Also featured are several wrestlers, but specifically Jake 'the Snake' Roberts, Mick Foley, and the iron man Terry Funk. Interviews included the Rock, Jesse Ventura and a variety of sub-players. There is nothing fake about the brutality and pain in the ring (and out of the ring in Roberts' case). Really puts a human face on this industry, to much of one for Vince McMahon who tried to sue to get this pulled from release.
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"Ringside SE" not as good as the original DVD release
KaneRobot | Rochester Hills, MI United States | 03/25/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this under the impression that all the features from the first disc would be retained, in addition to adding a new commentary with Jesse Ventura and Mick Foley and an interview with them as well. The new Ventura/Foley commentary is nothing special as they only talk for a total of about half the movie, and for some reason it's an intrusive video commentary where the disc pauses to switch tracks every time it comes on - would have been much better to just let them talk the entire time and leave it as an audio only track.My problem here is, they removed the director only commentary and also the Mick Foley solo commentaries from the previous disc. I don't see why this happened, as the Terry Funk & director commentary from the previous disc IS still on there. It's not like they couldn't have fit all of it on one disc.A very solid documentary that everyone should check out if they have not already, but I'd advise picking up the previous release, as the special features are stronger.For the sake of completeness, I'd give the original DVD relase 4 stars."
The World Behide Pro Wrestling
KaneRobot | 07/01/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie takes an inside look at the world of pro wrestling. You see the stars of today's wrestling world as you have never seen them before, the personal side. Featured in the flim is best selling author and hardcore icon Mankind (or Mick Foley). In one scene you see Mick's wife break down into tears, as she shields the couple's children as Mick gets cracked in the head a whopping 10 times in the head with a steel chair. Also doucumented in the film is Jake "The Snake" Roberts and his battle with personal demons. Hardcore legeng Terry Funk is also showcased. This is not just a movie for wrestling fans as it is a story of human emotions and insterst and not a vechile to promote the sports entertainment industry."
What a GREAT documentary!
Che | San Jose, CA. | 09/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Beyond the Mat is a documentary of professional wrestling. It shows behind the scenes footage and lives of wrestlers. People from independent wrestling organizations to Extreme Championship Wrestling to the greater then all World Wrestling Federation (sorry Turner, no World Championship Wrestling in this movie!). It was great because it was non-biased. It's cool to see wrestlers at ease behind stage. Talking and hanging around with one another knowing that they have to wrestle each other in a few minutes! The movie has some footage of Vince McMahon, owner of the WWF. It proves once and for all that he is "THE MAN", and that he can make you or break you in the industry. The movie focused on the lives of 3 wrestlers, Terry Funk (now 56, has retired and come back as much as Ozzy!), the once famous Superstar Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Mick Foley (aka Cactus Jack, Mankind, Dude Love). I don't want to spoil the movie by going over their lives. I'll tell you one thing though, the shocker for me was Jake the Snake! Once the biggest star of the WWF, now turned into a has-been crack addict. Wow, what a story! That's just a part of his life, you should see the rest of it, it's pretty sad! The documentary also talks about the struggles of trying to become a pro wrestler, pretty much getting payed nothing. You have people that work as an airline mechanic, a kindergarden teacher etc. It's a great movie, even if your not a fan of professional wrestling. This is one of the best documentaries that I've ever seen."
An amazing documentary!
Eric James Cooper | Highlands Ranch, CO USA | 08/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very sobering look at the life of professional wrestlers. If you liked the Bret Hart documentary-you must see this! Mick Foley: Is this guy amazing or what? I can't believe he does what he does and still walks. And he truly worries that the fans might not have gotten their money's worth? No way Mick. We owe you money at this point.Terry Funk: Another sick individual that seems to thrive on pain. Always in and out of retirement, his body has amassed a war's worth of damage-and he still keeps coming. Jake Roberts: What a tragic figure "The Snake" is. I remember watching him back in the 80's and then he just disappeared. Lost amidst a world of drugs and alcohol-his demons are too numerous to mention.If you like wrestling even remotely-watch this movie. If you are considering wrestling as a career-watch this movie and you may reconsider that choice."
BEYOND THE MAT DIRECTOR'S CUT DVD REVIEW: Shocking!
Dennis A. Amith (kndy) | California | 09/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""BEYOND THE MAT: UNRATED DIRECTOR'S EDITION" DVD... what an awesome documentary!I was a big fan of wrestling many years ago and just started watching again this year. The game is more electrifying than ever and things have changed since the 80's of WWF. The focus on certain wrestlers in this documentary was very fun and shocking to watch at the same time. From Terry Funk getting the doctor's prognosis of his battered body, Jake "The Snake" Roberts and the demons in his life which was a shock to watch and most of all, the segment that really hooked me in was Mick Foley's segment and how his family handled watching him get beat during "Royal Rumble". Also, one of the reasons to BUY this DVD is the comments Mick Foley had in the special features commentary in which he comments about the Rock hitting him and boy, you can tell Mick Foley was pissed at the Rock. Also, you see a few features on a few WWF and ECW stars in this documentary.Some people may want to call this documentary perhaps "The True Secrets behind wrestling". I'm actually surprised to see the added footage of Vince McMahon...whoah! A lot of things are in this video. From people trying to get into the business, the dangers of the business and the wrestler outside of the ring. As for the audio and video, the video has good colors, audio...I wasn't expecting digital 5.1 to begin with. As for the special features, it comes with a trailer, production notes...not that much compared to other movies/documentaries but if one thing truly shines in the special features category, it's the commentaries on this DVD which are the big thing. You have to watch Mick Foley's commentary. If anything, after I watched this movie, you have more respect for Mick. What a cool dude! So, wrestling fans...this DVD is highly recommended. VHS owners, you thought the movie was good, buy the DVD to hear what Mick has to say in the director's commentary...whoah!"