The Iron Claw

The true story of the inseparable Von Erich brothers, who made history in the intensely competitive world of professional wrestling in the early 1980s. Through tragedy and triumph, under the shadow of their domineering father and coach, the brothers seek larger-than-life immortality on the biggest stage in sports.



All I know about wrestling I've learnt from movies. Films like The Wrestler, Cassandro, Fighting With My Family and Foxcatcher. As a result, I know very little about this sport... it has always felt like something of a mystery. Until now. Now, I feel like I can begin to understand.


What's changed, you might ask? The Iron Claw is what. I have never felt so immersed in the wrestling world than while watching Sean Durkin's film.


The Iron Claw is both an insightful examination of wrestling and a devastating portrait of the sport's inherent pressures. Impressively performed by all involved (with a career best from an almost unrecognisable Zak Efron), I was gripped by this tragic, yet also remarkably inspiring story.


Each of the four Von Erich brothers are beautifully portrayed. Alongside Efron's Kevin, Harris Dickinson plays David, Stanley Simons plays Mike and Jeremy Allen White plays Kerry. While the performances and physical commitment from all these actors is impressive, Dickinson is a charismatic stand-out.  



I do, however, have a couple of minor quibbles.


While we are informed at the start that The Iron Claw is inspired by a true story, I was still left unsettled by some of the film's omissions. To explain further would be to venture into spoiler territory. If you have watched the film and then, as I did, Googled the true story, you will likely know to what I refer.


In addition, while I appreciate that this is largely Kevin's story of survival, I wanted more depth of storytelling from his brothers, their mother and Kevin's wife. Perhaps, however, this would have pushed the Iron Claw from a film to a television series.


Still, David, Mike and Kerry's stories felt under-served, Maura Tierney does much with little as Doris and Lily James's role as Pam also felt underdeveloped.  The film has third act pacing issues and feels as if it rushes towards its conclusion. Notably, that conclusion is, thanks to Efron's powerful performance, full of heartwarming and heartbreaking emotion.


These are, however. just a couple of niggles in a film that I would otherwise hugely recommend. 

Film Search


Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones



This site contains my own

thoughts and opinions on

films. Other opinions are

available but may not be correct.