Reviewing HBO’s Andre The Giant Documentary

After watching HBO’s documentary about Andre The Giant, I must say it was well done. In today’s world, you can watch so much old wrestling (and just about anything else). Seeing this years ago probably would have taken it from a home run to grand slam. It’s not 2005 anymore. I have seen lots of interviews over the years. Sure, more wrestling would have been nice. Obviously they had time constraints. My point is these things can’t be held against anyone associated with putting it together. Considering everything, Andre The Giant gets an A.

I was pleased with how much time was devoted to WrestleMania III. The interviews and wrestling footage really helped set the scene for how anticipated this event was. People who were not born yet gained a better understanding. They also did a good job with behind the scenes stuff. At that time, I didn’t know about Andre’s injuries and struggles. When you’re 9 or 10, you are just enjoying it from the innocent and naïve fan’s perspective. There were some spoilers, but no sites to check out. I pretty much just liked to watch the show and see what would happen.

One historian spoke about knowing wrestling was fake or scripted and still breaking it down with friends from a strategic standpoint. Andre was built up. How could Hogan defeat the man that was undefeated for 15 years? At least that was what they claimed. Andre turning bad or heel only added to his intimidation. Now he was an angry giant. Even as a friendly and gentle giant, nobody could beat him. I wondered who could possibly beat Hogan if Andre couldn’t. The giant had been off having surgery or recovering. We hardly saw him. Instead of witnessing a man who had physical problems, the hype and reputation seemed to grow.

They got into Andre passing the torch. His family. Relationships with people who were involved in wrestling. Troubles when traveling on planes. The Princess Bride. Pretty much everything.

There were two minor issues I had with the documentary. One was that very little was mentioned about Andre’s late career other than his match with Hogan. Winning WrestleMania II’s battle royal that included NFL players comes to mind, but Andre getting his hair cut by Bobby Heenan’s men was incredible. They humbled the giant. Amazing storyline. Andre eliminating Hogan in a battle royal shortly before facing Hogan in 1987 wasn’t included, either. He also busted open Lanny Poffo during that match. This helped cement him as the evil giant and made people think he could win his huge showdown for the title.


Andre beat Hogan a year later in one of the most memorable matches ever, but surrendered his championship to Ted DiBiase. There was talk about him now being booed instead of cheered. He turned back to a good guy in 1990 after dropping the tag titles. Teaming up with a partner late in his career came up as a topic, so they could have done a better job there.

The other thing I noticed was how much time they spent talking about Hulk Hogan and wrestling changing. Less time on that could have meant more about Andre’s feuds and opponents. They went way too deep into that. At one point I forgot that it was a documentary about Andre. I’m just an honest person. I had to present the negatives. Call me fair and balanced. Obviously there was a lot more good than bad. If you have not seen it yet, be sure to watch the documentary on HBO.

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