NOW IN THEATERS! This wrestling mark has been waiting a long time to see Sean Durkin’s The Iron Claw. As a kid in Southern California, all we had was WWF, so I knew very little about the wrestling territories of the South. That said, even I knew of the legends that were the Von Erich brothers.
The Iron Claw is a straightforward account of the Von Erich brothers sans any of this flashback nonsense. Eldest son Kevin Von Erich (Zac Efron)…well second eldest…is following in the professional footsteps of his legendary father, Fritz Von Erich (Holt McCallany). Fritz is the owner of World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) and the creator of the deadly submission move, the Iron Claw.
To say the Von Erich family was dysfunctional would be an understatement. In Fritz’s eyes, his sons—Kevin, Kerry (Jeremy Allen White), David (Harris Dickinson), and Mike (Stanley Simons)—were going to follow his footsteps into the family business, or in the case of Kerry, go in a more prestigious direction—the Olympics. The boys loved, respected, and feared their father enough to comply…begrudgingly.
“To say the Von Erich family was dysfunctional would be an understatement.”
When the U.S. boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980, Kerry’s dream of Olympic gold was dashed, and he returned to Texas to join Kevin and David as the infamous Von Erichs. The heart of The Iron Claw is the story of brotherhood. The Von Erich boys were tight, but their family dynamic with the overbearing Fritz kept them at odds with one another. Fritz’s rankings for his favorite son may have been understood as a joke…until it wasn’t.
For son Michael, his passion was music. His devoutly religious mother, Doris (Maura Tierney), would not allow him to play with his band at a local bar. Kevin then meets his future wife, Pam (Lily James), and soon she becomes an observer of Kevin’s dual personality as Kevin the man versus Kevin the son of Fritz.
As the boys began to gel as a team. Their singular goal was to ultimately become the NWA World Champion. David was poised to take the title, and while on tour in Japan, David died due to internal bleeding…a condition he hid from his father before the tour.
"…one of the best movies of the year..."