pumping iron II: the women

1985

As Liz Smith wrote, "this film has blood, sweat, tears, and plenty of muscle." Pumping Iron II focuses on five top female bodybuilders — Rachel McLish, Bev Francis, Lori Bowen, Carla Dunlap, and Lydia Cheng — each armed with an iron determination as they prepare for the Caesar's Palace World Cup Championship. The interesting thing about this movie is that it showed that women could actually develop muscles (rippling, cut muscles), something that had never happened before on earth.

Pumping Iron II changed women's sports forever. Soon, the bodybuilders from the movie were training professional tennis players and other world-class athletes whose new strength allowed them to outperform their weaker competitors. The influence this movie and its predecessor Pumping Iron had is quite extraordinary.

"I've seen the movie twice. It's going to change the way women look at themselves and the way we're looked at forever." — Gloria Steinem

"***1/2. Surprising … One awfully good piece of entertainment." — Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune

"Proposes that bodybuilding is an option within which women can choose whether they want to be merely taut or rippingly tough." — Annette Insdorf, Los Angeles Times

"It may not be long before women like Bev Francis become the models for women who believe strength in no way compromises femininity." — Mark Strand, Vogue

"***1/2 … Fascinating." — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"Wildly entertaining." — Stephen Schiff, Vanity Fair

"Pumping Iron II is better and funnier than its popular predecessor." — Richard Corliss, Time