“The Iron Claw” and the curse of the Von Erich’s

A recently released film, “The Iron Claw,” has captivated audiences with its portrayal of a family name cursed by tragedy within the wrestling community. Although it debuted in December 2023, the movie is now available on streaming platforms.

This movie dives into the competitive world of professional wrestling back in the early 1980s and focuses on the Von Erich family who were renowned for their feats of strength both in and out of the ring. There were six brothers in total, but the movie centers on four of the brothers, only mentioning Jack Jr., who passed when he was young, and not even mentioning Chris – the youngest Von Erich. The director felt these cuts were necessary due to the movie already being such a tragedy. 

The brothers seen during the movie (in order) include second-oldest son Kevin (played by Zac Efron,) David (played by Harris Dickinson,) Kerry (played by Jeremy Allen White) and Mike (played by Stanely Simons.) This movie highlights their time in the ring, as well as the brotherly rivalry and unending pressure from their father/coach that plagued them outside of the ring.

From the late 1940s through the early 1980s, different places in the country had their own regional wrestling programs, and all of which fell under the nationwide umbrella of the National Wrestling Association. Some of these wrestling hubs included cities like Tampa, Fla., Dallas, Texas and our very own Chicago, Ill.. You don’t have to know anything about the wrestling world to watch this movie. The storyline does a good job of explaining concepts and provides dates and context about the events, so it is easy to follow. 

The Von Erich family is deemed to have a “curse” because of the series of tragic deaths that occurred in the family between 1984 and 1993. It is mentioned several times throughout the film, but the curse seems to be a lack of mental health awareness. This is seen by the unfortnate truth of three out of the six brothers committed suicide, Jack Jr. – the eldest son died at the age of six due to an accident and David died from internal bleeding from an unknown wrestling injury. 

There is currently only one Von Erich brother alive today and that is Kevin. While the movie is incredibly sad and tragic, it pays tribute to the brothers and in the way that it portrays their stories, and stresses the importance of getting help when it is needed and not when it’s too late. 

This film received a 7.8/10 from IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 89 percent. Personally, this film deserves a 9/10, and the only thing that could’ve made it better is if all of the brothers were included in the film, but I understand why they would not be included in the already tragedy-filled storyline. 

“The Iron Claw” is a true story put into film, and it has a deeper meaning than just portraying what happened to the Von Erich family. It talks about the ideas of masculinity and what is told to boys about what makes them a man. It highlights the love and camaraderie among the brothers, and also the importance of mental health awareness. If anything, viewers should take away the lesson that it is always okay to take a step back from doing too much. 

Photo Credit: IMDb

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