Bigger, Stronger, Faster*
|Bigger, Stronger, Faster*|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Christopher Bell|
|Produced by||Alexander Buono
|Written by||Christopher Bell
|Music by||Dave Porter|
|Edited by||Brian Singbiel|
|Distributed by||Madman Films|
Bigger, Stronger, Faster* is a 2008 documentary film directed by Christopher Bell, about the use of anabolic steroids as performance-enhancing drugs in the United States and how this practice relates to the American Dream. The film had its world premiere on January 19, 2008 at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. The film was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2008, and opened in limited release in the United States on May 30, 2008.
The * in the title refers to how athletes who are implicated in using performance-enhancing drugs have their records postfixed by an asterisk (*). The title itself refers to the Olympic motto: "Faster, higher, stronger", also a play on WWE's wrestlemania theme "Bigger, Better, Badder". The tagline also evokes the lines of the opening sequence of The Six Million Dollar Man, "Better, Stronger, Faster."
The documentary examines the steroid use of director Christopher Bell's two brothers, Smelly and Mad Dog, who all grew up idolizing Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hulk Hogan, and Sylvester Stallone, and also features professional athletes, medical experts, fitness center members, and US Congressmen talking about the issue of anabolic steroids.
Beyond the basic issue of anabolic steroid use, Bigger, Stronger, Faster* examines the lack of consistency in how the US views drugs, cheating, and the lengths people go to achieve success. The film looks beyond the steroid issue to such topics as Tiger Woods' laser eye correction to 20/15 vision, professional musicians use of blood pressure reducing drugs, or athletes' dependence on cortisone shots, which are a legal steroid. It takes a skeptical view of the health risks of steroids and is critical of the legal health supplement industry.
Christopher Bell on steroid regulation: "If you look at all the laws in our country, and at how and why things get banned, they don’t actually fit into that category: They’re not addictive, they don’t actually kill people. I don’t condone the stuff, but after three years of researching this, it seems like we should take another look." 
The film received highly positive reviews from critics. It received three out of four stars in People magazine and was marked as a 'Critic's Choice' pick (63/65 Fresh). Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 80 out of 100, based on 17 reviews.
Stephen Holden of The New York Times released a positive review shortly before the film's release, noting that it takes a look at steroid use from numerous perspectives and that "[a]lthough the movie doesn't defend steroid use, neither does it go on the attack." Holden said that the film "left [him] convinced that the steroid scandals will abate as the drugs are reluctantly accepted as inevitable products of a continuing revolution in biotechnology. Replaceable body parts, plastic surgery, anti-depressants, Viagra and steroids are just a few of the technological advancements in a never-ending drive to make the species superhuman."
On December 14, 2008, Mike Bell, brother of the director Chris Bell, who was prominently featured in the film, died at 37. Christian Boeving, whose appearance in the film included the admission of steroid use, was later fired by his sponsor, MuscleTech.
The DVD version of the film was released on September 30, 2008.
- "2008 Sundance Film Festival Announces Films in Competition" (PDF). 2007-11-28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
- "Bigger, Stronger, Faster* Sundance 2008 profile". sundance.org. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- "Bigger, Stronger, Faster* (2008) - Release dates". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- "Bigger, Stronger, Faster* (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- "Bigger, Stronger, Faster* Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- Holden, Stephen (30 May 2008). "Steroid Myth, Scandals and Dreams". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- Ebert, Robert (6 June 2008). "Bigger, Stronger, Faster". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 30 August 2012.