Pumping Iron II: The Women

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Pumping Iron II: The Women
Pumping iron 2 the women.jpg
Directed by George Butler
Produced by George Butler
Written by George Butler
Charles Gaines
Starring Bev Francis
Rachel McLish
Steve Michalik
Distributed by Cinecom Pictures
Release date
  • May 3, 1985 (1985-05-03)
Running time
107 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Pumping Iron II: The Women is a 1985 documentary film about female bodybuilding, focusing on several women as they prepare for and compete in the 1983 Caesars World Cup.[1]


Pumping Iron II was made as a follow-up to the groundbreaking 1977 film Pumping Iron.[2][3] The Caesars World Cup was a contest created specifically for the film. The competitors were a mix of professional and amateur bodybuilders, which was actually a violation of IFBB rules. Charles Gaines, one of the writers of the film, was included on the contest's judging panel. He was interviewed for the movie but not identified, and had never previously seen a female bodybuilding contest.

Pumping Iron II has been criticized for not providing an honest look at the sport.[4][5][6][7][8][9] The 1985 production focuses primarily on Bev Francis and Rachel McLish. Francis was actually a world champion powerlifter with no bodybuilding experience (though she later became one of the top competitors in the sport in the late 1980s). She arrived in the US and was trained during filming by 1972 AAU Mr. America, Steve Michalik, who also guest posed in the film. Francis was easily the most muscular woman in the contest, but lacked the "feminine" physique of female bodybuilders of the time, and finished only eighth. McLish, a two-time Ms. Olympia winner, was the most successful woman in the sport's history at that time. Though she had done more than any other woman to popularize the sport, the producers chose to portray her as the "villain".[citation needed]

Other bodybuilders featured in the film include Kris Alexander, Lori Bowen, Lydia Cheng, Gladys Portugues, and the contest winner, Carla Dunlap. The film was based on the book Pumping Iron II: The Unprecedented Woman.

The film was released on DVD April 8, 2003 by distributor Central Park Media. As of January, 2009, the DVD of this movie is out of print.


  1. ^ "Summer of '85: The Strongest Femme in the World: Pumping Iron II: The Women | The House Next Door". Slant Magazine. 2010-07-31. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  2. ^ "Moving Beyond Words: Essays on Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles ... - Gloria Steinem - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. 2012-05-15. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  3. ^ Deford, Frank (1985-05-13). "'Pumping Iron Ii' Is An Intriguing Film That Examines Women Bodybuilders". Si.com. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  4. ^ Benson, Sheila (May 24, 1985). "Movie Review: 'Pumping Iron II' And A View Of Strong Women". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  5. ^ Maslin, Janet (1985-05-03). "Movie Review - - Film: 'Pumping Iron Ii: The Women'". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  6. ^ "Women Bodybuilders Wrestle With Image Problems - tribunedigital-chicagotribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. 1987-08-16. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  7. ^ Siskel, Gene (May 31, 1985). "`Pumping Iron II` Develops Human Side Of Bodybuilding". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (1985-05-31). "Pumping Iron II: The Women Movie Review (1985)". Roger Ebert. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  9. ^ Variety Staff (1984-12-31). "Pumping Iron II – The Women". Variety. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 

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