Hitman Hart: Wrestling With Shadows (1998)

(On TV, August 1999) A documentary about wrestling? Yes, and a darn good one. Beyond simply exploring the fascinating “sports/entertainment” business of wrestling (and settling once and for all the question Is-Wrestling-Fake?), Wrestling With Shadows details the real-life sordid business surrounding the fall of Bret “Hitman” Hart, the Canadian “good guy” wrestler forced into “bad guy” status by World Wrestling Federation honcho Vince McMahon and then unceremoniously fired—all in the name of ratings. The documentary is very well-done and incredibly managed to obtain actual proof of McMahon’s duplicity. Wrap this up in the carnival spirit of wrestling shows, and you’ve got a documentary that almost has it all. Though overlong in spots (during flashbacks to Hart’s family history, for instance), Wrestling With Shadows is certainly one of the best documentary I’ve seen in a while, and should appeal to a variety of viewers not necessarily fascinated by wrestling.

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