The Iron Claw — A Zack Efron’s Wrestling drama of Sorrowness

The Iron Claw

“The Iron Claw,” directed by Sean Durkin and starring Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, and Lily James, dramatizes the Von Ehrich family’s tragic journey in wrestling during the 70s and 80s. While it effectively portrays their struggles, the film is critiqued for not fully exploring the family’s deeper aspects, which could have added significant impact to their story.

In The Iron Claw, the focus is on Kevin Von Ehrich (Zac Efron), the oldest brother in a family pushed into wrestling by their father. His brothers David, Kerry, and Mike join him in wrestling, but the family faces ongoing tragedies. The film captures their almost-successful struggles, but doesn’t quite reach its potential in showcasing the family’s full story, leaving it feeling incomplete despite its strong elements.

The Iron Claw release date

The Iron Claw is set to release in the US on December 22 in theaters. The movie will have an international release in early 2024. The film has been nominated for Best Ensemble Cast at the BSFC Awards and won Top Films and Best Ensemble at the NBR Awards 2023.

The Iron Claw trailer

More about the movie

In the film, Stanley Simons impressively portrays Mike, the youngest Von Ehrich brother, whose distinct characteristics and tragic arc stand out. His performance is a highlight, leaving audiences eager for more of Simons. James and Tierney deliver steady performances, though their roles are less central. McCallany’s portrayal of the family’s stubborn father is noteworthy and likely to draw significant attention.

The Iron Claw” portrays the downfall of the Von Ehrich family as stemming from a toxic belief in stoicism and emotional suppression, rather than a curse feared by Kevin (played by Efron). This mindset’s damaging effects on the family are clearly shown throughout the film. The movie concludes with a scene that overtly emphasizes this theme, which, although it doesn’t spoil the film, somewhat diminishes the subtlety of director Sean Durkin’s earlier, more nuanced moments.

Sean Durkin’s direction shines in the wrestling match scenes of “The Iron Claw,” where the Von Ehrich brothers’ bond and enjoyment are evident. These scenes, highlighting their camaraderie, make one wish for more such moments, which could have amplified the emotional impact later in the movie. Overall, “The Iron Claw” is somewhat disappointing, failing to fully harness the cast’s talent and Durkin’s capabilities, resulting in a movie that doesn’t quite achieve its potential, much like the story it tells.

The Iron Claw hype on Twitter

What are the critics saying about The Iron Claw?

According to Amelia Emberwing from IGN, The Iron Claw demonstrates a kind of love in its storytelling that is honest and unflinching. It presents the wrestling industry in its entirety – the good, bad, and harsh realities. This approach reflects a broader truth about both the world of wrestling and its surrounding culture, recognizing its growth since the 1970s and acknowledging the progress yet to be made.

Caryn James from BBC wrote that Fritz encourages his son Kerry (played by White) to join the family’s wrestling business, and Kerry seems eager, though his true thoughts are unclear. David (played by Dickinson) excels in crafting a vibrant wrestling character, highlighting the sport’s emphasis on showmanship alongside physical prowess. The narrative also forces Michael (played by Stanley Simons), the sensitive youngest brother, into wrestling. The film omits a fifth brother from the real-life story and is heavy on exposition.

The cast of The Iron Claw

  1. Zac Efron as Kevin Von Erich – Zac Efron rose to fame with the “High School Musical” trilogy and went on to star in films like “Hairspray” (2007), “17 Again” (2009), “The Lucky One” (2012), “The Paperboy” (2012), “Neighbors” (2014), “Dirty Grandpa” (2016), “Baywatch” (2017), and “The Greatest Showman” (2017). He also played Ted Bundy in “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” (2019)​.
  2. Jeremy Allen White as Kerry Von Erich – Jeremy Allen White is best known for his role as Lip Gallagher in the television series “Shameless.”
  3. Harris Dickinson as David Von Erich – Harris Dickinson has appeared in movies like “Beach Rats” and “The Darkest Minds.”
  4. Maura Tierney as Doris Von Erich – Maura Tierney is known for her roles in “ER,” “The Affair,” and films like “Liar Liar” and “Primal Fear.”
  5. Grady Wilson as Young Kevin – Information about Grady Wilson’s notable works is limited.
  6. Valentine Newcomer as Young David – Information about Valentine Newcomer’s notable works is limited.
  7. Holt McCallany as Fritz Von Erich – Holt McCallany is known for his roles in “Fight Club,” “Three Kings,” and the TV series “Mindhunter.”
  8. Scott Innes as Ring Announcer – Scott Innes is recognized for his voice work in various “Scooby-Doo” projects, where he voiced Scooby-Doo and Shaggy Rogers.
  9. Others

Who is the director of The Iron Claw?

Sean Durkin has directed and wrote the film. He is best known for The Nest, Mary Last Seen, and The Rental.

What is the genre of The Iron Claw?

The movie is in the biography and drama genre.

What is the filming location of The Iron Claw?

The film was shot in multiple locations in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.

Who is the producer of The Iron Claw?

The film is produced by Tessa Ross, Juliette Howell, Angus Lamont, Sean Durkin and Derrin Schlesinger.

What is the runtime of The Iron Claw?

The film is 132 minutes long.

Wrap Up

If you are into wrestling and know the tag-team champions Marshall and Ross Von Erich, this movie is a must-watch. The film will be available in theaters in the USA starting December 22, 2023, and will be released internationally in early 2024.


Written by Mickel Clark

Mickel is a streaming aficionado who loves nothing more than to pen down his thoughts about the movies, anime and TV shows he has watched and likes sharing hacks on how to stream them online.