The following post contains SPOILERS for The Iron Claw — but really they’re just the actual historical events detailed in the movie.

Pro wrestling is at its best when it blurs the line between fantasy and reality. The fights are staged and predetermined, but sometimes the animosity between the opponents can get very real, and the storylines are often inspired by elements of the participants’ lives. The more real the matches and their stakes feels, the more the audience invests.

So you could argue that whatever the inaccuracies in the wrestling movie The Iron Claw, it is only taking its cues from its subject. The film depicts the lives of the Von Erichs, a family of Texas wrestlers who rose to national stardom in the 1980s thanks to their infectious energy, boundless charisma, and their convincing true-life wrestling storylines. In the ring, the Von Erichs (including Kevin, played by Zac Efron, and Kerry, played by Jeremy Allen White) essentially played themselves: A tight-knit crew of brothers who had each others backs through thick and thin.

Of course, the reality of the Von Erichs was not always so simple — and the same could be said of The Iron Claw’s version of the family as well. Below, we’ll go through all of the things the movie accurately portrays, and all of the things it fudges for the sake of telling a cinematic story — primarily all of the details it leaves out, some of which are even more astounding than the stuff depicted onscreen.

‘The Iron Claw’: Separating Fact From Fiction

The Iron Claw tells the unbelievable true story of the Von Erich family, a dynasty of wrestlers who were hugely popular in the 1980s before suffering a series of horrible tragedies. But what in the movie is real? What is fiction? And what was left out? Keep reading...

READ MORE: ScreenCrush’s The Iron Claw Review

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