Over the Top (film)

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Over the Top
Overthetop.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMenahem Golan
Produced byMenahem Golan
Yoram Globus
Screenplay byStirling Silliphant
Sylvester Stallone
Story byGary Conway
David Engelbach
StarringSylvester Stallone
Robert Loggia
Susan Blakely
Rick Zumwalt
David Mendenhall
Music byGiorgio Moroder
CinematographyDavid Gurfinkel
Editing byJames R. Symons
Don Zimmerman
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
(United States)
The Cannon Group, Inc.
(International)
Release datesFebruary 13, 1987
Running time93 min.
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$25,000,000 (est.)
Box office$16,057,580 (US) [1]
 
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Over the Top
Overthetop.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMenahem Golan
Produced byMenahem Golan
Yoram Globus
Screenplay byStirling Silliphant
Sylvester Stallone
Story byGary Conway
David Engelbach
StarringSylvester Stallone
Robert Loggia
Susan Blakely
Rick Zumwalt
David Mendenhall
Music byGiorgio Moroder
CinematographyDavid Gurfinkel
Editing byJames R. Symons
Don Zimmerman
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
(United States)
The Cannon Group, Inc.
(International)
Release datesFebruary 13, 1987
Running time93 min.
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$25,000,000 (est.)
Box office$16,057,580 (US) [1]

Over the Top is a 1987 action drama film starring Sylvester Stallone. It was produced and directed by Menahem Golan, and its screenplay was written by Stirling Silliphant and Stallone. The original music score was composed by Giorgio Moroder. The main character, played by Stallone, is a long-haul truck driver who tries to win back his alienated son while becoming a champion arm wrestler.

Plot[edit]

Lincoln Hawk is a struggling trucker who arm wrestles on the side to make extra cash while trying to rebuild his life. Hawk's estranged wife Christina, who is very ill, asks that Hawk pick up their son Michael from military school so that the two of them can get to know each other; Hawk had left them 10 years earlier. Michael's controlling grandfather Jason Cutler, a wealthy man who hates Hawk and disapproved of his daughter's relationship with him, believes that Hawk has no right to be in his grandson's life. Mike is very distrusting and bitter towards Hawk initially and treats him with contempt at every turn.

Over the course of a trip from Colorado to California, Mike comes to trust Hawk, especially after Hawk rescues Mike from kidnappers (who were actually goons hired by Cutler to retrieve Mike). However, when they arrive at the hospital, Hawk is despondent to learn they have arrived too late; as Christina died in surgery earlier that day. Feeling he would have been there with her if not for Hawk, Mike leaves for his grandfather's estate. An attempt to retrieve Mike ends with Hawk being arrested for trespassing when he resorts to ramraiding after being turned away from Cutler's gated mansion. Mike visits his father in jail and forgives him, but tells Hawk that he feels more secure living with his grandfather.

After his release, Hawk leaves to compete in the World Arm Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas. His hope is to win the grand prize of $100,000 and an expensive new custom semi-truck and thus start his own trucking company. Hawk is a clear underdog, having a size disadvantage over just about every other participant, including his old rival Bull Hurley, who is the odds-on favorite. When he arrives, he sells his truck for $7,000 and uses the money to place a bet on himself to win the contest. Meanwhile, Mike finds all the letters that Hawk had sent over the years and realizes that his grandfather has been hiding the truth about his father from him. Cutler did everything possible to drive his parents apart and had been intercepting and hiding the regular letters Hawk had written to him.

During a break before the final match, Cutler summons Hawk to his presidential suite and tells him that he's always been a loser, but offers Hawk a way out and a chance for a fresh start: $500,000 and a top of the line semi (even better than the contest's grand prize) on the condition that he turn over custody of Mike and stay out of their lives, but Hawk refuses and leaves. Mike, stunned by his grandfather's deceptions, gets himself to Las Vegas and finds Hawk. Apologizing for misjudging him, Mike gives Hawk the emotional support he needs to compete and he emerges from the contest victorious over Hurley in the finals. As father and son celebrate, Cutler (who had followed Mike to the competition) looks on in silence and with grudging respect for all that Hawk sacrificed to get Mike back. A triumphant Hawk and Mike take their new truck and winnings and start their own business as planned. Just before the ending scene credits, Hawk asks Mike to go back into the building while he starts up the truck to "grab the trophy" in which he "forgot". Mike excitedly charges back inside the building to grab a trophy that isn't even there, only to return to Hawk to find out that his father has yet again abandoned him. As the credits roll, you see a victorious Hawk screaming and cheering with joy while blowing the new truck horn, and screaming out the window "I'm ABANDONING YOU!!!"

Production[edit]

The military academy scenes, portrayed as being in Colorado, were filmed at Pomona College in Claremont, California, during the early summer of 1986. The Kirkeby mansion at 750 Bel Air Road, Los Angeles (also the home of the Clampett family on the CBS comedy The Beverly Hillbillies) was used to portray the Cutler estate.

Sylvester Stallone was paid $12 million to star in Over The Top.[citation needed]

Cast[edit]

David Mendenhall won two Razzies, for worst supporting actor and new star. Multi-time world arm wrestling champion and future professional wrestler Scott Norton also makes an appearance.[2] Professional Armwrestler John Brzenk also makes an appearance.

Reception[edit]

The film received negative reviews from critics. It currently holds a 36% "Rotten" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The World Journal Film Reviewer Frank Ochieng stated "Stallone, for whatever inexplicable reason, continues to pile on the dramatic dribble in yet another pointless movie mishap".

The film received three nominations at the 8th Golden Raspberry Awards in 1988, with David Mendenhall winning 2 for both Worst Supporting Actor and Worst New Star while Sylvester Stallone was nominated for Worst Actor.

Soundtrack[edit]

A soundtrack album was released in 1987 to coincide with the release of the movie. It contains music from Frank Stallone, Kenny Loggins (who performs the film's central theme, "Meet Me Half Way"), Eddie Money, and Sammy Hagar. John Wetton, lead singer of the rock group Asia, sang "Winner Takes It All" for the movie, but after performing the song, it was felt that his voice wasn't "mean" enough, so the song was offered to Hagar, whose version, featuring a bass guitar solo from Hagar's then-bandmate Edward Van Halen, ended up being the one on the soundtrack. Asia is credited for the track "Gypsy Soul", but Wetton is the only Asia member who actually contributed to the song.

The track listing is:

  1. "Winner Takes It All" – Sammy Hagar
  2. "In This Country" – Robin Zander
  3. "Take It Higher" – Larry Greene
  4. "All I Need Is You" – Big Trouble
  5. "Bad Nite" – Frank Stallone
  6. "Meet Me Half Way" – Kenny Loggins
  7. "Gypsy Soul" – Asia
  8. "The Fight (Instrumental)" – Giorgio Moroder
  9. "Mind Over Matter" – Larry Greene
  10. "I Will Be Strong" – Eddie Money

Stallone appears in the video for "Winner Takes It All," wrestling Hagar at the end of the video. Hagar says in his video commentary on the DVD The Long Road to Cabo that he wasn't crazy about the song. Hagar says that Stallone gave him his black cap at the end of the shoot, both signed it, and the cap went to charity, fetching around $10,000.

Release[edit]

Over the Top was released in 1,758 theaters and opened in 4th place for the weekend, earning $5,149,200.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

Both the arm-wrestling scenes (parodied by Bart as King David arm-wrestling with sheep to "Winner Takes It All") are used in the eighteenth episode of the tenth season of The Simpsons.

The Cartoon Network show, Regular Show features an episode named "Over the Top" which features a plot about arm wrestling.

"Hamhocks and Armlocks", an episode of Dexter's Laboratory references the film.

In Nickelodeon's live-action popular show iCarly's episode "iGot a Hot Room", the film is referenced.

Professional wrestler Colt Cabana has been outspoken about his love for the film, naming it his favorite movie in an episode of his podcast which was based on the film, with fellow professional wrestler Cliff Compton.

The film is referenced in a season 2 episode of the The O.C. entitled, "The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't."

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Over the Top (1987) – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  2. ^ "Online World of Wrestling". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  3. ^ "Stallone Loses A Box-office Arm-wrestle". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-02. 

External links[edit]