The Daily Stream: André The Giant Documentary Proves He Truly Was The Eighth Wonder Of The World

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Movie: "André The Giant"

Where You Can Stream It: HBO Max

The Pitch: André René Roussimoff dazzled the world as André the Giant, a French professional wrestler and actor who towered over his opponents with his larger-than-life stature. Called "The Eighth Wonder of the World," André became a household celebrity as people all across the globe were fascinated by this living giant. As he gained more and more notoriety, André was plagued with a multitude of health issues, many stemming from merely existing in a world that wasn't built for someone of his size. Due to his unbelievable physique, André became a living legend, with the myth of his existence often overshadowing the real life human being underneath the singlet and wild hair. Roussimoff was a fascinating marvel by sheer will of existence, but the fact he could actually wrestle, and could throw men across the ring like rag dolls, turned him into a Goliath God among mere mortals. In this gripping documentary from HBO Sports, "André The Giant" gives an unflinching look at the truth behind the life of André the Giant, and remains one of the best (although imperfect) wrestling documentaries ever made.

Why it's essential viewing

Thanks to the internet allowing a view into celebrity lives unlike ever before, André the Giant very well may be the last great folk hero. The image of Roussimoff was titanic in nature by virtue of his size, wearing 22 size shoes, with hands that could cover an adult man's entire face, and a towering height rumored to be 7'4" before his numerous back surgeries, but everything else about him was also notoriously huge. He could throw around the 6-foot-8 Big John Studd like nothing, could easily drink a case of wine as a pre-game warm-up, and was said to rip farts that could clear out a whole room. There was no such thing as "go big or go home," because when it comes to André the Giant, big is home.

Unfortunately, this meant that the circumstances which led to his colossal size were ignored. Roussimoff was born with acromegaly, a rare condition where the body produces too much growth hormone, causing body tissues and bones to grow more quickly. Not only did André spend much of his life in the physically demanding and taxing world of professional wrestling, but he had to travel without any proper accommodations. "It'd be like having to sit on baby furniture for your entire life," Hulk Hogan describes. As much as André was beloved the world over, he was also seen as a "freak of nature" by those who were unfamiliar with him. In the doc, "Mean" Gene Okerlund recounts a few touching instances where he confesses André would be brought to tears by some of the hurtful comments from strangers, but he'd never let the public see him cry.

'It's not my fault being the biggest and the strongest'

It's important to acknowledge that WWE and Vince McMahon had a hand in this documentary, in the sense that Vince McMahon is interviewed and HBO obviously needed the permission of WWE to use archival footage that they owned. If you don't know anything about Vince McMahon, think of a billionaire comic book villain and you're in the right ballpark. The decline of André's health and well-being is portrayed in this documentary as an inevitable result of his genetic anomaly and self-medication through alcohol, which is true, but it ignores the way the company's working conditions likely also contributed to his untimely death. As he said as Fezzik in "The Princess Bride," it wasn't his fault that he was "the biggest and the strongest," but it was absolutely the fault of his employers for not keeping him safe ... and yes, that does include putting him in the match against Hulk Hogan at "Wrestlemania III." I said what I said.

André the Giant's legacy is one that sounds more apt for storybook characters, but the "André the Giant" documentary allows us all to get to know and love the man behind the myth.