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Film: Over the Top
The world meets nobody halfway.

1987 drama and action film produced and directed by Menahem Golan and starring Sylvester Stallone as Lincoln Hawk, a truck driver who is also a famed arm wrestler. Having walked out on his wife and son years ago, Lincoln is asked by his wife now in the hospital to take his son Michael home to see her before her surgery. At first Michael and Lincoln are like oil and water. Lincoln makes an honest attempt to bond. Michael eventually softens, until he gets home to learn that the mom died from complications and custody is being fought over by the his grandfather, who hates Lincoln's guts. Lincoln decides to put all his money on the line in a Vegas arm wrestling showdown to start over again. At some point Michael realizes that Lincoln truly does love him.

Panned by critics and barely turning a profit at the box office, the film has a great camp quality to it and does have its fans. The film really tries to make Stallone a super underdog a la Rocky to recapture some of that film series' magic.


This film provides examples of:

  • Awesome McCoolname:
    • Lincoln Hawk
    • Bob "Bull" Hurley
    • Harry Bosco
    • The Smasher
    • John Grizzly
      • Shit, every arm wrestler has a cool name in this flick.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Michael, Lincoln's son, is a little know it all who has no problems acting out and being unlikable no matter how much we are supposed to sympathize with him.
  • Casual Car Giveaway: The classic "You can't park there/You keep it" exchange pops up when Michael drives himself to the airport and ditches a truck. In the Rifftrax commentary for the movie, Mike Nelson helpfully informs listeners that "You can't park there/You keep it" exchanges are legally binding contracts in over 15 states.
  • Catchphrase: "The world meets no one halfway."
  • Chekhov's Skill: Good thing Lincoln taught Michael how to drive.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Pretty much every arm wrestler, especially during the film's climax (see Ham-to-Ham Combat below).
  • Cool Car: Lincoln's semi.
    • The Volvo tractor truck at the end is pretty nice, too.
  • Covers Always Lie: Looking at the poster at the top of this page, one would probably be surprised to find out that this is not a typical Stallone action flick. It's actually a lot like Kramer Vs. Kramer, only with ARM WRESTLING!
  • Disappeared Dad: Lincoln has been on the road for most of his son's life, driving a truck and arm wrestling. Subverted in that he regularly wrote to his son and wife, double subverted in that Michael never got any of his dad's letters. No solid reason is ever given for Lincoln's estrangement; when asked, he merely says "I made some mistakes."
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Come on, the final showdown between Bull and Lincoln for the world championship, extreme closeups of each man grunting and sweating and screaming in slow motion! That was a total ham-off!
    • Pretty much all the arm wrestling matches, in fact. There seems to be a major psychological warfare aspect to professional arm wrestling.
  • I Gave My Word: Lincoln agrees to his sick wife's wishes to meet his estranged son, even though the son hasn't seen or heard from Lincoln in a long time or the fact that the Grandfather hates Lincoln, Lincoln is going to see this through.
  • Jerk Ass: Jason Cutler, wanting to be around Michael and hating Lincoln because of him leaving is understandable, nevertheless, hiding all of Lincoln's letters to Michael(and letting Michael think his father didn't care about him) and trying to kidnap Michael was a pretty rotten thing to do and makes him very unlikeable, so it's hard to really feel bad for him.
  • Large Ham: Bull Hurley, several of the opposing arm wrestlers in fact like Grizzly, but Bull is the biggest (no pun intended) example.
  • Masochist's Meal: John Grizzly swallows a lit cigar and drinks motor oil before his matches with Lincoln. He needed some Alka-Seltzer afterwards.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Arm wrestling!
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever it was that caused Hawk to leave his family.
  • Secret Weapon: "Over the Top!" Lincoln's method of gaining leverage in some of his arm wrestling matches by slipping his fingers over the opponents.
  • Title Drop: It refers to the Secret Weapon listed above and is said throughout the movie.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: Well, Lincoln is played by Sylvester Stallone, so...
  • Unusual Euphemism: Bull Hurley keeps the movie at a respectable PG rating by twice swapping in the word "shit" where an F-bomb would have made more sense.
    "He's got no shittin' business being here."
    "Gimme your shittin' arm!!"
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Inverted: Lincoln spends most of the movie trying to win his son's respect.

OverboardFilms of the 1980sPinocchio and the Emperor of the Night

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