Performance and image-enhancing drugs in popular culture (Films)

pop culture feature


Stallone, S. (Director). (1985). Rocky IV [United Artists]. United States

Rocky prepares to fight Russian boxer Drago to avenge the death of his best friend Apollo Creed. To prepare for the match, Drago uses steroids.

Ward, DS. (Director). (1993). The Program [Touchstone Pictures]. United States

The Program follows a college football team as they struggle to deal with different social and family pressures. One of the defence players, Steve Lattimer, uses steroids, with violent side effects.

Thurber, RM. (Director). (2004). Dodgeball [Red Hour Films]. United States

In this comedy, a group of misfits enter a dodgeball tournament to save their local gym from a corporate take-over. Bernice, an opposing player from the girls scouts team tests positive for anabolic steroids and beaver tranquiliser. She is depicted as well-built, with hairy arms and a deep voice.

Segal, P. (Director). (2005). The Longest Yard [MTV Films, Happy Madison Productions & Paramount Pictures]. United States

A former NFL player goes to jail and helps form an inmate team to play against the guards. The inmates change the guards’ anabolic steroid pills to estrogen, which results in the guard’s behaviour becoming effeminate.

Aronofsky, D. (Director). (2008). The Wrestler [Wild Bunch & Protozoa Pictures]. United States

This golden globe winning sports drama film is about Randy, an ageing professional wrestler, who agrees to a high profile 20th anniversary rematch with his primary opponent. As Randy intensifies his training, he purchases a variety of steroids in the locker room and injects them.

Frears, S. (Director). (2015). The Program [Anton Capital, Entertainment & Working Title]. United States

A sports journalist searches for evidence to prove that Lance Armstrong’s winning performances in the Tour de France are fuelled by banned substances.