Cheers For “American Wrestler: The Wizard”, A True Underdog to Champion Film

I always laugh when anyone tells me someone is an “overnight success”, because nothing could be further from the truth. What they fail to see is the years of hard work, failures, perseverance and sheer determination that fueled the success they see. The successful person they see did not arrive at that level overnight. That false perception, is what causes so many to give up and quit pursuing their dream when they don’t see immediate results.

If you delve into the life of any successful person, you will find out just how hard they had to work, and all the challenges they had to rise above to reach their goals. As a parent, one of the things I stress the most with my children, is the importance of having a “failure is not an option” attitude if they want to reach their goals, because things will get hard. If a person doesn’t have that type of attitude, it is easy to give up, so it is important to know, failing is not a bad thing.

Failures can be great things even blessings because, they show us what is not working and give us time to readjust our sails and find a better way. A failure is not an indication that we should give up our dream, it is just a detour, a time to regroup and rethink our strategy. We often learn, that are failures are just a catalyst that help us find a better way. The only way to truly fail is to give up an quit.

The story of someone who faces extreme adversity and achieves great success is very empowering and uplifting. How many of us like to root for the underdog? Most of us do, and that is why movies with that type of plot are so popular. This weekend we sat down to watch American Wrestler: The Wizard, a movie based on the life of Ali Afshar.


In the film 17-year-old Ali Jahani, escapes certain death in the mine fields of Iran by relocating to a small town in California and living with his uncle.

The film takes place in the late 70’s and Ali faces a great deal of bullying and discrimination in his new school and community. He also finds himself at odds with his uncle one night, causing him to storm off into the night. Walking around town he goes up to the school and watches a wrestling match. Since he was too small for football and too short for basketball, Ali tries out for the wrestling team and makes it.

Making the team ends up being his saving grace in more ways than one. The first way it helps Ali, is that it creates common ground between him and his uncle. Ali’s uncle was going to send him back to Iran until he saw that Ali made the wrestling team. When his uncle hears Ali made the team, he tells him that he was a wrestler and begins to train Ali. Ali is thrilled that he gets to stay in the United States and begins to build a bond with his uncle through training.

Working hard and training hard, Ali becomes a star on the wrestling team and earns himself the admiration and respect of his teammates. All of that is shattered by following a tragic piece of advice his uncle offered. When all seemed to be lost, he found a way to rise above a desperate situation and once again regain his place as a star of the wrestling team. Ali’s uncle also found acceptance as the associate coach and mentor to not only Ali but all the boys on the team.

Things were going so well, until out of nowhere, tragedy strikes. Ali’s world is turned upside down, but he has to stay strong and find a way to not only succeed but to triumph above everything. This movie had us on the edge of our seat at the end rooting for Ali in one of his biggest challenges. This inspirational film drives home the message, that you can’t give up when things get tough.

The actor who plays Ali’s uncle is none other than, Ali Afshar himself.  The movie also stars Jon Voight, William Fichtner and George Kosturos as Ali. You can buy this movie now and learn more on the film’s website. Let me know if you have seen this movie or if you have plans to. I would love to hear what you thought about it.





Filed under Family, Movies, Review

2 Responses to Cheers For “American Wrestler: The Wizard”, A True Underdog to Champion Film

  1. Janet W.

    I’d love to watch this movie with my husband. What a great line up of actors!

  2. Leela

    Sounds like a good movie.

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