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Rocky [1976 film] by John G. Avildsen
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Rocky [1976 film]

by John G. Avildsen (Director), Sylvester Stallone (Screenwriter/Actor)

Other authors: Bill Conti (Composer), Burgess Meredith (Actor), Talia Shire (Actor), Carl Weathers (Actor), Burt Young (Actor)

Series: Rocky Movie (1)

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1725107,653 (3.93)None
Rocky Balboa, the underdog, gets his million-to-one shot at love, self-respect and the world heavyweight boxing crown and comes out a winner.

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Showing 4 of 4
Rocky (1976)

Sylvester Stallone – Rocky

Talia Shire – Adrian
Burt Young – Paulie
Carl Weathers – Apollo
Burgess Meredith – Mickey
Joe Spinell – Gazzo

Screenplay by Sylvester Stallone
Directed by John G. Avildsen

Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios, 2012. Colour. 114 min. DD 5.1. 1:85:1. Bonus: audio commentary by director and producers; video commentary by Sylvester Stallone (28:52); behind the scenes with John Avildsen (11:53); tributes to Burgess Meredith (7:25) and James Crabe (3:27).

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‘Cause I was thinkin’, it really don’t matter if I lose this fight. It really don’t matter if this guy opens my head, either. ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood.

This is by far the best boxing movie of all time. (Don’t even think of mentioning Raging Bull!) Do you know why? Because it has virtually nothing to do with boxing. It is the ultimate underdog story and one of the most unusual romances ever put on the screen. Above all, it’s a brilliant character study.

It’s a shame Stallone lost the silly little statuette for Best Original Screenplay. Network is a terrific movie, but script-wise it’s inferior to this one. None of its characters has become iconic. Rocky, the ultimate underdog, is nothing if not iconic. He is more than that. He is “just another bum from the neighbourhood” on the surface but much tougher and much kinder underneath. Either this character was very close to the author or the author was a truly great actor, but Stallone punched Rocky for all he was worth. And then some! It’s a smashing performance. The Stinking House soliloquy is worth the price of admission.

But the other characters are just as memorable. Call them stereotypes if you like, but the shy damsel in brotherly distress (Adrian), the crusty old opportunist with a soft spot for goodness (Mickey), the abusive sibling afraid of showing the least kindness (Paulie) and the ultimate self-promoter who means (show) business (Apollo) are stereotypes we have all met, haven’t we? All these characters are superbly written and even better acted, proving yet again that you don’t need big budget and big director to make a great movie. You need fine writing and fine acting.

The only letdown is the very ending. It makes sense that a simple-minded creature like Rocky should think and call for Adrian after that gruelling ordeal against Apollo. She is not one of those women what “weaken the legs”. She has been indispensable for his success. And that final hug is touching. But it should have been wordless. I for one could have done without the stupid harping on the most often used and least truthful words in every language. I suppose that’s what the public wants. But what’s the use of making movies if you aren’t going to be at least a little subversive? Give the audience something true instead of something convenient. I wish Stallone had shown Rocky’s punch power in this case, or rather Rocky’s ability to endure punches.

That quibble aside, Rocky still packs a hard punch all those years later. If you haven’t seen it, then see it. If you have, see it again. By all means forget all sequels. Even the worst (V) is watchable. Even the best (II) has nothing like the haunting power of the original. ( )
1 vote Waldstein | Nov 1, 2019 |
Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer, gets a supremely rare chance to fight heavy-weight champion Apollo Creed in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect. (IMDb) ( )
  DrLed | Nov 4, 2017 |
The heavyweight champion gives a local Philadelphia boxer a chance to fight him.

It's not about boxing; that’s more like the setting. Rocky and Adrian, especially Adrian, are the kind of characters that you hardly ever see movies about, at least not in a romantic story, which is a shame because it's so pleasant to watch them.

Concept: B
Story: A
Characters: A
Dialog: A
Pacing: A
Cinematography: B
Special effects/design: A
Acting: A
Music: B

Enjoyment: A plus

GPA: 3.8/4 ( )
  comfypants | Feb 6, 2016 |
I missed this when it came out and am now seeing it 35 years later. I was surprised to learn that it was written by Stallone, filmed for 1 mi. and done in a little over a month. Excellent, no doubt about this, but seems dated, a bit slow. All that time skating around the ice skating rink just to set the background in dialogue. I had just seen Saturday Night Fever, that had many similar lower middle class Italisnisms, but SNF was far sharper, dialogue, plot, even the more explicit sexuality. ( )
  carterchristian1 | May 7, 2010 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Avildsen, John G.Directorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stallone, SylvesterScreenwriter/Actormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Conti, BillComposersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Meredith, BurgessActorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shire, TaliaActorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weathers, CarlActorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Young, BurtActorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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