Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers
Director: John G Avildsen
Rocky (Stallone) is a past-his-prime boxer, trying to make ends meet, and still take on a few bouts in the ring. But he hasn’t forgotten his dreams of making it big. He might just have his chance when he’s on the receiving end of a publicity stunt by the World Champion, Apollo (Weathers) who thinks that challenging him to a fight will mean an easy stunt win. But Rocky goes into training, with the help of his trainer, his best friend, and the love of a girl called Adrian (Shire).
The story behind Rocky is as important as the film itself. Stallone had a dream of making it in Hollywood, but no one would believe in him, partly because he had a speech impediment. He refused to give up, and by the time he’d written this script, and was trying to sell it to someone who could produce it, he was homeless and beyond desperate. But he knew that he had talent and knew the film would be good. He refused to sell the script unless he was attached as the star. He finally sold it, and starred in the film, which was a huge success, winning an Oscar the year of release. It’s a wonderful story, paralleling the plot of the film, and I love it.
The film itself stands the test of time really well, though it’s quite dramatic, the emotions all ring true, and the themes of the little guy winning, breaking through, and his hard work paying off and bringing success feel real and necessary in a cynical world. The film is quite cold in colour, urban, and focuses on the working class man and his struggle for dignity in a world that loves to see people fail. It’s a quotable, fist bump of a film, and nothing delights like Rocky coming through against his opponent and calling out for his girl. ADRIAN!
See It If: the definitive boxing movie and one for the underdogs, Rocky is a true classic.