Saturday, April 13, 2013

Movie review: Rocky (1976)

watch Rocky now at Amazon

This is one of AFI's list of 100 years, 100 cheers that I'm watching for my 101 Things in 1001 Days.

Rocky is a modern classic. The Cinderella story of a young punk boxer/thumb-breaker from Philadelphia named Rocky Balboa, who's given a shot at the Big Time.

Rocky's never left the small potatoes boxing world, where winning a fight nets him $42 and a "call in a couple of weeks and I'll see if I can get you in another fight." He knows lots of people, but no one really believes in him, and he's given up believing in himself. He starts dating the sister of a friend, Adrian, a shy young woman who works in a neighborhood pet shop, and considers giving up boxing.

This is 1976, America's Bicentennial, and reigning heavyweight champ Apollo Creed has planned a title boxing match in Philadelphia to celebrate. When the contender is unable to fight, Creed and his promoters find a replacement: some unknown named Rocky Balboa. After all, Creed decides, America is the land of opportunity. Let's give this descendant of Columbus a shot at the title.

I'd forgotten more than I remembered about Rocky. I saw it in the theater when it first came out, and didn't think much of it. Of course, I wasn't yet 12. And I've watched it since, usually because of a 101 things commitment.

It's definitely an inspiring, feel-good-ending movie, and I appreciate it more now than I have in the past. That said, I probably wouldn't seek it out in the future, but I'd watch it again if it ends up on yet another "best of" list.


  1. I think this movie is the very definition of "lightening in a bottle." No one involved with it was ever as good before or since. Stallone wrote some very lovely little details, like Cuff and Link. But the studio insisted he hand the direction over. Hell, they originally didn't even want him to star. I know old Sly wouldn't agree with me, but I think that was the best thing to happen to his career. His future work suffers from a lack of collaboration.

    1. Interesting! I think this is the movie where he talks more than in any other, too.

      I remember a quote from Stallone (maybe apocryphal), that the best movie would have no dialog.