United Artists' Rocky-That Was a Pretty Good Movie, Ya Know?

His whole life was a million-to-one shot.

Rocky is a 1976 sports-drama film directed by John G. Avildsen, written by Sylvester Stallone, produced by Chartoff-Winkler Productions, and distributed by United Artists. The film stars Sylvester Stallone and Talia Shire. It was nominated for and won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Film Editing. Otherwise, it was nominated for Best Actor (Stallone), Best Actress (Shire), Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Meredith and Young), Best Music, and Best Sound. This is the first film in the Rocky franchise. It was followed by Rocky II. The film has been selected for preservation by the National Film Registry.

“I just want to say hi to my girlfriend, okay? Yo, Adrian! It's me, Rocky." -Rocky Balboa

Plot


When heavyweight champion of the world Apollo Creed's opponent gets hurt, he selects small-time boxer Rocky Balboa to fight him for the title of heavyweight champion. Rocky must balance training for the fight with his relationships with his trainer, Mickey Goldmill, his friend and butcher Paulie Pennino, and his new girlfriend, Adrian Pennino.


Positive Aspects


The first thing that I have here is the training montage. The Rocky training montage is one of the most iconic scenes in the history of film. There are so many good things about it; it's inspirational, it's fun, the music is great, and the ending on the stairs is perfect. The statue of Rocky pumping his fists in the air after he finishes his run is still in Philadelphia.


Secondly, the characters are all developed very well. Rocky is a flawed person. He lives in a poor and depressed neighborhood, and he dreams of being a boxer. He is barely able to provide for himself. Paulie is a much more angry and sad character, but you know that he is a good person on the inside, because of the way his story is told. Adrian is quiet, but she serves as a motivation for Rocky and she cares about him a lot. Mickey can seem like a jerk, but he just has a rough time getting by in this poor life.


I also think that the acting is very good. Stallone is perfect for Rocky. He looks like Rocky would if he was a real person, he talks like Rocky, and he acts like Rocky. Talia Shire has good chemistry with Sylvester Stallone. They are very likable together. Burt Young is also very good as Paulie. He is intimidating when he wants to be, but also calm and nice when he wants to be. Burgess Meredith also has that kind of split personality, where he can be likable at certain points and you dislike him at other points.


Finally, the story is a classic. This is one of the first underdog stories ever put on the silver screen, and it is really cool to watch. The story has a satisfying end to it, even though it ends on something that would seem unsatisfying.


Negative Aspects


The first thing here is Apollo Creed. It doesn't really feel like he fits into the story. He only has, like, five minutes of screen time. I don't think he is a bad character, but as the main antagonist of the movie, he is not prominent. He doesn't even feel like an antagonist. He just feels like the guy that Rocky's gonna fight.


Until Rocky starts training for the fight, the movie is actually surprisingly slow. There isn't much going on and it's really all about the romance between Adrian and Rocky. Some people will enjoy it, but I am not one of those people/


I also think that some of the dialogue is a little bit cringy. Some of Rocky's lines don't land quite right, and it feels awkward when said.


The final thing may seem a bit contradicting, but I think that the actual end of the movie was not executed well. I'm saying after the fight, not the fight itself. The fight ends, Rocky and Adrian hug, and the credits literally roll over Rocky's face buried in Adrian's shoulder. It just ends and it doesn't have an epilogue or anything of the sort. That is the biggest negative that I have on this film.


Final Score


Overall, this is truly a classic. Despite a weaker antagonist and a weird ending, the acting, story and characters hold this film to the highest level.


The film gets a Savory rating. The age range is 7+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great)

Savory (Good)

Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)


"Rocky"


Fun Factor: 6/10

Acting: 9.5/10

Story: 8/10

Characters: 9.5/10

Quality: 9/10


WHERE TO WATCH

HBO Max: Available with subscription

Amazon Prime Video: Available for rent

Apple TV+: Available for rent


Directed by John G. Avildsen


Released on December 3, 1976


Rated PG for thematic elements, boxing violence, disturbing themes and behavior


2 hours


Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa

Talia Shire as Adrian Pennino

Burgess Meredith as Mickey Goldmill

Burt Young as Paulie Pennino

Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed