DIRECTOR: John G. Avildsen
May contain spoilers!
40 Years old this year, Rocky has spawned no less than six sequels, with Rocky’s 1 through 5, Rocky Balboa and last year’s Creed. But whilst Rocky has become a house hold name and a genre franchise, Rocky first outing was much more than this.
There is a reason why Rocky was nominated for so many Academy Awards, and why this has won three, including Best Picture at the 1977 ceremony. This is a gritty underdog drama, a love story, one of personal growth and triumph and whilst it looks from outside to be a boxing film, this far from it.
The final fight between Rocky (Stalone) and Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) is fantastic, gripping and not just because of it’s brilliant choreography but because the film has built up the stakes. Not money or honour or success, but personal growth. Rocky’s journey from mob collector who missed his chances, to someone who takes their shot and never loses sight of what is truly important.
But this is not an easy watch at times, as Rocky’s life is a tough one, with his roots being firmly planted in the destitution of New York of the 1970’s. But this is a character drama and one which is well played and paced throughout.
And Stalone is good, though clearly working from within his comfort zone, but he is a warm presence in cold world, trying to make good of bad lot in life.
If like me, you have waited to long to see this one, then get a move on as I can guarantee that most of your preconceptions about Rocky will be wrong. A solid movie and it is clear why this has had the longevity that it has.