Movies That Everyone Should See: “Rocky”

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1976

In the year of America’s bicentennial, we were introduced to a new American hero for the first time. An underdog with heart, given a miraculous opportunity, who gives it everything he’s got. The film would wind up winning three Oscars, including Best Picture, and inspire a string of sequels that would extended 30 years.

A true testament to the human spirit…

“Rocky”.

Sylvester Stallone, like the character of Rocky Balboa, could relate to being down and out. Born in the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan, in New York City, he suffered an injury during birth (when forceps were used) which resulted in facial nerve damage. This would eventually lead to his trademarked slur. As he grew up, his parents struggled both financially and emotionally. By the time he was age nine, they would divorce.

Stallone received an athletic scholarship and studied abroad at the American College of Switzerland, where he got a part in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman”. It was then that he was bitten by the acting bug. He returned to the States and studied drama at the University of Miami, and upon graduation, decided to move to New York to pursue his dream of being an actor.

He was NOT immediately successful.

Parts were hard to come by for Stallone, and he faced tremendous financial hardships during those early years trying to make it. He couldn’t feed his dog, so he sold it. He was evicted from his apartment. For a brief period in time, he was homeless, sleeping in a bus station for several weeks. He even answered a posting for a softcore porn film in order to make a couple hundred dollars. He stuck with it though, and even began writing screenplays. He landed bit parts in “Klute” and “Bananas”, both in 1971, but his first major part didn’t come until 1974, after he moved to California, when he got a leading role in “The Lords of Flatbush”.

The following year saw him put seven credits on his future IMDb page, so he was getting work, but they were all small roles and TV credits.

It was that year, 1975, that Stallone saw Wepner vs. Ali on tv.

It was a remarkable bout. Muhammed Ali was World Heavyweight Champion at the peak of his career. He had just regained the title against George Foreman in the infamous “Rumble in Chuck_Wepnerthe Jungle”, and the “Thrilla in Manilla” still lay ahead. Chuck Wepner was a bouncer and an ex Marine who fought in local clubs. He had a 30-9-2 record, and his nickname was “The Bayone Bleeder”, because he had received some 300 stitches over the course of his career. He entered the fight a 30 to 1 underdog but almost went the distance (TKO in the 15th) and knocked Ali down in the 9th.

It gave Stallone the idea for a movie. He was inspired by the overwhelming underdog… someone who no one gave a chance to giving it everything he had. It reminded him of what he was going through, himself.

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Later that year, as Stallone met with producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler to audition for acting roles, he brought up the fact he had written some screenplays, as well. They were skeptical, but agreed to read one. So Stallone sent them “Paradise Alley”. They turned out to be uninterested in making that film, but they were impressed with Stallone’s writing. While discussing the rejection, Stallone told them he did have another idea, and would write it up if they promised to read it. It was then that he pitched them “Rocky”. Chartoff and Winkler agreed to give it a look.

Stallone went home and wrote an 80 page first draft of the screenplay in 3 1/2 days.

Chartoff and Winkler were impressed. They wanted to make the movie, and after some more work on the script, they approached United Artists about greenlighting it. UA was impressed with the script, but they weren’t interested in having Stallone star. They envisioned Robert Redford, Ryan O’Neal, Burt Reynolds, James Caan… someone who was established. A “name” actor, not a nobody that movie-goers had never even heard of.

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Stallone refused to sell the script without starring, however. He had written the part for himself and realized he would never get such a chance again. It was tailored for him. It would allow him to inhabit the role naturally. The way he saw it, this was his one chance to make it. His big shot.

It wasn’t an easy decision to stand his ground, though. The bid for the script went as high as to $350,000, which was an enormous sum of money considering his finances at the time (he claims to have had $106 in his bank account at the time). But he held fast.

Perry_KingSkeptical United Artist executives decided to screen Stallone’s appearance in “Lords of Flatbush” prior to finally approving a deal. In an error that would make history, they mistakenly thought that Perry King was Stallone. King had more traditional leading man looks, and no one knew in the screening actually knew who Stallone was. Thus they watched the film with their attention on the wrong actor.

Fortune was favoring the film.

United Artists gave in, and greenlit the movie.

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United Artists wouldn’t approve a large budget gambling on an unknown star, however. The film was initially set to cost $2.5 million, but the producers were forced to lower that below $1 million in order to cast the film how they wanted. Making the film for a reasonable amount of money became a priority.

John G_ Avildsen - RockyDirector John G. Alvidsen had done “Save the Tiger” in 1973, a film that had received a fair share of acclaim and had won Jack Lemmon an Academy Award. However, it hadn’t exactly vaulted Alvidsen to the directing A-List. In fact, the film he completed just prior to “Rocky” was the little known Burt Reynolds film “W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings”. When “Rocky” was proposed to him, he initially wasn’t thrilled with the idea of doing a “boxing movie”, but he read the script and realized that the story was so much more.

His talent and price point were both right for the project. The film had a director. Now it needed a cast.

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“Apollo Creed seemed to me to be a compilation of Ali and all the great heavyweights at that time. This character was a showman, was a salesman, was pretty bombastic. I think very smart, articulate, but at the same time, knew how to play the game.” – Carl Weathers

With Stallone in the title role, the producers needed their Muhammed Ali. At first, they wanted to cast a real boxer. Ken Norton, Joe Frasier. But those men turned out to be far too big in comparison to Stallone, and far too good at boxing. Frasier gave Stallone stitches within minutes in the ring.

After an extensive casting process looking for someone with both the charisma and the athleticism for the role, they found former NFL linebacker Carl Weathers. Weathers came across arrogantly in his audition, he even dissed Stallone on his line reads (unaware that Stallone was to star), saying he could do his reads much better if he was working off of a REAL actor.

His brashness helped get him the part, however, and he wound up bringing a remarkable life to the role. Entertaining, intelligent, business savvy, and formidable in the ring. There aren’t many actors who could bring all of that to the table. Weathers did. He was able to create a character that would become a beloved member of the franchise.

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The role of trainer Mickey Goldmill was written with Lee J Cobb (“On the Waterfront”, “12 Angry Men”) in mind, and Cobb was willing to play the part. However, he refused to read for the role when asked by Alvidsen. He considered it insulting to have to audition for a part, considering his body of work. So, when asked, he refused, and left the meeting, turning down the role in the process.

The_Penguin_2It was a blessing in disguise. The next in line for the role was Burgess Meredith, a veteran of stage and screen who was most known for his work on TV, in “The Twilight Zone” and “Batman”. In 1975, however, the year just prior to Rocky, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for “Day of the Locust”. He would earn that honor again here, as well. He brought an extraordinary amount of class to the film with him.

The character of Paulie wasn’t actually n early drafts of the script, that part in the story was actually Adrian’s mother at first. But Chartoff and Winkler had worked with Burt Young and wanted to work him into the movie, so the script was rewritten to give him the part.

Talia ShireThe most difficult role to fill was that of Adrian, Rocky’s love interest. Per Stallone, several notable actresses were considered, including Susan Sarandon, Cher and Bette Middler. Actress Carrie Snodgress was actually offered the part, but her agent wanted too much money. The role was uncast as late as three days prior to shooting, when Talia Shire came in to read. Everyone involved in the production immediately knew that they had found the perfect actress for the role.

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With the cast set, it was time to get to work. With less than a million dollars to work with, money was tight. The schedule would have to be too.

They shot on location in Philadelphia, partly because the city was such a perfect home for Rocky, and partly because it was out of the watchful eyes of the Hollywood unions. Some of the clothes the characters wore were the actors own, and the amenities were sparse. The film had to be shot in under a month in order to stay under budget (it was, in 28 days). There was no chance for reshoots, and not a lot of coverage. The production couldn’t afford Union related expenses, so they shot guerilla filmmaking style, out of a van. They would drive around to various locations, Stallone would hop out, and they would quickly grab shots in 5-10 minute bursts of shooting.

A (then) new camera technology, the Steadicam, allowed them to get shots such as the infamous run up the steps of the Museum of Art. “Rocky” was literally just the third film ever to use the technology. The savings in time and costs it provided helped them to stay under budget. It also made “Rocky” a technologically innovative movie. Though audiences may not have realized exactly how, it looked and felt different… with a frame much more active than most films of the time had.

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As is frequently the case with great films that were made on the cheap, the need for frugality was ultimately fortuitous. Rocky and Adrian’s first date, for example, was initially six or seven pages of script, set in a cafe. Alvidsen knew it would be too costly to film… a “Kiss of Death”. He suggested that they set the scene ice at a skating rink, instead. The production couldn’t afford extras though, so the scene wound up being set “after the rink was closed”. Of course, it wound up being classic moment. Two awkward people, uneasy on their feet. A perfect visual metaphor for the two characters.

The budget restrictions helped in other ways as well. Bill Conti, who would make his name by scoring this film, earned the job of scoring the movie by being the first conductor to accept the $25,000 all totalled pay. The $25,000 had to cover all aspects of the music production, and whatever was left over would be profit for Conti.

Once Conti had the music written, the score to “Rocky” was actually recorded in 3 hours.

shot0037The training montages – now SO famous – were considered “padding” initially to supplement the runtime. They began simply with a few basic fight training techniques: speed bag work, heavy bag work, etc. But as Conti’s music started came in, they elongated the montages in order to give “Gonna Fly Now” time to play. They wound up becoming many people’s favorite scenes in the film, and arguably the most memorable.

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There was one other major hurdle facing the production. Neither Stallone nor Weathers could box.

Rocky_FilmingThey trained together, sometimes to the point of exhaustion, on a daily basis. Injuries were commonplace. But the two knew that the fight scenes would be the crux of the film, and wanted them to look as believable as possible.

In that pursuit, “Rocky” experienced another difficulty. Initially, the film had a veteran hollywood stunt coordinator who had choreographed several well-known boxing movies. But when Stallone requested Apollo open with four rights in succession, as if he were arrogant and dismissive of Rocky, he refused to do it. He quit the production.

Left to his own devices, Stallone envisioned “Rocky” having fight scenes that were much more authentic than those of prior boxing films. He also wanted them to tell a story as the fight progressed. So he came up with the idea of scripting the scenes…. they choreographed entire fight. The technique would pay off, “Rocky” looked much different from prior films about the sweet science and the storyline that the movie had been developing didn’t stop once the fight began.

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Perhaps due to the oversized characters and emphasis on action in its sequels, “Rocky” is often misremembered. People dismiss it at times for being simply a “feel good story” or “sports movie”. But it’s very much an example of the character driven “70s filmmaking” that was en vogue at the time, and has a very tender romance at its core.

The characters of “Rocky” are fully fleshed out and brilliantly portrayed.

Rocky himself is a down and out fighter and mob goon. He makes money working collections for a local wise-guy and gets fights as he can. He fights in low-end dives for short money against bums. He’s lonely. Talks to his pet… turtles. He practices talking to Adrian in the mirror and then brings her bad jokes, even though she’s too shy to respond. He’s been tossed from his locker by the local gym owner, Mickey Goldmill, because he hasn’t been able to pay.

AdrianAdrain is painfully shy. She’s not used to anyone paying attention to her. One gets the feeling she’d rather hide. Perhaps she has been hiding. You can tell that the people in her life have always talked down to her. In fact, she says at much at one point. Not that she needs to… her alcoholic, verbally abusive brother Paulie illustrates the world she’s been brought up in perfectly. Just as Rocky has, she’s been told that she’s no good. A loser. Yet over the course of the film, she’s able to find love.

Paulie fleshes out the world and the neighborhood as well. His job at the meat-packing plant, the dive bar he frequents, his outlook on life; they all give us a view of the type of people in Rocky’s world. He’s angry, drinks too much, he’s poor. He’s mean to Adrian. Even though he sets Rocky up with her, when he sees the relationship forming, his jealousy gets in the way. His bitterness makes him lash out. He’s a “Low-life”, but he’s not single note. He’s a well-developed character.

Finally, there’s Mickey. The scene where he goes to Rocky to beg him to let him be his manager is a heartbreaking moment. It’s so sad to watch him supplicate. The roles are reversed, Rocky has the upper hand, and we see Mickey isn’t just the tough, hard-driving gym owner, he’s actually a broken old man. He didn’t have that much of a prime to be “past”. He wants his shot too, and he’s willing to swallow his pride and humble himself in order to ask for it.

All four performers would be nominated for Academy Awards. They brought to life incredible characters that function so well within the context of the film. Adrian is Rocky’s female counterpoint. Instead of physicality we get shyness. Paulie gives context, paints a picture of the class of people Rocky is in. Mickey foreshadows the man that Rocky may one day become. Together they combine to create a believable life for Rocky. An entire film neighborhood.

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shot0021It’s these characters that provide the heart of the film. They’re the reason it’s not simply a sports movie, or an underdog story. It’s about the potential for anyone to find love, and for anyone to achieve something incredible in their life.

shot0020When World Champion Apollo Creed has the idea of a “novelty” fight on the Fourth of July, he views it as a publicity stunt. He wants to play up the fact he’s handing out an incredible opportunity, he’s offering the chance to fight the champ for the world heavyweight title. In 11_Rocky__Blu-raylight of this incredible good fortune… Rocky says “No.” Rocky has been told so often that he’s a loser that it takes him time to even accept the fact that he’s worthy of stepping into the ring. He eventually comes around, but he never deludes himself. He gives it his all (they set up his eventual, triumphant run up shot0033the Art Museum steps by showing him limp up the first time) but when all is said and done, he just wants to acquit himself. He just wants to prove to the world he’s worthy, that he’s not a loser.

He gives everything he has to prove it. The fight is a brutal shot0031pummeling. By the end, he gives as good as he receives, but there’s no question that Rocky takes a beating that would kill most men. He tastes canvas several times. His eye needs to be cut. His corner encourages him to stay down at one point. Apollo Creed can’t believe it.

shot0036But in the end, the triumph comes from Rocky achieving what he set out to achieve. He’s given the heavyweight champion of the world the fight of his life. It wasn’t about winning, it was about proving himself worthy and proving the world wrong.

The focus shifts away from the announcement of the judges’ decision. Apollo being declared champ is background noise to Rocky and Adrian saying I love you.


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Once the film was finished, there was one final obstacle to overcome: UA didn’t want to release the film that year, because they had already had “Network” and “Bound for Glory”. They even went so far as to remind the producers that they had the possibility of selling the movie directly to television. They relented, but didn’t initially put the film into wide release. Everyone involved had limited expectations. But audiences were so enthusiastic that UA was quickly forced to roll it out wide.

“Rocky” went on to become the highest grossing movie of 1976, with a $117 million theatrical run domestically. A sequel went into production immediately, and eventually four others followed as well, for a total of six films that have accounted for over $1.2 billion in revenue worldwide.

It received ten Academy Award nominations. Best Picture, Best Director (John G. Avildsen), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Music – Original Song (Gonna Fly Now), Best Sound Mixing and nominations for the performers who played all four major characters. Best Actor for Sylvester Stallone, Best Actress for Talia Shire, and Best Supporting Actor for both Burgess Meredith and Burt Young. It would win for Best Director, Best Editing, and Best Picture, becoming the first Sports Film ever to win the honor. “Rocky” famously won Best Picture amongst one of the most legendary Oscar classes of all time: “All the President’s Men“, “Bound for Glory”, “Network“, and “Taxi Driver“.

It also won The Directors Guild of America award and the Golden Globe for Best picture that year, as well.

When AFI initially released their 100 Years… 100 Movies in 1998, “Rocky” came in at #78. Ten years later, with the release of 100 Years… 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) it rose over 20 spots, to #57. But it also appears all over their other rankings, in many spots near the top of tumblr_mg4seb3UgT1s2y1m1o1_500the lists. It ranks as #52 on 100 Years… 100 Thrills. “Gonna Fly Now” charts at #58 on their 100 Years…100 Songs. “Yo, Adrian!” is #80 100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes. “Rocky” is #4 on their list of 100 Years… 100 Cheers, and their #2 Sports film of all time, ranking behind only “Raging Bull”.

They also selected Rocky Balboa as one of the ten greatest movie heroes of all time. Putting him at #7 on their 100 Years… 100 Heroes and Villains list.

The Writers Guild of America chose the screenplay for “Rocky” as one of the best screenplays of all time, placing it at #78, and in 2006, the Library of Congress placed it in the National Film Registry, deeming it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”, and preserving it for future generations.

Though not actually a boxer, Sylvester Stallone was voted into boxing’s Hall of Fame December 7, 2010.

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To call it a widely acclaimed film would be a gross understatement. It is one of the most decorated films of all time. But it’s certainly not just critics that love it. Rocky Balboa is one of the true, pop culture icons of our time. The movie, and franchise, are cultural touchstones. This film anchors one of the greatest movie series ever created. It’s the “Genuinely Excellent” film that elevates its successors (which wildly vary in quality).

Sylvester Stallone used the movie as a launching pad to become one of the biggest movie stars of all time. After the release of Rocky, he became a household name overnight, and practically owned the silver screen in the following decade of the 1980s.

This movie is a timeless film. One of the most inspirational, triumphant movies of all time. It’s a movie that I have a deep, deep affection for… it’s inarguably one of the greatest movies released in my lifetime, and I can’t express my respect for it enough.

It’s definitely a “Movie That Everyone Should See”.

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Daniel Fogarty

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68 thoughts on “Movies That Everyone Should See: “Rocky”

  1. Nice review. I have to confess I’m not a fan of Rocky, mostly because I hold a grudge against it for beating out Taxi Driver and Network for Best Picture, but it is one of the most influential films ever made.

    • Well, that started early. LOL.

      I defend “Rocky”s Best Picture win. It’s the best movie in that class. It’s tragic that all those great films had to collide. But I believe that the best, the most timeless, and the most rewarding of them all is “Rocky”

      Sure I’ll be saying that all day today though, CK, you’re not alone.

  2. People will always say it didn’t deserve Best Picture over Network and Taxi Driver, but to be honest, this film is way more iconic and revolutionary than either of those flicks. I love this movie from start to finish and will always be one of my favorites that I always want to watch whenever it’s on television. Good review bud.

  3. Rocky is, and will always remain, my favourite film of all time. And that comes from a girl who basically hates boxing. But i’ve never looked at Rocky as a boxing movie. It’s incredibly complex and focuses so deeply on the human spirit and love, that I defy anyone to simplify it as a sports flick.

    If anything, I see the boxing – or the big fight, as a metaphor for whatever Rocky Balboa was going through in life at that time. It’s beautifully layered, and you can’t help but be completely emotionally invested when the bell first rings. It’s more than just a fight. It’s a chance to prove to himself that he’s capable of something. It’s not even about winning, which actually, is quite a rare direction in any movie. He just wants to know within himself that he has what it takes to ‘go the distance’. That’s enough for him.

    I find that to be a powerful message, and one very easy to relate to. The love story between Rocky and Adrian is also portrayed in a unique way that few films have pulled off. They’re both down on themselves and yet they see the potential in each other. And it’s so organic the way they open up and become more rounded individuals just by making that connection.

    Plus, it spawned the most adorable line i’ve ever heard on film: “You got gaps. I got gaps. Together we fill gaps.” Which doesn’t ‘sound’ romantic per se, but in the context of their relationship, it’s perfection.

    Love, love, LOVE this film. And the training montages! EPIC WINNAGE.

    Okay. I’m leaving now, because I could go on about this all day…

    (Oh! Worth noting also that Sly got his dog, Butkus, back, and cast him in the film. A little happy ever after there.)

    • “But i’ve never looked at Rocky as a boxing movie.” Good, cause its not really :)

      I love that gaps line too. LOL. Rocky is such a klutz wooing Adrian, but you can tell she just doesnt even know what to do with it. :) Its very possible that Rocky/Adrian is my favorite movie romance ever. (The boxing in the movie helps LOL)

      Glad to see you’re such a big fan!

  4. Great post! And great movie! I was fascinated to learn about a lot of the “problems” they faced that ended up making the movie what it is. Very interesting. And I have the utmost respect for Stallone for going out there and making his dreams come true for himself instead of waiting for luck to strike.

  5. Were talking about legendary MTESS here buddy. World class post. :-)

    “Apollo Creed vs. the Italian Stallion. Sounds like a damn monster movie.”
    -Apollo Creed(Weathers), Rocky

  6. Hey, what a great write up. I got more from that than I have from most DVD documentaries. Good work.
    I watched Rocky just a couple of days ago and loved it as always. I was actually going to drop you a message at the time recommending you watch this back to back with Rocky Balboa. It’s a strange idea, and it may only have worked for me because I know the storyline through the intervening four films, but I felt that having the story fresh in mind made the final film much more emotionally intense. I may be a soft touch (I am) but I haven’t experienced an emotional ride like that since the first 10 minutes of ‘Up’.
    Just an idea, feel free to tell me I’m nuts.

    • Thanks Simon. :D Nice to hear that. Been working this one for awhile…

      No, thats not that strange an idea actually. Rocky to Rocky six would tell a really concise, but cool story… one that keeps all the core elements!

      I’m a big fan of 6 too. Still cant believe they pulled it off. In a way I hate it though, because now when ever there’s a 20 year after the fact sequel… I have to be like, well, what if its another Rocky Balboa? LOL!

  7. Excellent write-up as usual sir! A true classic and certainly worthy of a place in this series. Your backstory here is phenomenal. You continually surprise me with the homework you put into these posts. Bravo! :-)

  8. Don’t take this the wrong way, but this is one of my favorite reviews you have ever written up. Nice job Fogs.

    I can vividly recall trying to jump rope like Rocky after seeing this when I was 6.

  9. Kudos! Excellent work. I can feel the emotion you have for this film. I did love it when it came out. Not a fan of the sequels. The films’ success does owe a lot to the tradition of boxing films, namely “Somebody Up There Likes Me”, Paul Newman playing the original Rocky and “Requiem for a HeavyWeight” with Tony Quinn. The gap in years since those films release let Stallone capitalize on “Rocky”. The question I asked myself when I saw it, what if Rocky loses but still wins Adrian and respect? Too unHollywood to bear? Oh well, history has been made, Rocky Wins!

    • ” I can feel the emotion you have for this film.” Cool. Glad that came across. It truly is one of my all time faves.

      “Not a fan of the sequels” may be mildly blasphemous, but theyre definitely more geared towards being pieces of entertainment. Theyre borderline action movies. Still, 3 & 4 are great pieces of popcorn entertainment, and 6 is a miraculous comeback sequel. The exception that proves the rule about movies made 20 years later…!

  10. This was an excellent essay on one of the essential movies of all time. You did a great job finding little details and putting them into context.The legendary story of how the film got started is nicely recounted here, The details on casting were a good touch, I had not heard some of those stories before. I remember being in the Debate Squad room at USC in 1977, arguing that “Rocky” was superior and would win the Academy Award that year. My Coaches were all in favor of “All the Presidents Men”. “Network” and “Taxi Driver” were the sexier choices. I’d seen all of them, and I knew that if the Academy members watched the movies, there was no way that the heart and soul of “Rocky” would not prevail. “Network” got the love of the Actors branch winning three out of four categories. “All the President’s Men” won the other. It still amazes me that the man who is singlehandedly responsible for this iconic gem of a story, actually does not possess a gold statue to commemorate his contribution. You may go to bed tonight, knowing that you have accomplished something worth while this day. The writing in your post was very heart felt and the research solid. If you ever want people reading your page to know what you are capable of, show them this. I will be posting it on my Personal Facebook page and the Facebook page for my blog. Good Job Dan.

    • Thanks Richard! Glad to hear it meets with your apporval :D

      You peg my “Rocky” argument exactly. It’s not about technical merits, or anything like that. This is a movie about heart and guts. That’s going to have a lasting appeal… across generations even.

      Thanks for the shares! I really appreciate that. :D I well rest easy, knowing that today’s post was so well received… !

  11. Regardless of who won or should have on Best Picture, “Rocky” is well worth MTESS status. Great write-up as well. I knew most of the story behind making it, it’s pretty much a legend, but I still learned some new things, like the ice-skating scene happening for budget reasons.

  12. Some hefty research gone into this one man, fantastic stuff. Really enjoyed reading it. Now, I must confess, I haven’t seen Rocky all the way through. I think I’ve probably seen it all in bots and bobs but never sat down and watched the whole thing.

    • What?? You gotta get on that! LOL This is a CLASSIC!

      Im sure you already can figure how strongly I feel… but next time you run across it, make sure you get that taken care of!

      Meanwhile thank you for the props, Chris, I’v had this one brewing for awhile. ;)

  13. Aww man! I just saw this for the first time over Christmas break.
    I was very impressed to see Stallone’s screenplay credit up there when I was watching it though! This just shows my own prejudices when I saw I never suspected Stallone of being that clever. Well just goes to show. It really is a fantastic story, mostly because you have all of those great characters that you really care about eventually making something out of themselves by the end of the film.

    • Yeah, he really did kind of downplay his intellect throughout the course of his acting career, didnt he? LOL. Not exactly out there playing brain surgeons. :)

      He wrote a great great script here. Thankfully they got it onto the screen. So many times, it doesnt translate, you know?

      Definitely is a character driven film and not just any old Sports Movie. ;)

  14. Nice review Fogs! I’m not into films about boxing but I did see this one and it was very emotional. You’re right about this being character-driven, perhaps Sly’s best performance ever? Did you know that on an ESL class prior to college I actually played Adrian in a Rocky skit, and my Rocky was a Swiss guy who’s tall and lanky, he’s better looking than Sly though, ahah.

    • HA!! You should find a video of that and post it to YouTube Ruth! :D I know I’d watch it.

      Meanwhile, EASILY Sly’s greatest role. No doubt about it. He stepped up to bat and hit it out of the park!

  15. Great film, great post. Rocky was one of my favorite “cross off the list” moments when watching movies. I really like the fact that he doesn’t even win the fight, and knows he won’t, that it’s not about that at all. Just about being there to prove he belongs there.

    Great write-up… I knew some of the details, like Stallone being broke and insisting on playing the lead role, but there’s a lot I didn’t know. I wonder if Sly and Perry King ever joke about the mix-up? :D

    I read somewhere that Ali liked the portrayal of Apollo Creed, and said he wished he’d come up with the nickname “The Master of Disaster”. When your character can makes someone that bombastic feel like he missed a great one, it’s a great character.

    • :D Heh, yeah, I remember that post.

      I don’t know if King and Stallone ever joke, but if I were King I’d be like $&#%! Why didn’t I think of Rocky, they would have greenlit it! LOL

      Creed was a great character. No wonder Ali took notice. :D

    • You’re right Morgan, Creed is a great character.

      “Without a ranked contender what this fight is going to need is a novelty. This is the land of opportunity right? So Apollo Creed on January 1st gives a local underdog fighter an opportunity. A snow-white underdog, and I’m gonna put his face on this poster with me. And I tell ya why. Because I’m sentimental. And a lot of other people in this country are just as sentimental, and they’re nothin’ they’d like better than to see Apollo Creed give a local Philadelphia boy a shot at the greatest title in the world on this country’s biggest birthday. Now that’s the way I see it. And that’s the way it’s gonna be!”
      -Apollo Creed (CWeathers, Rocky 1976)

    • HA!! :D

      Well, glad that you could enjoy the post even though you were in unfamiliar territory here. You should really seek this one out and give it a shot! LOL :D

      And thank you, btw, I appreciate that!

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