Rocky 1 is one such movie which should be on everyone’s watch list, period. This movie is first of the ‘Rocky series’ that eventually became global blockbuster. Sylvester Stallone is worthy of credit for his script writing. He captured the character ‘Rocky Balboa’ beautifully and did absolute justice with it. Rocky has become the symbol for the underdog throughout the world, over the years Rocky punching in the air at the end of his run is a symbol of not giving up and winning through the hardships of life; As Rocky later says in Balboa movie of the Rocky series “It’s not about how hard you hit, It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward”
Directed by – John G. Avildsen
Written by – Sylvester Stallone
Starring – Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Tony Burton, Burgess Meredith
Release Year – 1976
Movie is about a talented young Italian American boxer ‘Rocky Balboa’ living in slums of Philadelphia. Continuous struggle to make the ends meet forced him to work as a money collector for a loan shark. In the spare time, he works in a small gym. During this time, heavyweight champion ‘Apollo Creed’ decides to schedule an exhibition boxing match on New Year’s Eve where he will give opportunity to a totally unknown boxer from Philadelphia. By sheer luck, Rocky gets picked for this match because Apollo likes his nickname – Italian Stallion; a good marketing move.
When Rocky came to know about this match, he was shell shocked but given his circumstances both in professional and personal life, this was the biggest opportunity that he might have ever gotten, so he accepted. With the given resources and an old coach, Rocky puts his heart out to create history.
FYI, although this is an old movie but still not giving any spoilers.
There is a love angle as well. Rocky likes a shy and introvert girl ‘Adrian’, who works in a pet shop just across the gym. Initially Adrian avoids Rocky but gradually they started seeing each other and fell in love.
Story progresses perfectly. It is not fast or slow paced. Although you see multiple parallel pieces like Rocky training with coach Mick, Rocky and Adrian trying to work out on their relation, challenging relationship between Adrian and her brother Paulie etc. But everything is very well connected hence you don’t feel like getting lost as movie progresses.
To give feel of life of a struggling boxer, you will see realistic locations. Some of the best examples are: Small apartment of Rocky which is messed up, deteriorating gym where he practices including its locker room and washroom, uncut scene where Rocky takes out 6 eggs from refrigerator, breaks it in glass and drinks it, and the neighborhood where Rocky lived.
Let’s look at the iconic characters of this movie
You will see that this ‘Rocky’ character was struggling to get his act and life together. He was dealing with a lot but still keeps that anger and frustration hidden deep inside. Whenever he meets someone, especially ‘Adrian’, he treats them with kindness, compassion and love. Best example of this is when his coach ‘Mick’ comes to his apartment to explain that he can be Rocky’s manager in this match with Apollo. At that time Rocky vents, out all his frustration. He kept on rambling even after Mick left the apartment. Once all his anger came out, he immediately went after Mick, walked with his hand around Mick’s shoulder, shook his hand and came back.
You will see this when they are in a press conference. Apollo came out as loud mouth and cocky while Rocky was calm and used less words to convey the message.
Rocky was not standing-somewhere-in-middle kind of guy. He likes to go the distance, whether it was a boxing match or love life. Which was one of the key reasons that eventually made him one of the greatest boxers.
She was a shy and introvert girl. She was not the kind of girl who can be easily wooed. You will notice that after many attempts Rocky was able to set a first date with her. It might be possible that being a sister of an aggressive and unpredictable brother like Paulie gave way to such an introvert personality. Talia Shire convincingly played this role. Adrian’s character gives depth and acts as an anchor to Rocky’s life and she herself finds an expression through her relationship with Rocky.
He was an old man who manages a small gym for train boxers. He was mean and tough but at the same time cared a lot about Rocky. It is interesting to see his relationship with Rocky in this movie series. Mickey always knew that Rocky had a lot of potential and that is why he was disappointed in him when he worked as a collector for a loan shark. Mickey was a pure old school boxing coach who meant business when it came to boxing and he kept no holds bar in his training methods both physically and mentally.
Apollo was a 33 years old heavyweight champion in world of boxing. He had this immense confidence that nobody can go toe to toe with him in the ring for 15 rounds. Hence Apollo and his camp never concerned themselves for bringing in Balboa as a challenge.
He was elder brother of Adrian and Rocky’s friend. Worked in a meat house. He was an alcoholic. Paulie’s relationship with Adrian was not the best brother-sister relationship. At times he used to fight with her and say mean things, even to Rocky as well. He helped Rocky to get a temporary job in meat house as a packer. Paulie also stood with Rocky throughout his training and helped him. Paulie’s character is essential in Rocky’s world. Rocky and Paulie’s friendship developed through years as you can see in different movies of the Rocky series.
Rocky is definitely a movie you must watch. Despite being years old movie, you will be able to relate and connect, because somewhere we all are fighting with our inner demons and exterior world. And Rocky shows that with hard work and grit you can win such fights. Rocky is a story of courage, passion and never die attitude that has made this movie an iconic cult classic and it will remain so forever. The background of how this movie was made is as inspiring as the movie itself, Sylvester was broke and had to sell his dog before this movie came up, he had to wait for a long time for a production house to accept his story and his condition of playing the main part himself and once he got the first cheque what did he do? He went straight to get his dog back.
Hope that our readers like this tribute from Panchayiti to this iconic character and the story.