Friday, June 24, 2016

Rocky (1976)

Director: John G. Avildsen

Writer: Sylvester Stallone

Composer: Bill Conti

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith, Thayer David, Joe Spinell, Jimmy Gambina, Bill Baldwin, Al Silvani, George Memmoli, Jodi Letizia, Stan Shaw, Frank Stallone, Lloyd Kaufman, Frank Stallone Jr., Joe Frazier, Michael Dorn

More info: IMDb

Tagline: You have a ringside seat for the bloodiest bicentennial in history!

Plot: Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer gets a supremely rare chance to fight the heavy-weight champion, Apollo Creed, in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

Man, I haven't seen this flick in probably 35 years and it's just a great as it ever was but then I couldn't remember much about it.  It's a shockingly simple story, something a lot of film makers and Hollywood have forgotten how to make.  If it were made today, there'd be a lot more crap going on to make it out to be something bigger than it needs to be like having the local mobster Rocky works for getting more involved in Rocky's affairs so he's battling on two fronts.  There's a lot to like but it's Stallone's script and performance that makes this as special as anything else.  Rocky is one of the most instantly likable characters out there.  He's so down to Earth and you always know what he's feeling.  You couldn't ask for a better underdog to root for.  His monologue to Adrian the night before the fight (a scene that Stallone had to fight to keep in, by the way) gets to the heart of the character and the movie.  And in that one moment he sets up the emotional one-two punch the ending delivers.  Hell, I'm getting choked up just thinking about it.  It's a wonderful piece of film making from every angle and it's not surprising that it made Stallone into one of the biggest movies stars of the 20th Century.  I've only ever seen the first two films and ROCKY BALBOA (2006) (which is as good as the first one).  A couple of years ago I picked up the MGM Blu-ray box set, The Undisputed Collection, that has all 6 films.  I was shocked to see that, while there are a good deal of extras, there's no commentary track which makes me wonder if either ever did one for a previous release.  I'm looking forward to making my way through this series, for better or worse.  At least I know it ends on a high note.  I can't wait another 35 years to see this one again. 

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