Film Review - Rocky (1976)

This is a review of my favorite film of all time. If this has been done before, I'm sorry.
July 14, 2009

People have often asked me, "What's your favorite movie ever?" Without any hesitation my answer is Rocky. The inspiration behind this film is an interesting one. In 1975, there was a boxing match world the World Heavyweight Championship between Muhammad Ali (champion) and New Jersey club fighter Chuck Wepner (challenger). Nobody gave Wepner a chance; everyone thought Ali would knock him in less than 3 rounds. However, Wepner fought hard and went through 14 hard rounds with Ali, until being knocked out in the 15th and final round. Wepner even managed to knock down Ali in 9th round. Now you're probably asking yourselves? What does this have to do with Rocky? Well, you see everyone is an underdog in some ways, just like Chuck Wepner and the title character, Rocky is no exception. This is film is a great underdog story.

The title character Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is a Philadelphia club fighter, who really isn't making much doing what he's doing. Everyone, including his own trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith) sees him as being a bum fighter. Outside of boxing, Rocky makes a living by collecting money for the local loan shark, Gazzo (Joe Spinell). Meanwhile, Rocky has an interest for his best friend Paulie's (Burt Young) sister Adrian (Talia Shire), who works in a pet shop across the street from the boxing gym Rocky works out in. Every time Rocky tries to talk to her, she doesn't seem interested, that's when he turns to Paulie to help him out. Eventually, Rocky and Adrian go on date on Thanksgiving. The highlight of that date is a wonderful scene where Rocky and Adrian go ice skating, and make a connection with each other. Soon after, they are considered to be a couple.

Meanwhile, the current World Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) has a title defense coming up. However, his opponent ends up getting an injury that ends up canceling that fight. Now Creed and fight promoter, Jergens (Thayer David) are franticly trying to find a replacement opponent for Creed. They eventually find Rocky. Jergens and Creed's trainer (Tony Burton) don't like the idea of Creed fighting an unknown fighter. However, Creed is insisting that Rocky would be the perfect opponent as he's an underdog and America loves underdogs. Also, Creed claims it will be an easy fight, as he believes that will "Drop him in 3." When the offer is bought up to Rocky about the fight, he first declines. However, Jergens convinces Rocky to take the fight, and does.
Now, all the sports writers and fight fans, are wondering why Creed would pick an unknown fighter, which they feel has "no virtually chance at winning." However, Rocky believes in himself as does Adrian, who gives Rocky a huge amount of support. Rocky just wants to prove that he can "go the distance." Can he do it?

Rocky is a wonderful film. Stallone has done a great job at writing this underdog story. There are some excellent performances by Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, and Burgess Meredith. I'm not saying this, because it's my favorite film of all time, I'm saying it because it's true. There is even one particularly great scene that makes you want to jump up and cheer for Rocky. The fight scene is also very good; it plays out like a real boxing match, and doesn't go too over the top as a "Hollywood fight." Everyone is in some ways an underdog. Rocky shows that if you work hard, you can accomplish anything and be able to "go the distance." This is without question Sylvester Stallone's best film. It's my favorite film, because it's brillaint in so many ways. Not only is the acting and writing great, the direction is terrific by John Advilson. He took a simple story and made it into so much more. It's just so inspirational and makes me feel good every time I watch it. That's why it's my favorite film of all time. This is a classic, and truly one of the greatest films of all time.

By: Chris E.

Rating: ****

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