Classic Review: Rocky (1976)

Boxing Movies are never really my thing, but Cineworld were showing this one in my local theatre and I had never seen it before so thought I try it out.

Certificate: PG

Director: John G. Avildsen

Screenwriter: Sylvester Stallone

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young

Genre: Drama, Sport

Runtime: 120 Minutes

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Rocky Balboa is a struggling boxer trying to make the big time, working as a debt collector for a pittance. When heavyweight champion Apollo Creed visits Philadelphia, his managers want to set up an exhibition match between Creed and a struggling boxer, touting the fight as a chance for a “nobody” to become a “somebody”. The match is supposed to be easily won by Creed, but someone forgot to tell Rocky, who sees this as his only shot at the big time. – From IMDB

OK, so sports movies are not my cup of tea by any means, and boxing movies are towards the bottom of the list of sports movies I enjoy, so I have really put off watching this cinema classic for a long time.  But then Covid-19 happened, and pickings at the cinemas are becoming increasingly slim, so when Cineworld decided to show Rocky, I supposed it was time to put all my pre-assigned assumptions behind and finally check it out.

For the most part I was pleasantly surprised.  While yes, Rocky is a boxer, and this is a sports movie before it is anything else, you don’t have to sit through an awful lot of actual boxing.  A short stint at the beginning and the main event at the end are about  it with a few training montages scattered throughout.  I was worried I would have to sit through hours of watching men beat the living hell out of each other with very little story to back it up, thankfully that isn’t what happened.  The movie is a lot more about Rocky himself, about his personal struggles and about he himself and other people view him.  A lot more interesting to me than watching a boxing match.

This is one of the roles that Sly Stallone is best known for, and as he wrote the movie himself, it is obvious that the part is written to play to his strengths.  He does play the part well, and even 40 years later, when playing the part in Creed opposite Michael B Jordan, still embodies that role, you can’t imagine anyone stepping in to replace him.  That doesn’t mean that I think the [art was particularly well written though.  In places the dialogue is clunky and unrealistic and Rocky is made out to sound like a complete meat head, it definitely hasn’t entirely aged well.

Speaking of not aging well, we do need to address poor Adrian in this film.  Who at the ripe old age of thirty was considered ‘dried up’ and a loser by her brother.  She wasn’t worth anything to anyone until Rocky came along encouraged her to remover her glasses, style her hair, put on completely new clothes and suddenly become a babe.  Thank god Rocky was there to totally turn her around, or god knows what could have happened to poor, shy, intelligent Adrian. 

Not at all the snooze fest I was expecting, this film impressed me quite a lot.  It may not have aged gracefully, but it is a classic.

1 Comment

  1. Rocky is a movie that is less about boxing and more about a character trying to be more than what people think of him. Rocky doesn’t expect to win against Creed, nor does anyone else for that matter. But he “goes the distance” with Creed proving that Rocky is just as good and determined as anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

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