"Rocky" is about a man. It is the story of a man who exceeds past all
normal expectations and makes the most out of what he is doing. What is
he doing? Boxing. Why? As Rocky says in the film, "You have to be a
moron to want to box."
is played by Sylvester Stallone, whose only other film before "Rocky"
was "Weekend at Kitty and Stud's," and, as you can probably guess by the
title, it was an X-rated movie. But Stallone gives just about the best
performance of his career here. Before he started getting into recycled
action movies and unfunny comedies, the man had talent, as seen shining
through in "Rocky." Somewhere along the way he lost that talent, but
it's pretty evident that he had it at one time.
Stallone wrote the script, which is about a down-on-his-luck
Philadelphia man named Rocky Balboa. Rocky is your average tough-guy you
see walking down the street, but this film takes a closer look INTO the
guy walking past you, and not AT the guy walking past you.
He lives in a beat-up, old apartment, infested with roaches, and he
barely makes enough money to support himself. His job? Rocky retrieves
money for loan sharks. His real job, however, is to break the loaners'
thumbs if they don't pay up. He's a muscle man.
After he returns from his "job" every day, he takes time to do what he
has been doing for the past six years, which is boxing. Then, after
that, he takes a trip to the local pet store to see the love of his
life, Adrian, who works there. He constantly tries to impress her and
talk to her, but she is shy and literally does not talk much throughout
the entire film.
But things change for Rocky after heavyweight champion Apollo Creed
(Carl Weathers) decides that he wants to make a big performance on the
4th of July. He wants to appear nice by letting a regular Joe Schmoe
fight him in the ring. All for show, of course. As he is looking through
a book of local boxers, he points his finger at the letters THE ITALIAN
STALLION, a.k.a. Rocky. He says that fighting an Italian is perfect. "An
Italian found America," Creed says. If he fights an Italian-American on
the 4th of July, it will be symbolic and will also make Creed look good.
But Rocky doesn't realize this is all for show. When he receives word
that Apollo Creed wishes to fight him in the ring, Rocky begins to train
long and hard with Burgess Meredith, which results in the famous scene
where Rocky runs up an entry of stairs in Philly with the music "Gonna
Fly Now" playing in the background. This scene is spoofed by films
world-wide, and it's one of the cornerstones in film history. You will
see it all the time. It's just one of those film moments that are marked
down in history.
The most entertaining thing about "Rocky" is how innocent Sylvester
Stallone comes across in his role as Rocky. You feel for him when he is
trying to impress Adrian and she shrugs him off. The scene where her
brother invites Rocky over, and Rocky keeps saying, "Are you sure she
knows I'm coming?" is a sign of how the guy has been put down. And then
when she comes over to his apartment, he acts nice and talks to her.
He's not trying any moves on her. He just enjoys being with her. Rocky
is a bit of an idiot, as he himself admits, but he's a sweet idiot.
And the end, when Rocky fights Apollo Creed, is amazing. A nobody who
actually stands a chance against the heavyweight champion of the world.
Creed and Rocky are being battered by each other. Creed goes into the
opposite corner as Rocky, and one of Creed's managers says, "This guy
thinks this thing is for real -- knock him out!" You feel sorry for
Rocky there, because he is giving the fight all he's got, when it was
just a publicity stunt from the beginning, but he didn't even realize
Things like that are what make "Rocky" what it has become over the
years. It is a great film, and it has many classic moments that you will
see spoofed in films all the time. You should probably see it just for
But the truth is, if you take away all the underlying intricacies,
"Rocky" is just the story of a simple guy who gets a chance to do
something amazing, and he gives it all he's got. I think we've all gone
through something like that before, and if so, you will be able to
identify with "Rocky" all the more.