Directed By: John G. Avildsen
Nominated for 10 Oscars, Won 3
Also Won: Best Director, Best Film Editing
Also Nominated For: Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor (x2), Best Actress, Best Original Song, Best Sound, Best Writing,
Up Against: All the President's Men, Bound for Glory, Network, Taxi Driver
Rocky is the story of a down-on-his-luck boxer who gets a chance to fight in the World Heavyweight Championship. But what it's really about is a crappy boxer who does not look remotely like an athlete when not boxing, who loves his turtles and pets, gets together with the weird girl at the petshop, and randomly gets selected to fight Apollo Creed in the World Heavyweight Championship because his boxing name is cool and Creed doesn't want a real fight.
This movie is a very big pop culture win. When it came to the montage scenes with Rocky training, I recognized them, and even know he would climb up those steps in front of the museum and pump his fists, even though I've never seen the film. And honestly, with this film being the classic and popular movie that it is, I was expecting way way better than it was.
In many ways, I could tell Sylvester Stallone wrote this script, and meant it for himself. All he did was talk the entire movie with everyone else getting few lines. Stallone seems natural for the part, and did a good job in it, but it seemed almost a little too showy, and having almost too many lines compared to his girlfriend Adrian, and various other characters (there weren't many other characters of importance).
I found this film to be slow-moving for the first hour, and felt little sympathy for Rocky. His first fight showed he wasn't that great of a fighter, and that he wasn't really trying that hard to be great, or trying to do anything else. Rocky is a bit of a slow guy who likes to come across as being content with where he is in life, but we discover that he isn't really. The film moved a bit too slow for me, having very little to do with the final fight, and was more just random tossed together scenes of Rocky trying to help the neighbour girl who's hanging out and smoking with guys on the corner, or telling jokes to the pet shop girl (though mostly telling them to the birds or dog in the store).
Rocky's shot at the title comes from random chance. The man who was supposed to fight Apollo Creed at the United States Bicentennial has dropped out because of a hand injury, so Creed gives this "marvelous" idea that they should give an underdog, local fighter "a shot at the title". And Rocky randomly gets selected because they like his boxer name "The Italian Stallion". To me, this sounds like a "too lucky" premise, and hardly to be believed. It's quite an outlandish idea, though its supposed to make Creed sound cocky, like it doesn't matter who he fights, they just need to give a show and Creed will win at the end of it, regardless.
All in all, I found this film riddled with cliches. Yes I know this is the boxing movie that every boxing movie tries to replicate. But it was still filled with things I've seen in any other movie about a down-and-out before it. I find it a little unbelievable that this film won Best Picture in it's day. It was a mediocre film, that goes on to be a classic (for whatever reason). I also find it interesting that it was doubly up for Best Supporting Actor, and also for Lead Actress, all three of which I think were a little unnecessary. Talia Shire could barely get in a word edge-wise around Sylvester Stallone, and while her character represented a lot to Rocky, the performance itself was very small and nothing incredible.
Overall, this was a barely alright film. It was extremely American, which is a film that never seems to sit that well with me because, well, I'm not American, and I've seen way too many "we love our country, the United States" movies. Sylvester Stallone had a great performance, but everything else about this film was mediocre and cliche.
Music- 7/10 Emotional Connection- 5.5/10
Overall Enjoyment- 6/10
Overall Package- 6.5/10