FiLM REViEW: Rocky, 1976

Wow! What feel good fun this old film is. Like it’s star character, Rocky has real heart. Sure it’s a bit cornball. A bit all-American apple-pie. But it’s also just damn good fun.

Stallone is great as the title character, a bit of a loser and dumbo, but with a good spirit, a big heart, and even bigger pecs/biceps. Carl Weaver is great as Apollo Creed, a fighter with as much brains as brawn, and more business acumen than his handlers.

My inner Alan Partridge is admonishing Rocky, ‘Don’t just be safe. Be egg safe!‘

The love interest side of the plot is really sweet, as well. Rocky pursuing Adrian (Talia Shire), the mousey pet-store assistant sister of his meat-packer buddy Pauly. Burgess Meredith is great as the Boxing Gymn owner who has a troubled fatherly relationship with Rocky.

Written by and starring Stallone, ably directed by John Avildsen, and telling a heartwarming rags to riches type tale of the American Dream, it’s not surprising Rocky won the Academy Award for Best Picture in ‘76.

Sly’s inspirational training scenes are fab!

Rocky’s character is both clichéd and yet still more rounded and subtle than one might expect. And the setting – in the grubby asphalt jungle of the working class neighbourhood, where Rocky operates as a strong-arm (but soft-hearted) debt collector for a rather charming and benevolent (at least as far as Ricky’s concerned) hoodlum – is both vivid and effective. And gives good context for the several strands of socially conscious moral values side of this very engaging movie.

There are several superb set pieces, culminating in the workout routine that sees a triumphantly heathy Stallone bopping atop the steps of the Philly Town Hall, and, of course, the big fight. some of the shots in the training sequences are breathtakingly beautiful. The fight is brutal, and the outcome dramatic but also sassy enough not to over-egg the soufflé.

Skid Row bums still have their dreams…
… and here, in celluloid heaven, they sometimes come true.

Watching this cuddled up on the sofa with a tipple close at hand and arms around the mrs was incredibly enjoyable. Go Rocky!

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