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Rocky (1976)

Succeeded by: Rocky II (1979)

Director:
John G. Avildsen
COUNTRY
USA
GENRE
Drama/Sports
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Rocky

RUNNING TIME
119 minutes

Producers:
Irwin Winkler
Robert Chartoff
Screenwriter:
Sylvester Stallone


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Rocky Balboa Sylvester Stallone
Adrian Talia Shire
Paulie Burt Young
Apollo Creed Carl Weathers
Mickey Burgess Meredith
Miles Jergens Thayer David -
Tom Gazzo Joe Spinell -
Mike Jimmy Gambina -

 

Review

The emblematic sports movie and one of film history's most successful rags-to-riches stories has the timeless qualities and the sincere characterizations to stay relevant after nearly half a century. When Sylvester Stallone's script was picked up by Winkler-Chartoff Productions and they accepted to make the film on a $1 million budget with the relatively unknown Stallone in the lead role, few could have anticipated the film's immediate and lasting success and certainly not how it would serve as the benchmark for all future sports movies. Unlike later films in the ensuing franchise, the original has very little action from the ring. Instead, director John G. Avildsen went about creating a morose, unflattering character study from the wrong side of the tracks, where people constantly misunderstand each other, vent their frustrations, and know of no other existence than living from hand to mouth. Stallone's Rocky Balboa is a beacon of decency in this dreary society, but he's also simpleminded, lacks confidence and needs to be pushed into a corner (literally) in order to come out of his skin and flourish. Of course, the film turns out to be more of an advocate for The American Dream than Avildsen's atmospheric social study had deserved. But there's a poetic balance to the ending which makes it all just as bittersweet as life often is for those of us who've never quite hit the jackpot. Talia Shire's portrayal of Rocky's shy girlfriend matches Stallone's career-best performance perfectly. The now iconic music was composed by Bill Conti.

Re-reviewed: Copyright 04.08.2021 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review: Copyright 12.05.1997 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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