“ROCKY”: THE OCSAR WINNER FOR THE UNDERDOG RETURNING TO THEATERS FOR A SIXTH TIME
“Rocky”, the first movie released in a series of five in 1976, won three Oscars, including best picture and best director for John G. Avildsen. Sylvester Stallone, unknown in the acting world, pleaded with MGM to let him play the lead character in the story he wrote himself over a period of ten years.
Stallone was able to land the lead, as Rocky Balboa, who lived in Philadelphia as a small-time boxer and the brawn of a loan shark. A second rate southpaw, his life is nothing of interest. He becomes fond of a pet store clerk, Adrian, played by Talia Shire and is friends with her alcoholic brother, Paulie, played by Burt Young.
Apollo Creed, Heavy Weight Champion of the World, played by Carl Weathers, takes an interest in Rocky, who refers to himself as the Italian Stallion, and offers him a once in a lifetime shot at the title. Mick, played my Burgess Meredith, becomes Rocky’s old boxer-turned-trainer.
Everyone must be familiar with this story. I dare to think there is anyone who has not seen this outstanding and memorable movie. This movie is unlike any other ever put on film. It has passion, confrontation, and a spectrum of emotions on screen that pass to the audience off screen as you applaud and chant for the underdog in unison. In the final scenes when the excruciating and compelling confrontation between Balboa and Creed take place, I found my adrenaline pumping, pulse quickening and myself rising up from my seat.
I decided to write this review after watching the movie this morning. After 30 years, this movie still manages to evoke and explode my emotions. The film’s possession of realistic acting, superb dialogue and a phenomenal music score by Bill Conti still draws me in. In my opinion, Stallone gives a wholesome and electrifying performance celebrating the underdog battling to beat the odds. However, this film is not just a boxing movie. It is a movie about a boxer. In the end the fans are not manipulated into thinking that the inevitable will happen as it does in every other hero drama. ‘Rocky’ illustrates how life itself is stifling and perplexing, but sometimes when you lose your way, you may just find something better.
This morning after watching the movie, I was pumped and ready to tackle cleaning a hideous house left undone. In the background, I heard more “Rocky” theme music and I saw the beginning of Rocky II. Tempted as I was to watch, I, like many others, was not as awe struck by it or the following sequels. I am sure TNT was playing this series of “Rocky” movies for promotional purposes of the new movie, “Rocky Balboa,” due to be released on December 22, 2006. One has to wonder; will this be the last one?
Shooting began in December of 2005 in Philadelphia and Las Vegas. The movie is about an aging, widowed Rocky who is hesitant to fight but ends up doing so. Dan Taylor, co-producer of the film, said the movie focuses less on boxing and more on character.
“I am drawing on a lot of my feelings that are in sync with many people’s feelings about facing the last chapter of their lives and how they want it to be written,” Stallone told Daily Variety trade magazine.
Stallone, 59, also wrote and directed, “Rocky Balboa,” which has come fifteen years after retiring the legendary boxer in “Rocky V.”
So, will you be tempted to see this movie? Will I? More than likely, I will. I have to admit curiosity always has the better part of me. Although, I am sure he can never pull another “Rocky” out of his pocket I have to wonder what he can pull out his sleeve.