Rocky (1976)

Directed by John G. Avildsen
Written by Sylvester Stallone
(number 378)

I didn’t know Sylvester Stallone wrote this!

Anna and I sat down to watch this. Neither of us had seen it before and didn’t particularly know what to expect beyond some punching. Anna was a bit hesitant on account of the last boxing movie she watched was Million Dollar Baby which is apparently sad. I didn’t think this one would be as sad.

Anyway, after the opening boxing sequence, there’s a lovely ‘Rocky walking home’ montage which sets the scene in the crappy part of Philidelphia and there’s a sweet bit where he walks past some people singing in the street.

Anna: “He’s a boxer with a street a capella gang?”

This is a hometown hero story. Rocky is a down on his luck every-day guy who takes on the challenge to box against someone famous. He wrestles with self doubt, performs one of the most famous training montages to music of all time and gains the support of the people around him.

Having said that, I’m not very keen on Sylvester Stallone in this role. I’m sure there’s a lot of great reasons that he should have played his own main character, but I don’t find him charismatic as an actor and he is literally hard to understand. That said, it does make him believable as a Philadelphia nobody who’s unaware of his own talents. I dunno.

Does it make me love the people? Rocky talking to his turtles and fish sets the scene pretty early on for him as a sensitive guy with some humour. Then we see him practising the joke he wants to tell to Adrian in the mirror before he sees her the next day. It’s sweet.

Bechdel test: No. Adrian talks to the other woman who works at the pet store but she’s never named. She literally exists as a character to be seduced by Rocky (he has to fight past her shyness and poor self esteem in order to kiss her,) and he makes her more beautiful by taking off her glasses and weird hat, and from that moment on she’s the supportive love interest. Aside from the first moments of her in the pet shop we only see her in the context of Rocky as a love interest, or her brother Paulie as a point of contention. There’s a really dramatically awkward Christmas scene where Paulie is so incensed to see his sister existing outside of the context he knows her in (sad, pathetic, obedient to him, domestic), he’s so angry that he gets physically violent. So yeah, she’s not a strong character to me.

Best line:

Mickey: Your nose is broken.
Rocky: How does it look?
Mickey: Ah, it’s an improvement.

State of Mind: We sort of missed whether he won or not, so I had to check on wikipedia. I can’t say much about this, because neither Anna or I really cared. It’s a bit slow, it’s a bit lacking of plot.. The training montage was fine, but even as a sports movie it didn’t really grab me. Anna wants to be on record saying she didn’t care about it.

Watched movie count


One thought on “Rocky (1976)

  1. Stallone shopped the script around for years before he could find a studio that would also take him as the lead actor. Fair to say that was a good bit of tenacity on his part.

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