Release Date: November 21, 1976
Director: John G. Avildsen
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith
Personal History: Watched Before
Rating: 9.5 Oscars out of 10
‘Rocky’ was both a huge commercial and critical success when it was released back in 1976. It was the highest-grossing film that year and received ten Academy Award nominations, winning three including Best Picture. It is one of my favorite movies of all time and was included in my 365 Day Movie Challenge in 2020. After reading what I wrote about it then, there is no way I can top it. So instead, I am just going to share (an edited version) for you to enjoy. Check out ‘Rocky‘ for the original version.
From A Movie a Day Keeps the Doctor Away March 25, 2020:
I didn’t see ‘Rocky’ in theaters. I was only five. The only Rocky I knew at that time was Rocky and Bullwinkle. I’m not exactly sure when I saw the movie but I do know that it was on HBO, so I will guess some time in the early 1980’s. Back in the early days of Home Box Office, there were premieres. Usually every first Saturday night of the month was the big movie that they were promoting. ‘Rocky’ was one of those movies.
I remember my family gathering around the television each in our own special seats with our blankets and snacks waiting to see the “World Premiere Presentation” introduction that they used to play. By the way that song is now playing in my head. If you remember the introduction, it is now playing in your head as well. You’re welcome. I also remember the beginning of the actual movie because it starts with a simple slow crawl of ‘Rocky’ with the iconic music “Gonna Fly Now” playing. I was very excited. But apparently not that excited as very soon after that I fell asleep.
Luckily for me, HBO repeated movies on what seemed a continuous loop. So I once again found myself in a similar situation waiting for the movie to play. And for the second time, I fell asleep. I know that I eventually saw the movie that month it played on HBO, but I don’t remember too much about it, except that it made me fall asleep…twice.
Regardless of me falling asleep, possibly due to Sylvester Stallone’s dulcet tones, I really did enjoy the character of Rocky Balboa. I have always loved the story of the underdog, even at that young age. To a ten or eleven year old, he was a hero. I eventually saw ‘Rocky II’ on HBO and then ‘Rocky III’ in theaters with friends. Each time a sequel was released I watched the original. My family owned it on VHS so it was readily available. And I could always stop it if I felt a little tired.
I still get chills when the movie starts. That slow scroll from left to right of R O C K Y, while Bill Conti’s music played is absolute perfection. Music is such an important component of film. For me the theme to ‘Rocky’ is right up there with ‘Star Wars’ as musical scores that pump me up. When I hear them, I know that things are going to be ok.
Sylvester Stallone is really great as Rocky Balboa. There is a certain innocence to him. He’s likable. Lovable. Someone you want to see better his life. Someone you want to see win. And even though he doesn’t technically win, he really does.
I am not a fan of boxing, and I am not a huge fan of Mr. Stallone as an actor, but I do love the story. David versus Goliath, small town boy beating the odds, never giving up on your dreams are all themes that excite me in cinema. They are the stories that no matter how many times I see them, give me chills.