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Monday, 4 March 2013

Rocky (1976)

His whole life was a million to one shot

Rocky will go down as one of the greatest movies ever made. If Sylvester Stallone's story behind bringing Rocky to the big screen is not one to go by, the movie proves just as emotional, ambitious and heavily inspiring. Let's take a trip back in time to review a movie that was scripted by Sly and nearly sold for the price of a few meals.

Pennsylvania is home to many characters stalking the gritty streets of Philadelphia, catering for the company of poverty stricken individuals on every corner. Small-time loan shark and local boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is one such resident of this area. Struggling to make a break-through with the sport he loves, Rocky gets the chance to defy all odds when heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) grants him a once in a life time opportunity to compete for the title.

Although Rocky has adapted to his own company, he looks to keep it that way, even when gym owner and former trainer Micky (Burgess Meredith); comes knocking, offering to lend a hand in helping Rocky survive the fight. With very little choice, Rocky is forced to accept the opportunity from Micky; despite years of bad blood and fall-outs relating to what Rocky could have been, but never was. On the other hand, Apollo's camp is sceptical of his chosen opponent. Apollo can only see the fight going one way. The egotistical big-mouth seems more worried about the media's build up to the fight and what the result of the fight could mean for Apollo's generosity in the future.

Despite being swallowed by a level of pessimistic perceptions, Rocky concedes a level of optimism along with the help and company of Adrian (Talia Shire); a local pet shop assistant who plays a significant role in Rocky's ambition, while an unwritten chemistry quickly evolves, leading to a love story that would carry the saga - from start to finish.

Written and directed by Sylvester himself, Rocky would go on to be one the greatest sporting dramas of our time. Rocky is critically acclaimed for its creation of mixed emotions and extraordinary characters. The fictional biopic (based on the lasting bout between Ali and Chuck Wepner) tends to suck you in from the beginning as the "rags to riches" sympathetic sensation of one man's ambition is heartfelt every time.

Watch as Rocky and Mickey battle the critics of America, sweeping aside the "underdog" perception in a bid to defy the odds. The "Take you back" introduction is one of many nostalgic sequences, even for those who were not around in the 70s (like me).

38 years down the line, Rocky continues to supply a mash up of emotional aspects and exciting sequences. Despite the interactions between Apollo and Rocky, ignoring the well rehearsed annoyance of Adrian's brother Paulie (Burt Young), taking in the memorable "blood sweat and tears" between Rocky and Micky; in my opinion, Rocky stands out significantly due to the presence of Talia Shire. Her performance brings out an ecstatic audition in Sylvester Stallone - revealing a blossoming relationship that makes Rocky a joy to watch, over and over again.

Sylvester Stallone's classical effort picked up an academy award for best picture in 1977 which has resulted in the recognition of Stallone today.

Stay tuned for Rocky 2.

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