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ROCKY LIVES!

Rocky is the tale of a Philadelphia lone-shark's collector whose passion has always been boxing. But at the time the movie begins, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone), is thirty years old and is a self-described "bum." He's a club-fighter/leg-breaker, who is alone, a little slow, and uninspired. At the "Mighty Mick's" gym where he trains, he loses his locker to another boxer, at the will of the owner, Mickey (played brilliantly by veteran actor Burgess Meredith), the weathered old pug, who tells Rocky that he had the heart to become a contender, but fights like a "goddamn ape." Rocky has his eyes set on a pet-shop assistant, Adrian (Talia Shire), who is too shy and too insecure to respond to his advances. Rocky's only true friend is alcoholic, Pauly ( Burt Young), Adrian's obnoxious older brother. Discouraged, nothing seems to be going his way, as Rocky feels like his life is going down the wrong path. Pauly sets the two up on a date, wherein Rocky takes her to the closed ice rink where he really opens up to her to get a response and then to his apartment. She brings out the soft side to his tough-guy exterior, and their romance begins hereafter. Simultaneously, the undefeated heavy-weight boxing champion, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) a character based on the great boxer Muhammad Ali, is looking for an opponent for the big bicentennial fight, when the challenger Macaulay Green is injured during training. By flipping through a boxing directory of names, he comes across the " Italian Stallion"- Rocky's nickname, and decides that the sentimentality of giving a "snow-white" underdog a chance at the title would go well with the media and the public. Rocky is contacted by the promoter and reluctantly agrees to fight Creed, doubting his chances but seeing an opportunity to rise up from his situation nonetheless. Mickey showing sudden interest, visits Rocky personally that night and asks to become his manager; Stallone delivers a powerful monologue in this scene in which he really conveys Rocky's frustration and low morale at this point. But seeing Mickey's sincerity, Rocky lets go of his grudge and agrees. Under Mick's supervision, he begins his vigorous training. As Rocky is pounding away at beef carcasses in the Philadelphia Meat Packing plant, running everyday, and getting himself into shape for the fight of his life, Apollo trains mildly, arrogantly calling the fight a show, that will end in a knockout in under 3 rounds. In a rousing and moving sequence, Rocky, our sentimental underdog improves himself through training, gaining strength both physically and psychologically, in a efforted attempt to prove to the world and to himself that he is no bum who will simply lay down, but who will in fact go the distance- 15 rounds- and prove that he is a true contender. When the fight finally comes Rocky knocks the arrogant, dancing Apollo, down in the first round sending the crowd into a frenzy. Although he got back up, Creed knew that he had a battle on his hands and that he would have to actually go to war. In one of THE most moving moments in movie history, Rocky goes the distance with Creed, (who ultimately wins by decision) winning the respect and admiration of the crowd both in the boxing arena in the film and in movie theatres, for his heart and determination against insurmountable odds. In the fray of reporters after the fight, Rocky calls out for " Adrian! Adrian!" With his face bruised and bloodied and he visibly exhausted, he declares his love for Adrian as the movie ends.

 

In the four classic Rocky movies that follow (reflecting the popularity of the first), we see how Rocky and his family face and rise to new challenges, but in my opinion, even though they were all fantastic in their own right, none of them matched the feeling, intensity and the sentimentality of the first low-budget production. This might be attributed to the fact that the story, which was written by the star of the movie, Sylvester Stallone, paralleled his life to a great extent in the sense that he too was someone who was struggling in his field- acting- until he got his big break with Rocky, becoming one of the most successful stars in the world today. This sensitivity resonates in the film and this is why many have said this was the role Stallone was born to play, because it was autobiographical to a certain point. The movie in fact, received ten Oscar nominations and won for best picture, directing and editing in 1976. What Rocky gives us, is the sense that our dreams are within our grasp, regardless of who we are or how we feel about ourselves, if we are prepared to rise to the challenge by giving our entire effort. It is a feel-good, powerful and pumping movie that serves as motivation and as an example of how to lead one's life. The music in the Rocky movies are available on the soundtracks, which are absolutely incredible as spirit lifters and motivation, but for some reason, all are available aside from Rocky V. If you have not seen Rocky- rent it, because you will never forget it, I can guarantee you that. It promotes the spirit of the hard-working underdog, a spirit that all people should never lose touch with. As long as Rocky lives- the underdog spirit is never lost. If you any suggestions or comments please feel free to email me at paperchamp@hotmail.com. Thanks for visiting, and please feel free to come again!

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