Rocky (1976) 4.29/5 (1)


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Rating: The Good – 74.9
Genre: Drama
Duration: 119  mins
Director: John G. Avildsen
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young

 We all know the story: a journeyman slugger is given a shot at the title as a publicity stunt dreamed up by the champ but ends up giving the champ more than he bargained for. It may have spawned an ultimately tiresome series of sequels but this original work is a very different film to the franchised money-spinners. Rocky is at times a brutally honest portrayal of a young bruiser reluctantly moonlighting as a loan collector stuck in a rut that it seems may last a lifetime. Sylvester Stallone gives the performance of his life in bringing a phenomenal degree of authenticity to the role. He gives us so many sides to Rocky which are all so well tied into the main core of the man that it might well be one of the most layered performances we’ve seen from anyone (really!). We like him immediately but the film ends with us rooting for him like nobody before or since. Talia Shire, Burt Young, and the charismatic Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed similarly turn in the performances of their careers. Not only did Stallone do the acting, but he also wrote the damn thing and rightly scooped up an Oscar for what is an awesomely fresh and insightful screenplay. For those expecting an action movie like the sequels offered up, forget it. This is a drama and a damn good one. Yes, they’re is an action pay off at the end but it’s actually quite truncated and the real joy is to be had in the extremely fleshed out build up. That said when the fight does begin, it’s a terrifically choreographed and shot spectacle which to the very last emotion captures the theme of the movie. “I just wanna go the distance.”

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