Infobox Film | name = Rocky
caption = Original poster
John G. Avildsen
Robert Chartoff Irwin Winkler
Sylvester Stallone Talia Shire Burt Young Carl Weathers Burgess Meredith Tony Burton
editing = Richard Halsey Scott Conrad
distributor = flagicon|United States
released = November 21, 1976
runtime = 120 min.
country = USA
language = English
amg_id = 1:41846
imdb_id = 0075148
followed_by = "
"Rocky" is a 1976
filmwritten by and starring Sylvester Stalloneand directed by John G. Avildsen. It tells the rags-to-riches American Dreamstory of Rocky Balboa, an uneducated but good-hearted debt collectorfor a loan sharkin Philadelphia. Balboa is also a club fighter who gets a shot at the world heavyweight championshipwhen the scheduled contender breaks his hand. Also starring in "Rocky" are Talia Shireas Adrian, Burt Youngas Adrian's brother Paulie, Burgess Meredithas Rocky's trainer Mickey Goldmill, and Carl Weathersas the champion, Apollo Creed.
The film, made for only US$1.1 million,cite web| title = Rocky Budget | url = http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075148/business| accessdaymonth = 05 October | accessyear = 2008] and shot relatively fast in 28 days, was a
sleeper hit; it made over US$117.2 million, [cite web|url = http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/top_grossing_movies_adj.html|accessdaymonth = 23 September |accessyear = 2006|title = Rocky Movie Gross @ Screen Source] and won three Oscars, including Best Picture. The film was reviewed very well and launched Stallone's career into the stratosphere. [cite web|url = http://www.bravotv.com/Inside_the_Actors_Studio/guests/Sylvester_Stallone.shtml|title = Inside the Actors Studio with Sylvester Stallone|accessdaymonth = 28 September |accessyear = 2006] It spawned five sequels: "Rocky II, III, IV, V", and "Rocky Balboa".
The studio liked the script, and viewed it as a possible vehicle for a well-established star such as
Robert Redford, Ryan O'Neal, Burt Reynoldsor James Caan. Stallone held out, demanding he be given a chance to star in the film. He later said that he would never have forgiven himself if the film became a success with someone else in the lead. He also knew that producers Irwin Winklerand Robert Chartoff's contract with the studio enabled them to "greenlight" a project if the budget was kept low enough.
Certain elements of the story were altered during filming. The original script had a darker tone: Mickey was portrayed as racist and the script ended with Rocky throwing the fight after realizing he did not want to be part of the
professional boxingworld after all.cite web| title = "Rocky Trivia" | url = http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075148/trivia | accessdaymonth = 24 August | accessyear = 2006]
Although Winkler and Chartoff were enthusiastic about the script, they were at first somewhat hesitant to allow Stallone to play the main character. The producers also had trouble casting other major characters in the story, with Adrian and Apollo Creed cast unusually late by production standards (both were ultimately cast on the same day). Real-life boxer
Ken Nortonwas initially sought for the role of Apollo Creed, but he pulled out and the role was ultimately given to Carl Weathers. Interestingly, Norton had had three fights with Muhammad Ali, upon whom Creed was loosely based. According to "The Rocky Scrapbook", Carrie Snodgresswas originally chosen to play Adrian, but a money dispute forced the producers to look elsewhere. Susan Sarandonauditioned for the role but was deemed too pretty for the character. After Talia Shire's ensuing audition, Chartoff and Winkler, along with Avildsen, insisted that she play the part.Fact|date=April 2007 Garrett Brown's Steadicamwas used to accomplish a smooth shot running alongside Rocky during his training run up the flight of stairs. It was also used for some of the shots in the fight scenes and can be openly seen at the ringside during some wide shots of the final fight. ("Rocky" is often erroneously cited as the first film to use the Steadicam, although the distinction actually goes to "Bound for Glory" as the first production to use it. "Marathon Man" also has a claim, as it premiered prior to either film. [cite web| url=http://lserv2.dtopinc.com/tiffen/staging_html/tiffen_news_Steadicam30th_Anniv.html| title= Steadicam 30th anniversary press release] )
While filming "Rocky", both Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers suffered injuries during the shooting of the final fight; Stallone suffered bruised ribs and Weathers suffered a damaged nose.
The poster seen above the ring before Rocky fights Apollo Creed shows Rocky wearing red shorts with a white stripe when he actually wears white shorts with a red stripe. When Rocky points this out he is told that "it doesn't really matter does it?". This was an actual mistake made by the props department that they could not afford to rectify, so Stallone wrote the brief scene to ensure the audience didn't see it as a goof. The same situation arose with Rocky's robe. When it came back from the costume department, it was far too baggy for Stallone, so rather than ignore this and risk the audience laughing at it, Stallone wrote the dialogue where Rocky himself points out the robe is too big.
Rocky Balboais introduced as a small-time boxer and collector for a loan shark. The World Heavyweight Championship bout is scheduled for New Year's Day, 1976, the year of the United States Bicentennial. When the opponent of undefeated heavyweight champion Apollo Creedis injured, Creed comes up with the idea of fighting a local Philadelphiaunderdog and, because he likes Rocky's nickname, "The Italian Stallion," he selects the unknown fighter. He says "Apollo Creed versus 'The Italian Stallion.' Sounds like a damn monster movie."
To prepare for the fight, Rocky trains with 1920s-era ex-
bantamweightfighter Mickey Goldmill, while Rocky's best friend, Paulie, a meat-packing plant worker, lets him practice his punches on the carcasses hanging in the freezers. During training, Rocky dates Paulie's quiet sister, Adrian. The night before the fight, Rocky confides in Adrian that he does not expect to beat Creed, and that all he wants is to go the distance with Creed, meaning that lasting 15 rounds (the typical scheduled length of championship fights at the time) against him would mean he "... wasn't just another bum from the neighborhood."
Creed does not initially take the fight seriously, but Rocky unexpectedly knocks him down in the first round and the match turns intense. The fight indeed lasts 15 rounds with each fighter suffering many injuries. After the fight, Rocky calls out for Adrian, who runs down to the ring. As Creed is announced the winner by
split decision, Adrian and Rocky embrace while they profess their love to one another, not caring about the results of the fight.
Sylvester Stalloneas Rocky Balboa, an enforcer for a loan shark by day and a semi-pro boxer by night. He is given the chance at the heavyweight title.
Talia Shireas Adrian Pennino, Rocky's love interest. Adrian is a quiet pet store clerk who falls in love with Rocky and supports him through his training.
Burt Youngas Paulie Pennino, Adrian's brother. A meat-packing plant worker by trade, Paulie permits Rocky to train in the freezer.
Carl Weathersas Apollo Creed, Rocky's opponent and heavyweight champion. The character was influenced by the outspoken, real-life boxing great Muhammad Ali.citeweb|url= http://rockythemovie.com/homevideo/index.html|title= Cast and Crew bios for Rocky|accessdate= 15 November|accessyear= 2006]
Burgess Meredithas Mickey Goldmill, Rocky's manager and trainer, a former bantamweightfighter from the 1920s and the owner of the local boxing gym.
With the character of outspoken Apollo Creed influenced by
Muhammed Ali, one interesting detail is the cameo appearance of Joe Frazier, another real-life former world heavyweightchampion who fought Ali three times. During the Academy Awardsceremony, Ali and Stallone staged a brief comic confrontation to show Ali was not offended by the film.
Due to the film's low budget, members of Stallone's family played minor roles. His father rings the bell to signal the start and end of a round, his brother Frank plays a street corner singer, and his first wife, Sasha, was the set
photographer.Fact|date=April 2007 Other cameos include Los Angeles television sportscaster Stu Nahanplaying himself, alongside radio and TV broadcaster Bill Baldwin and Lloyd Kaufman, founder of the longest-running independent film company Troma, appearing as a drunk. Longtime Detroit Channel 7 Action Newsanchor Diana Lewis has a small scene as a TV news reporter. Tony Burtonappeared as Apollo Creed's trainer, Tony "Duke" Evers, a role he would reprise in the entire "Rocky" series, though he is not given an official name until "Rocky II". Brad Leahy played a hot dog vendor.
"Rocky" received positive reviews when it was released in 1976.
Roger Ebertof the " Chicago Sun-Times" gave "Rocky" 4 out of 4 stars, [cite web| accessdaymonth = 23 September |accessyear = 2006|date= January 1, 1977|title = Roger Ebert Rocky Review| url = http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19760101/REVIEWS/601010307/1023] and "Box Office Magazine" claimed that audiences would be "...touting Sylvester 'Sly' Stallone as a new star". [cite web |date= November 22, 1976 |title = Box Office Magazine Rocky Review | url = http://www.boxoffice.com/scripts/fiw.dll?GetReview?&where=ID&terms=4828 |accessdaymonth = 23 September |accessyear = 2006] [cite web| title= Arizona Daily Star Review |url=http://www.channel4.com/film/reviews/film.jsp?id=107744§ion=pressQuote |accessdaymonth= 14 November |accessyear= 2006.] However, Vincent Canby of the " New York Times" called it "pure '30s make believe" and slammed both Stallone's acting and Avildsen's directing, calling the latter "...none too decisive..." [cite web|date= November 22, 1976|accessdaymonth = 23 September |accessyear = 2006|url = http://movies2.nytimes.com/mem/movies/review.html?_r=1&title1=Rocky%20(Movie)&title2=&reviewer=VINCENT%20CANBY&pdate=19761122&v_id=|title = Vincent Cabny Rock Review for New York Times]
More than 30 years later, the film enjoys a reputation as a classic and still receives positive reviews;
Rotten Tomatoesgave the film a 93% fresh rating. [cite web|title = Rocky @ Rotten Tomatoes| url = http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1017776-rocky/|accessdaymonth = 6 January | accessyear = 2007] Another positive online review came from the BBCFilms website, with both reviewer Almar Haflidason and BBC online users giving it 5/5 stars. [citeweb|url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2001/03/12/rocky_1976_review.shtml|title = Rocky @ BBC Films|accessdate= 14 November|accessyear= 2006 ] In Steven J. Schneider's "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", Schneider says the film is "often overlooked as schmaltz." [cite book|last =Schneider| first = Stephen Jay |authorlink = | coauthors = Garrett Chaffin-Quiray (review)| title = 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die (Revised Edition) |publisher = New Burlington Books|date= 2005 |location = London, England| pages = 615 | url = | doi =| id =]
In 2006, "Rocky" was selected for preservation in the United States
National Film Registryby the Library of Congressas being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"— the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres— after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. "Rocky" was acknowledged as the second-best film in the sports genre. [cite news | author =
American Film Institute| title = AFI Crowns Top 10 Films in 10 Classic Genres | work = ComingSoon.net | date = 2008-06-17 | url = http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=46072 | accessdate= 2008-06-18] [cite web | title= Top 10 Sports | url = http://www.afi.com/10top10/sports.html | publisher= American Film Institute|accessdate= 2008-06-18]
"Rocky" received ten
Academy Awardsnominations in nine categories, winning three: [citeweb|url= http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/Academy_Awards_USA/1977|title = IMDb Academy Awards 1977|accessdate = 14 November|accessyear = 2006]
*Best Picture (Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler) (won)
*Best Director (John G. Avildsen) (won)
*Film Editing (Richard Halsey and Scott Conrad) (won)
*Best Original Screenplay (Sylvester Stallone)
*Best Actor (Sylvester Stallone)
*Best Actress (Talia Shire)
*Best Supporting Actor (Burt Young)
*Best Supporting Actor (Burgess Meredith)
*Best Music, Original Song (
Bill Conti, Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins for "Gonna Fly Now")
*Best Sound (Harry W. Tetrick, William L. McCaughey, Lyle J. Burbridge and Bud Alper)
"Rocky" has also appeared on several of the
American Film Institute's "100 Years" lists.
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies, number 78.cite web|date= 1998| title = AFI 100 Years| url = http://www.afi.com/tvevents/100years/movies.aspx| accessdaymonth = 24 August | accessyear = 2006]
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition), number 57.cite web|date= 2007| title = AFI 100 years (10th anniversary edition0| url = http://connect.afi.com/site/PageServer?pagename=100register_landing| accessdaymonth = 20 June | accessyear= 2007]
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Cheers, number 4.cite web|date= June 14, 2006| title = AFI 100 Cheers| url = http://www.afi.com/tvevents/100years/cheers.aspx| accessdaymonth = 24 August | accessyear = 2006]
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotesnumber 80: "Yo, Adrian!". [citeweb|date= 2005| url = http://www.afi.com/tvevents/100years/quotes.aspx#list| accessdate = 29 September| accessyear = 2006|title = AFI 100 Quotes]
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and VillainsHeroes number 7: Rocky Balboa. [cite web|url = http://www.afi.com/tvevents/100years/handv.aspx|title = AFI 100 Heroes and Villains|accessdaymonth = 11 October |accessyear = 2006]
Directors Guild of Americaawarded "Rocky" its annual award for best film of the year in 1976, and in 2006, Sylvester Stallone's original screenplay for "Rocky" was selected for the Writers Guild of America Awardas the 78th best screenplay of all time.cite web| title = 100 Best Screenplays by Writers Guild of America, west| url = http://www.wga.org/subpage_newsevents.aspx?id=1807| accessdaymonth = 24 August | accessyear = 2006]
soundtrackwas composed by Bill Conti. The main theme song" Gonna Fly Now" made it to number one on the Billboard Magazines Hot 100 list for one week (from July 2 to July 8, 1977) and the American Film Instituteplaced it 58th on its AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs. [cite web|url = http://www.popculturemadness.com/Music/Pop-Modern/1977.html|accessdaymonth = 14 October |accessyear = 2006|title = Popculturemadness.com list of 1977 number ones, based on Billboards lists|date= July 2-July 8, 1977] [cite web|url = http://www.afi.com/tvevents/100years/songs.aspx|title = AFI 100 songs|accessdaymonth = 14 October |accessyear = 2006|date= June 22, 2004] The complete soundtrack was re-released in 1988 by EMIon CDand cassette. [citeweb|url =http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/discography/index.jsp?aid=98351&cr=track&or=ASCENDING&sf=length&pid=684704&kw=Gonna+Fly+Now|title = Billboard.com — Rocky Soundtrack|accessdate = 14 October|accessyear = 2006] Bill Conti was also the composer for " Rocky II", "III", "V", and "Rocky Balboa". [citeweb|url = http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0006015/|title = Bill Conti @ IMDb|accessdate = 14 October|accessyear = 2006]
The version of "Gonna Fly Now" used in the film is different from the versions released on later CDs and records. The vocals and guitars are much more emphasized than the versions released. The "movie version" has yet to be released.Fact|date=August 2008
Although the Bill Conti version of "Gonna Fly Now" is the most recognizable arrangement, a cover of the song performed by legendary trumpeter
Maynard Fergusonon his "Conquistador" album prior to the release of the motion picture soundtrack actually outsold the soundtrack itself. [Liner notes of the "Conquistador" album]
U.S. Box Office
"Rocky": US$117.2 million
The original "Rocky" was the most profitable entry of the series, with a budget of US$1.2 million.
Home video release history
CED Videodiscand VHS; VHS release is rental only; 20th Century Fox Video release
*October 27, 1993 (
*April 16, 1996 (
*March 24, 1997 (
*April 24, 2001 (
DVD, also packed with the Five-Disc Boxed Set)
*December 14, 2004 (
DVD, also packed with the Rocky Anthology box set)
*February 8, 2005 (
DVD, also packed with the Rocky Anthology box set)
*December 5, 2006 (
DVDand Blu-ray Disc- 2-Disc Collector's Edition, the DVDwas the first version released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainmentand was also packed with the "Rocky" Anthology box set and the Blu-ray Discwas the first version released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
*December 4, 2007 (
DVDBox set - "Rocky" The Complete Saga. This new set contains the new "Rocky Balboa", but does not include the recent 2 disc "Rocky". There are still no special features for "Rocky II" through "Rocky V", although "Rocky Balboa"'s DVD special features are all intact.)
Sylvester Stallone was inspired to create the film by the famous fight between
Muhammad Aliand Chuck Wepner. Wepner had been TKO'd in the 15th round by Ali, but nobody ever expected him to last as long as he did. Wepner recalls in early January 2000, "Sly (Stallone) called me about two weeks after the Ali fight and told me he was gonna make the movie."
The famous scene of Rocky running up the steps of the
Philadelphia Museum of Arthas become a cultural icon. In 1982 a statue of Rocky, commissioned by Stallone for " Rocky III", was placed at the top of the Rocky Steps. City Commerce Director Dick Doranclaimed that Stallone and Rocky had done more for the city's image than "anyone since Ben Franklin."
Differing opinions of the statue and its placement led to a relocation to the sidewalk outside the
Philadelphia SpectrumArena, although the statue was temporarily returned to the top of the steps in 1990 for " Rocky V", and again in 2006 for the 30th anniversary of the original "Rocky" movie (although this time it was placed at the bottom of the steps). Later that year, it was permanently moved to a spot next to the steps.cite web|accessdaymonth = 23 September |accessyear = 2006|url = http://www.ushistory.org/oddities/rocky.htm|title = Rocky Statue]
The scene is frequently parodied in the media. In the "Simpsons" episode "
I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can", Lisa Simpsonruns up a flight of stairs wearing a tracksuit similar to the one worn by Rocky. [cite web|accessdaymonth = 25 September |accessyear 2006|url = http://www.tv.com/the-simpsons/im-spelling-as-fast-as-i-can/episode/181997/trivia.html|title = I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can @ TV.com] In the movie " You Don't Mess with the Zohan", Zohan's nemesis, Phantom, goes through a parodied training sequence finishing with him running up a desert dune and raising his hands in victory.
In 2006 E! Entertainment Television named the "Rocky Steps" scene number 13 in its "101 Most Awesome Moments in Entertainment". [cite web|accessdaymonth = 23 September |accessyear = 2006|url = http://www.eonline.com/On/101/MostAwesome/List/index5.html|title = E! Channel's 101 Most Awesome Moments in Entertainment]
1996 Summer Olympicstorch relay, Philadelphia native Dawn Staleywas chosen to run up the museum steps. In 2004, Presidential candidate John Kerryended his pre-convention campaign at the foot of the steps before going to Boston to accept his party's nomination for President. [citeweb|title= Philly.com| url=http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/9258078.htm|accessdate= 16 November|accessyear= 2006]
Other films and media
To date "Rocky" has generated five sequels. The first, "
Rocky II" (1979) sees Rocky reluctantly called back for a rematch with Apollo Creed. "Rocky II" reunited the entire cast of the original "Rocky", and was just as successful, grossing $200 million worldwide. [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079817/business Business Data for Rocky II] at the Internet Movie Database] A new character appears in 1982's " Rocky III", Clubber Lang(played by Mr. T), an outspoken young fighter insisting on a fight with Rocky. Rocky loses this bout, with Mickey suffering a fatal heart attack before the fight (he dies thinking Rocky won, Rocky doesn't have the heart to tell him otherwise.) Rocky accepts an offer from his rival-turned-friend Apollo Creed for help in regaining the title. " Rocky IV" (1985) introduces Ivan Drago( Dolph Lundgren), a strong Soviet fighter who is convinced he can defeat any American fighter. A retired Apollo takes up the challenge and is killed in the ring by Drago. After Apollo's death, Rocky decides to fight against Drago, despite his wife Adrian urging him not to, and travels to the Soviet Union to train for the fight. Rocky defeats Drago but has to give up his official heavyweight title as the boxing commission did not sanction the fight. Released in 1990, Rocky Vwas a departure from the rest of the series, as Rocky no longer fights professionally, due to brain injuries, but instead trains younger fighters, including Tommy Gunn(played by real life boxer Tommy Morrison). It becomes apparent that Gunn is merely using Rocky's fame for his own ends, and the film ends with Rocky defeating Gunn in a fight in the street. The movie also is the first to introduce Rocky's son, Robert, as a major character. The final addition to the "Rocky" series, [citeweb|title= Official Rocky Balboa Movie Blog|url= http://rockybalboablog.blogspot.com/|accessdate = 15 November|accessyear= 2006|date= November 10, 2006] "Rocky Balboa" , released in 2006, has the 60 year old Rocky fighting against a real-life boxer again, in this case former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarverplaying Mason "The Line" Dixon. Rocky Balboa was the most critically well received Rocky film of the entire series since the original, 30 years earlier.
Several video games have been made based on the film. The first "Rocky" video game was released by
Colecofor ColecoVisionin August 1983; the principal designer was Coleco staffer B. Dennis Sustare. Another was released in 1987 for the Sega Master System. More recently, a "Rocky" video game was released in 2002 for the Nintendo Gamecube, Nintendo Game Boy Advance, Sony PlayStation 2, and Microsoft Xbox, and a sequel(" Rocky Legends") was released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.In 2007 a video game called "Rocky Balboa" was released for PSP.In 1985 Dinamic Softwarereleased a boxing game for the ZX Spectrum(also advertised for and/or published on the Sega Master System, Amstrad CPC and MSX) called Rocky. Due to copyright reasons it was quickly renamed "Rocco". [WoS game|id=0004198|title=Rocky]
* [http://www.rocky.com/flash.html Official Rocky Anthology site]
* [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1017776-rocky "Rocky" @ Rotten Tomatoes]
* [http://www.sportsinmovies.com/boxing/rocky.asp "Rocky" @ at the Sports Movie Guide]
* [http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/index ESPN.com] Page2 Articles:
** [http://espn.go.com/page2/s/closer/020529.html Reel Life "Rocky"] by Jeff Merron
** [http://espn.go.com/page2/s/stallone/011207.html The Making of "Rocky"] by Sylvester Stallone
** [http://espn.go.com/page2/s/webb/011207.html A Movie of Blood, Spit and Tears] by Royce Webb
** [http://espn.go.com/page2/s/wiley/011212.html Six Little Known Truths about "Rocky"] by Ralph Wiley
** [http://proxy.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/011207 Which "Rocky" is the real champ?] by Bill Simmons
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