“A small-time boxer gets a supremely rare chance to fight a heavyweight champion in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.” -IMDB
As with most of my reWind Wednesday’s, I definitely went into Rocky with a preconceived notion of what this movie was going to be. At this point, I’m used to seeing Sylvester Stallone in tired old-man action films, which have little plot and even less acting. However I am enough of a movie fan to know that a majority of classics (not all, but a majority) are classics for a reason. So I knew that Rocky would be an enjoyable watch, probably a fun, inspiring sports film, but little more than that. So I was genuinely surprised portrayed in the film, particularly by Stallone. Let me clarify…
It may also be the time in life that I watched the movie. I was approaching my 30th birthday and coming up on the one year anniversary of Covid-19 forcing us to put an indefinite halt on normalcy. So I was more sentimental than usual, reflecting on dreams of youth, reality of the present, and expectations of the future. Rocky caught me off guard with how much it mirrored this sentimentality back to me. As it follows Rocky Balboa, a small time debt collector for a local loan shark and an amateur boxer whose career seems to be on a steep decline, we see this cheery Italian-American attempt to spread his optimistic disposition to those around him, including his love interest, the owner of his boxing gym, and the local urchins in his neighborhood. However, he is often rebuffed by harsh realities, something we can all identify with in this day and age.
As Rocky becomes the unlikely competitor in a boxing match against the undefeated champion of the world, Apollo Creed, he finds people who once counted him as down and out calling on him for favors and favoritism. At times, his optimistic facade cracks and he shows how sick and tired he truly is of the constant grind of his life. The bright light in his life is his love interest turned girlfriend (yes, there is a scene that would not be deemed acceptable by today’s standards, but we have to accept that sometimes)…AAAAAAADRIAN!!!! The two make a sweet, quiet pair, and one of the most unique love stories I’ve seen that doesn’t need fireworks to be tender.
For being one of the most celebrated sports movies of all time, which I absolutely and totally understand (I mean it has one of the most epic makeover montages of all time for crying out loud), but it is also so much more than that. It tells the story of one man’s version of the American Dream and how exhausting chasing that dream can be and how, while we’re chasing that dream, we might just find the true happiness through love.
Rating: WORTH THE WATCH
If you like this movie, you should also see: Rudy, The Fighter, Mighty Ducks…you know the sports movies that make you cry.
With: Sylvester Stallon, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers
Directed By: John G. Avildsen