Rocky (1976)

rocky poster 1976 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

The underdog gets his day

Slew of sequels might sour people to the original

Movie Info

Movie Name: Rocky

Studio: United Artists

Genre(s): Drama/Romance/Sports

Release Date(s): November 21, 1976

MPAA Rating: PG


Yes! First in line!

Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) realizes his life and career haven’t gone the way he hoped.  He’s still young, but his plans of being a major boxer are becoming less and less likely with each club fight he enters.  He works as a leg-breaker, lives alone with his turtles, and can’t seem to get his friend’s sister Adrian (Talia Shire) to even acknowledge him.  It is all about to come together for Rocky.  When the World Heavyweight Championship champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) has his opponent quit their scheduled Bicentennial match, he’s got to find another boxer quickly and Apollo realizes the Italian Stallion might be just what he needs.  As Rocky begins his romance with Adriane, he’s going to get the opportunity of a lifetime.


Apollo…Things are about to get Rocky

Directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Sylvester Stallone, Rocky became a surprise hit.  It won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Editing with nominations for Best Actor (Stallone), Best Actress (Shire), Best Supporting Actor (Young and Meredith), Best Original Screenplay, Best Sound, and Best Song (“Gonna Fly Now”).  The movie made a huge profit and is still considered one of the biggest returns for its low budget.

Rocky works because of its simplicity.  It is a basic story but it has wide appeal.  It is a romance and an action-sports movie, but it is also about the underdog succeeding.  It isn’t 100% rosy either since Rocky doesn’t actually win…he just goes the distance (he’ll have to wait for a win to actually happen).  It would have been a bit too much if this guy actually knocked out Apollo in the first round.  This is a big change from the original script which had Rocky throwing the fight because he decided not to be involved in professional boxing.


Yo, Adrian…want to come back for a bunch of sequels?

Rocky also looks great.  It is gritty and has a lot of modern editing and shots.  It was one of the early uses of the Steadicam, and Rocky utilized it well in the nice long smooth shots of his training and other moments in the movie.  Like the story it is simple, but it has charm in its simplicity.

Rocky started a series which still continues to spit out sequels.  They don’t have the fun of the first movie and it is easy to forget how good Rocky was.  Should Rocky have beaten Network or Taxi Driver?  No, but Rocky’s always been an underdog.  Rocky started a franchise and was followed by Rocky II in 1979.

Related Links:

Rocky II (1979)

Creed (2016)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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