Sylvester Stallone was a struggling actor living in a slum in New York; he’d done very little acting and was financially crippled. Inspired by a Mohammed Ali fight, he wrote the script for Rocky, however when he presented it to Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler they initially didn’t want Stallone to star in the film, so they tried to buy the rights. Sylvester Stallone was insistent upon playing the role of Rocky Balboa and in doing so was nominated for an Oscar at the 49th ceremony and the film won the best film award. Sylvester Stallone became the third person to ever be nominated for both acting and writing in the same year, the first person being Charlie Chaplin for The Great Dictator (1940) and the second being Orson Welles for Citizen Kane (1941).
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is a small time boxer, fighting worthless opponents for small money, and doing “collections” for the local loan-shark when he’s not in the ring. Rocky regularly pops into the pet shop to talk to Adrian (Talia Shire), a very shy young woman who he’s very attracted to. Adrian has a brother called Paulie (Burt Young) who is good friends with Rocky and we also see Mickey (Burgess Meredith), an old man who runs the local gym and has a love/hate relationship with Rocky. One day Rocky is offered the chance of a lifetime, a shot at the title against the heavyweight champion of the world Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). Then with his loving girlfriend by his side, Mickey who decided to manage him and the support of Philadelphia he prepares for the hardest battle of his life.
The original and best of the Rocky franchise, this film is quite frankly brilliant, and is definitely deserving of the Oscar it won. Stallone fit the role of Rocky like a glove and is supported by some very talented people. This has to be one of my favourite films and I just adore this whole series, the film is so brilliantly written that Stallone doesn’t get enough credit for his intelligence; this screenplay is a work of art.
Be sure to check out my other Rocky movie reviews this week, for this is Rocky Week and I will be featuring all six movies in chronological order for your reading pleasure.