The 1001 Movies Podcast

From Garrett Chaffin-Quiray in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die:

"Short on brains, long on brawn - and heart, John G. Avildsen's Rocky catapulted the floundering career of Sylvester Stallone into the stratosphere.  At the same time, it reaped unprecedented box-office sales, established a movie franchise, and landed a one-two punch of jock stereotypes as rich with caricature [sic] today as they were riveting performances in 1976.

"The story centers on Rocky Balboa (Stallone), a boxer beyond his prime.  He falls in love with Adrian (Talia Shire), the sister of his friend Paulie (Burt Young), and then works to earn the respect of his trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith).  On the receiving end of a publicity stunt, he eventually gets a chance to unset Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), the heavyweight boxing champion of the world.

"Scored with Bill Conti's pulsing trumpet blasts and percussive rumble, Rocky is an immensely entertaining drama about struggling for satisfaction in an indifferent world.  As the combined story work of former Muhammad Ali opponent Chuck Wepner and 'Italian Stallion' Sylvester Stallone, the now famous actor-writer proved versatile and tenacious.  Writing the script, he connected its sale to his participation in the lead role, despite being virtually unknown at the time.  Desperate or inspired bid, he hit a grand slam and become one of Hollywood's biggest superstars.

"The film is often overlooked as schmaltz, especially considering Stallone's subsequent career, yet Rocky lovingly details the white working class.  Rocky, Paulie, Adrian, and Mickey respectively work as a debt collector, meat packer, pet store clerk, and gym proprietor; the only upward mobility each has are wishes and dreams.  This 'biopic' returns to a world of folklore where underdogs get their well-deserved chance after working hard.

"Important in Rocky are the values of honor and courage, so often questioned in movies throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Such reassurance was well received, if gross receipts are any indication, and Avildsen's film walked off with Best Picture honors at the Academy Awards to make it one for the record books."

Have a comment or question for the host?  Email Sean at or follow him on Twitter at @1001MoviesPC.



Direct download: Episode_80_Rocky_1976.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:21pm CST