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“I was nobody. But that don’t matter either, you know? ‘Cause I was thinkin’, it really don’t matter if I lose this fight. It really don’’t matter if this guy opens my head, either. ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.”
That was Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, and these heart-felt lines pretty much sum up the essence of the entire Rocky series.
It has been over three decades since the clang of that first bell, but the torch of faith, dedication, and success that Rocky lit, has continued all along. The movie led the way for five sequels and has inspired generations to be like the lead character.
It is the story of defeating your inner demons, and conquering the world—both mental and physical—at all odds; it is about going the distance, and giving in every last bit of your stamina, somewhat like the real-life (Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier) ‘Thrilla in Manila’ story.
Rocky, a club fighter, down on his luck, like a phoenix rises from the ashes of this adversity into a greatness which only few men can achieve.
Think Rocky, think fight, punch, jab, upper cut, lower hook, south paw, and most importantly, winning. It is however, much more than that. It is a tale of love.
And Rocky, behind all the boxing centric script, is essentially a love story, that deals with two different kinds of love.
First, a man’s desire to regain respect for himself in his own eyes, by excelling at what he loves to do; and second, the love for the woman in his life, the woman who eventually gives him the psychological support to compete for the boxing title. The statement, behind every successful man is a woman, has never been truer!
The story is simple: Rocky, a local, bum-like Philadelphia boxer gets a once-in-a-lifetime, million-to-one shot at the heavy-weight title, when eccentric reigning champion organizes an exhibition fight to prove to the country that America is still the land of the opportunity. The reigning champion wants to randomly give the chance to a descendent of an Italian in America, to match fists with him, and Rocky with the name ‘Italian Stallion’ seems to fit the bill.
Rocky Balboa, with the emotional help form his girlfriend Adrian (Talia Shire), minor support and much nagging from his friend and Adrian’s brother Paulie (Burt Young), and dedicated, pure-hearted support from his manager Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith), manages to stand tall and compete with the reigning heavy-weight champion of the world, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers).
What follows is an inspiring tale of Rocky’s struggle.
Rocky is directed by John G. Avildsen, written by Sylvester Stallone, and has the music scored by Bill Conti.
The movie’s soundtrack has also been extremely popular and highly inspirational, especially the ‘Training Montage’, with Rocky climbing the steps of the Museum turning into an iconic symbol.
One of the most inspirational movies of all times, Rocky was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, and won three, for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Film Editing.
Everyone somewhat lives in a mental, emotional, and psychological cage; Rocky as a character shows its audiences how to find the key to open the gates to break free.