Top 20 Movie Rocky (1976) ranks 13th in Matt Lynn Digital’s Top 20 Movies in ranked order listing. As Rotten Tomatoes tells us, Rocky is the story of a “slightly dimwitted amateur boxer from Philadelphia’s tough neighborhood [who] gets a surprise shot at fighting for the heavyweight championship…[A]t the same time he finds love in the arms of a shy, reclusive girl who works in the local pet store.”
The raw, gritty feel of this straight from the 1970’s lower middle class struggle of a man (Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa) that is given the lottery ticket of a lifetime in getting to box the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Apollo Creed as played by Carl Weathers in Balboa’s hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The context for Balboa stepping in was that Creed needed to book an opponent in Philadelphia for a bicentennial fight on short notice, so picking the little-known and only moderately successful Balboa from the Philadelphia boxing scene made some sense. Creed would train with insufficient seriousness while Balboa would work his famous gritty training regimen with trainer Mickey Goldmill, as portrayed by Burgess Meredith.
In many ways, this movie is heavily cliched and rumored to have been based on the March 24th, 1975 fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner, wherein Ali had just defeated George Foreman in Zaire. Despite this question of having ripped off a central story for the movie while also being charged by critics with being a touch predictable, Rotten Tomatoes informed us that:
Sylvester Stallone’s script and stunning performance in the title role brush aside [those] complaints.
Despite the fact that Apollo Creed would take victory over Rocky Balboa by split decision in the movie’s main fight, you come to see that Rocky Balboa the character wins by setting his course in the boxing world while winning his love interest Adrian Pennino, as played by Talia Shire. The movie Rocky clearly won in the box office, with six sequels, and for the 1976 movie, three Oscar wins. Those wins were for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Film Editing.
Rocky was a continuous favorite of my household growing up. The movie stood up for being entertaining, enjoyed through multiple viewings, and told with an American ethic of redemption that told of a rising underdog who works hard in pushing his competition and overconfident rival to the limit.
In the mid-1970’s when Rocky was released, the tale was a feel good movie that showed toughness and some sense of realism. This realism and escapism is part of what makes Rocky the 13th ranked movie in Matt Lynn Digital’s Top 20 Movies in ranked order listing.
Matt – Tuesday, March 7, 2017