2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
As the film that launched Sylvester Stallone in an unsuspecting world, this has a lot to answer for! Stallone wrote and starred in this stirring and ultimately feel good film about one man's fight for redemption, dignity and self respect.
Rocky Balboa is a bum. A boxer of real talent, he has squandered it and ended up a regular loser at fights, and making a living as a heavy for a local loan shark. Out of the blue he is offered a shot, just one chance, at the world heavyweight crown and with the support of his girlfriend Adrian he sets out to prove to the world that he isn't the loser that everyone thinks.
With nice little character studies, especially from Burt Young as Adrian's brother, looking to make a few bucks from Rocky's new found fame and Burgess Meredith as Rocky's cynical trainer, this is a great film that really portrays just where one man's pride and desire to prove himself can push him. The scenes of Rocky training and eventually finding fitness are classic and stirring, as is the climactic big fight, where Rocky doesn't realise that it is a show fight where he is expected to roll over and give the champ an easy win, and he manages to make a fight of it and pushes the champ all the way. Well written, well acted and well directed, this shows just why Stallone became a star, and what a good actor he can be when he tries. A modern classic, 5 stars.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2013
Firstly I must confess that I'm a huge Rocky fan and have watched the films many many times, Rocky, along with Rocky 3 being my favourites. You must have been living in the deepest darkest sewers of Philadelphia if you haven't ever seen this movie, and there's not many people I know that don't love these movies. However, the transfer on this one is punching well below the belt, ok the movie is old and the restoration issues seem to be caused from the source material, but there's much older films with far superior transfers than this.
The colours in the movie don't pop or shine and a fine grain is present throughout the movie, presenting a grimy feel to the full film. I don't mind some picture grain as it adds to the overall 'feel' of a movie, and life itself isn't 'sanitised and sparkly', but for a film of this importance, I think it deserves a lot more effort. I appreciate that the 70's scenes in Philly are probably replicated in a true to life fashion, but still the picture quality disappoints, if your expecting to see The Italian Stallone in crystal clear glory, with fine details present, then you may be dealt a sucker punch with this one.
Likewise the audio quality is merely average, implying to me that maybe Fox Studios expected the blu ray version to sell on its name alone.
If I was judging the movie it would get a Knockout 5 stars without a doubt, but I'm rating this on the blu ray version alone.
Additionally, I'm led to believe that the remainder of the franchise improves, and the transfer quality is given more due care and attention then the first average effort, so it may be worth looking for a bargain on the boxset.
Yo Adrian! We didn't do it!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2014
Nothing needs to be said of the film, but what of the brand new transfer, and how can we compare it with the first Blu Ray release?
Simply put, it is better than the previous release, the speckles and other niggles that plagued the first release are fixed.
Colour wise, there is a teal push, very much like the Terminator and Halloween remaster, and that gives the image a cooler, accurate and more natural look. Grain is intact but less noise than before, and to my eyes it is sharper too.
Overall i am very happy with this release in terms of picture quality.
Audio quality wise i do not think it offers any improvement over previous release.
Master Audio dts 5.1
Audio Commentary by DIRECTOR 'John Avildsen, PRODUCERS Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff. ACTORS Talia Shire, Carl Weathers, Burt Young. And steadicam Inventor Garrett Brown
Audio commentary by Sylvester Stallone
Audio Commentary by Boxing Legends, trainer Lou Duva and commentator Bert Sugar.
8mm Home movies of Rocky, narrated by director John Avildsen and production manager Lloyd Kaufman
Three Rounds with legendary trainer Lou Duva
Interview with a legend - Bert Sugar:Author/Commentator and historian
In the ring: Three-part making of documentary
Steadicam: Then and Now with Garrett Brown
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 2002
This film was Sylvester Stallones breakthrough and he knew it before he'd finished writing the script. Most people know the story of Rocky so I'll not go into the details too much (except to point out the deliberate mistake in another customers review- he actually loses in the end). But the DVD has some really great extras which are worth mentioning.
Sylvester Stallone does something on this DVD which is very brave and very uncommon for a 'hollywood star', nevermind directors/ producers etc. He sets up a camera in front of himself in a quiet dull room and simply talks to it like it was someone grilling him about the film. But he doesn't just talk- he relives the processes he went through to take the film from an idea in the back of his head, right up until walking down to the lobby after the films premier. Its seldom if ever you will have such a full account of the creative processes of a film as old as this. Stallone lived and breathed this story and here, its written all over his face.
Theres also some footage they shot for the boxing in the final fight which is little more than a curiosity really, the commentary is good and the 'hidden extra' is Stallone meeting 'Rocky' after all this time for a quick stroll down memory lane ('Why'd you make me eat all those eggs?')
All round a great film and excellent DVD.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2004
You need to be absolutely heartless not to enjoy Rocky. Even the story of how the film came about is so warming, and in Rocky tradition, was a bit of a 'one in a million' shot. Now priced ridiculously cheap, any film fan out there should take the opportunity and own this feature packed DVD Special Edition.
The story revolves around Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a down-on-luck amateur boxer and part time loan shark. He stays in a run down apartment, has virtually no money and his lovelife is luckless. All this however is about to change.
When World Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) decides to up his publicity, he offers an unknown 'a shot at the title', with the assumption that America is the land of opportunity. As fate has it, he picks Rocky, a boxer who has virtually no chance of winning.
The story then focuses upon Rocky's preparations to the big fight, with confrontations with his manager Mick (a magnificent Burgess Merideth) and Paulie (Burt Young), the brother to his new girlfriend Adrian (Talia Shire).
I have encountered some finales through the years watching films, but this needs to be my favourite. Everything comes together - Bill Conti's breathtaking soundtrack, the realistic fight scene, and of coarse, above anything else, Rocky's heart to go the distance. It really has to be seen.
Whats the DVD like I hear you screaming. The picture is crisp, and doesn't even compare with the VHS release (which I felt was terrible). I adore the soundtrack in Rocky, and it has never sounded better than it does here. You'll be humming your way through the training montages!
As for the Special Features, you have an in depth interview with Stallone, which is both humourous and interesting. There's a tribute to the late Burgess Meredith, which in my opinion proves how good an actor that man was. There's trailers for all the Rocky pictures and a famous hidden easter egg worth checking out.
This is simply a DVD which goes into the 'Must Have' category. It proved at the Oscars of 1976 how good it was, coming away with The Best Picture (ahead of the likes of Taxi Driver). Although John Avilsen directed, Rocky in my opinion belongs richly to Stallone. Not many actors could portray Rocky like Stallone did and he pushed the production with his own will. Please do yourself a favour, spend some of your hard earned cash, get this DVD, and cheer on Rocky like never before.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2013
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This is arguably Sylvester Stallone's finest hour, with consummate acting and a great supporting cast. The Film was produced on a shoestring and surpassed all expectations. Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Seeing this again for the first time since it was in theaters 35 years ago, I realized this is a very odd film. A strange blend of low budget 1970s street grittiness and realism, and low-brow Hollywood fantasy and cliché.
I appreciate the bittersweet ending, much of the writing, and some of the acting (Burgess Meredith), as well as the very well done fight choreography.
But other moments come off as amateurish improvisation, over the top performances, and old-fashioned hokum (e.g. Talia Shire's absurd physical transformation from over-the-top uber-nerdette, to sexy young love interest).
Still, enjoyable and fun, if not quite the great film I remember it as.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Rocky is a film that was a shock success when released in 1976,stallone wrote the script after being inspired by a fight that he watched between muhammad ali and a club fighter,the film was shot on a shoestring with unknown actors more or less but went on to win the academy award for best picture and stallone recieved an award for best performance.
Rocky is essentially a rags to riches story and a true underdog story that carries the moral of never give up on your dreams,but there is alot more scope to the movie than that.Stallone plays rocky balboa who is a club fighter and money collector for a loan shark in philadelphia.He is considered a bum in the area but is still regarded as a likeable character,his trainer also thinks that he is a has been so life isnt perfect for rocky.
Along the way the world champion apollo creed has ran out of oppenents to fight,his fans are saying he is a fraud and his critics are having a field day against him,he needs something to bring his credibility back so he decides to fight an unknown boxer to bring the idea of an once in lifetime opportunity to one lucky boxer.
Events as a result change for rocky and along the way he finds a renewed hunger and his training is inspiring and the soundtrack rocks along and adds to the brilliance of it all,you cant help but cheer rocky balboa on as he is the underdog and we can all identify with his struggle to gain some sort of pride in himself/
The film is moving,exhilarating and the fight scenes are choreographed brilliantly and while some of the punches may seem like they could kill ,rocky just brings mans desire to become better brilliantly to the story.World class cinema that leaves you wanting more.
on 6 June 2012
This film's backstory is almost as famous, and almost as movie-worthy, as the storyline of the film itself. Sylvester Stallone, a total unknown, almost forced to sell his dog due to not being able to afford to keep him, gets offered $350,000 for the rights to a script he has written. He turns it down, saying he will only sell the story if he can play the lead role. Who of us would be brave enough to do that? A triumph of self-belief that more than matches anything in the film (especially as his character, Rocky Balboa, is utterly plagued by self-doubt), this decision was proved utterly correct. Nobody could watch this and deny that Stallone IS Rocky, and that it is doubtful anyone else could have played it better. He mumbles his way through the film, about a nothing boxer, given a random shot at the world title, when the Champ's opponent withdraws and a fight has to be arranged for the Fourth of July, a fight to encapsulate the American Dream, where anybody can be given a shot at the bigtime. The Champion hits on Rocky's nickname, the Italian Stallion, and so the film focuses on one man's fight with his own doubts, his own fears, and the chance to finally make something of himself.
He isn't even thinking in terms of the traditional underdog. He has no aspirations of winning, but of merely going the distance and not being humiliated. There's a simple realism to Rocky that is utterly lost in the sequels (there aren't many films whose inferior sequels tarnished their reputation in quite such a way as Rocky. Most people who have seen the later ones, and disliked them, would never think to pay any attention to the first, but it's an entirely different film. There's not much fighting in it, for a start. It focuses far more on the man, his situation, and especially his burgeoning relationship with his friend's sister, the strangely named Adrian (Talia Shire), an incredibly timid and shy girl who works in the local petstore. She's been verbally abused by her depressed alcoholic brother to the point of feeling utterly worthless, as hemmed in by the world as Rocky, but in different ways, and the film makes a point of showing her looking after birds locked in cages every bit as restrictive as the metaphorical one she has around her. There aren't many likeable characters in Rocky's world, and as frustrating as her shyness is, we can see why he would like her by the sheer lack of beauty or humanity that is in everyone around her: his loanshark boss who treats him like a bum, his best friend Paulie (Burt Young) who talks to him like a bum, his trainer (the wonderful Burgess Meredith) who tells him he's a bum. To her, he's not a bum. That's enough. The two need each other, and the developing of their relationship (including what may be one of the most awkward first dates ever put on film) is tender and involving.
Rocky isn't shallow - his character has depth, and Stallone (a man often derided for his acting) is convincing. He is capable of hinting at inner feelings with the smallest of looks, and has a genuine vulnerability that an established star (Redford and Burt Reynolds were two of the discussed names) would have struggled to give. He was an unknown in life, and in the film, and the public sided with him. I'd be amazed if anyone watched the film and didn't end up investing real emotion in the fight. I feel nervous in the buildup to the fight every time, and I've watched it many times. I feel defensive when I list Rocky as a fantastic film, and almost follow it with a challenge, or with a "It is!" exclamation after to ward off people's immediate mocking. But the mocking rarely comes. As opposed to it's terrible sequels, most people who know the film, love the film.
on 2 November 2007
When Stallone wrote ROCKY and released the film in 1976, he could have little idea how this character would catch on with popular imagination, and effectively launching Stallone's career as a movie star.
Why ROCKY really succeeds is it takes an Everyman, the Italian Stallion Rocky Balboa, and gives him the chance of a lifetime - to fight the current heavyweight champion of the world Apollo Creed, played by Carl Weathers.
Rocky is simply a fighting nobody, living in Philadelphia, trying to scrape his way through life. He has some low level mob involvement as an enforcer, but he's not happy with this role in life and opts for mercy when dealing with the debtors his boss sends him to collect payment. He's obviously looking to get out and fights on the side, but fighting is his real passion.
Apollo Creed is looking to promote a fight, but the angle he is pursuing is he will fight an unknown, in the spirit of America as the land of opportunity. . America was celebrating its bicentennial in 1976, and this fight would be part of those bicentennial celebrations.
Ultimately Apollo's promoters come up with Rocky Balboa, the Italian Stallion, as much for the name as anything else. We all know what happens. Rocky trains, fights Creed, and becomes successful.
If that's all there was to ROCKY, it'd be a pretty fun film, but not really Oscar worthy. Fortunately there is much more to ROCKY than just that rather cliché sports film storyline.
What sets ROCKY apart is the great writing, acting, and production. Actually, they had to go low budge with this film, and this low budget actually paid off wonderfully. Stallone manages to capture the life of Rocky so perfectly the film serves as a vital snapshot of what real life is actually like for the vast majority of lower and middle class Americans. Rocky struggles to get by, has dreams but these are frustrated by his economic situation. He's looking for the big fighting break. Unfortunately for a lot of us that big break never comes.
While the film is certainly focused on boxing, the actual fight with Apollo is only a small portion of the movie experience. We follow Rocky on the streets, we get an idea of his everyday life, his trying to romance Adrian (Talia Shire, Francis Ford Coppola's sister and Nicholas Cage's aunt), his oft trying relationship with his future brother-in-law Paulie. Of course, the movie delves into the relationship between Rocky and his personal trainer, Mickey (played by Burgess Meredith). Mickey even calls him out, saying he has the potential to be a great fighter but he's not living up to that potential. It is these subplots that really make ROCKY the rich film that is really is.
Another major proponent of ROCKY is how inextricably linked it has become to the city of Philadelphia. The entire film was shot in Philly, and there are so many different locations and areas that you can't help but smile when watching the movie if you know Philly. The art museum especially has become very famous for its association with ROCKY, as Rocky runs up and down the steps in training, and when he gets to the top he throws his hands up in the air, with that look of victory in his face. And who can forget him training in the meat lockers, punching those big hunks of meat? Unconventional training, but it works. Great stuff.
Then, of course, we have the famous ROCKY theme, that's been used in all the films and is one of the most famous fanfares in movie history. Whenever I hear that theme I always think of the art museum training sequence.
What really makes ROCKY click is you totally identify with Rocky. He has dreams and aspirations. He wants to escape his circumstances. He wants to win the girl and ride off into the sunset, victorious. Rocky is the perfect embodiment of that great myth called the American Dream. He starts out as a nobody, works hard with what he has been given, and makes a success out of himself.
And Rocky ultimately gets to live that dream. He makes his life a success, he falls in love with Adrian and eventually marry. Rocky manages to escape that fate of being "just another bum in the neighborhood", and becomes a major icon in film history. He would go on to star in five sequels to this film, each with varying degrees of success, but none of them quite matched the lightening bolt success of the original.
While ROCKY is an Oscar-winning film, Stallone would never again regain the critical acclaim he had with this movie. His career, while far from being unsuccessful, has never matched the success he had with this movie. People compared him with Marlon Brando because of this movie. While he has seen been involved in mostly dull action flicks and critically ridiculed projects, he will always have ROCKY.
And I don't care who you are. ROCKY is a tremendous legacy to leave behind.