Director: John G. Avildsen
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Carl Weathers, Burt Young, Burgess Meredith
Synopsis: Small time boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), though boxing is his passion he makes a living by being a debt collector for local gangster named Gazzo. At the gym where he trains his locker has been given away without his knowledge, angry he goes to confront the owner Mickey (Burgess Meredith) who tells him he needed it for a younger boxer who has more potential. Rocky visits the pet shop across the street daily in order to tell the girl her likes Adrian (Talia Shire), a new joke. At night he goes to the local bar and drinks with Adrian’s brother Paulie (Burt Young). There he is watching an interview with heavy-weight champion of the world Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) about his upcoming title defense in Philadelphia. Shortly after Creed learns that the fighter he was supposed to match up against has pulled out because of an injury which causes a temporary panic before Creed decides he will give an local unknown a chance at the title making for good publicity. Creed and his public relations man are searching through boxer names when Creed lands on one named the Italian Stallion, which happens to be Rocky’s nickname Creed believes this to be a perfect way to have an easy title defense and make a lot of money. When Rocky finds out that Apollo Creed’s men want to meet with him he and Mick get in a fight and Mickey tells him he could have been great but decided to be a leg breaker instead wasting his life. Rocky only believing that Creed is looking for a sparring partner is completely caught off guard when is offered a chance at the title at first he declines but is eventually talked into fighting Creed. After they make the press conference announcing the fight, Mickey visits Rocky offering to train him and help him from making the same mistakes Mickey made as a young fighter. Rocky eventually accepts Now in a relationship with Adrian and Mick by his side Rocky trains for the fight of his life. Apollo believing this is going to be a quick knockout is in for a major surprise because Rocky didn’t come to lose.
Trivia: The scene that involved Rocky and Adrian kissing in Rocky’s kitchen was originally not scripted the way it was shot. Talia Shire had contracted the flu and was worried about getting Sylvester Stallone sick, so she was very hesitant to kiss him. Her hesitation and behavior was actually such an improvement over the scripted scene that they decided to keep it. Indeed, this scene has become Stallone’s favorite scene in the entire Rocky saga, and both he and Shire see the scene as a ‘birth-scene’ for Adrian, where she is awakened to a new life.
Why I think you should see this: I love the Rocky films I have them all on Blu-Ray and regularly watch them in chronological order because I love the underdog story of Rocky Balboa. The first film is clearly the best even winning the Best Picture Oscar but it is worth watching them all. This is the film that launched Sylvester Stallone’s career making him one of the most successful and popular actors in movies over the last 35 years. Carl Weathers is great as the overly confident Apollo Creed but it is Burgess Meredith that really steals the show as Rocky’s trainer Mickey. Both Talia Shire and Burt Young a magnificent as Adrian and Paulie. This is an absolute classic so check it out sometime.