#217: Rocky (1976)

When and how did I watch this?

October 1st, 2015, on Netflix. We skipped an entry due to length — #218 was too long to begin this evening, and I could only get it for a 24 hour rental on Amazon.

Had I seen this film already?

I know I’ve seen every other sequel, but I discovered I’d never seen the original in its entirety.

What did I know about the movie before watching it?

It’s the ultimate story of the American Dream personified through a hack of a boxer.  Watching the character’s development through the subsequent films gave me a good idea of what kind of guy Rocky was in the original installment.  I was already familiar with many of the now-cliche scenes and lines in the film (“Cut me, Mick,” “You’ll eat lightning and crap thunder,” “Adriaaan!” and so on), and I was curious to see them in action.

What do I know about it now?

They really did well to set the film in the decrepit part of Philadelphia.  I was quickly empathetic to Rocky, in his desperate money-making ways and his dumb-as-nails intellect, and fell in love with his huge heart and devotion to both Adrian and the city he represented.  I felt for him in every way; he truly embodied the everyman persona.

What are some themes in the film?

American dream, futility, courage, hard work/upward mobility, media

Did this affect me personally?

When Mickey yells at Rocky in the gym: “It’s a living, Mick.” “IT’S A WASTE OF LIFE!” Oh, the feels.  That was just one of about ten scenes that had a similar effect on me.

Why is this ranked #217?

It’s a feel-good story that everyone can relate to. Sylvester Stallone is sort of mocked for this role, probably because he pigeon-holed himself into an action hero role hereafter, but people have paid their respects for this movie and ranked it high enough to get on this list. Stallone wrote it himself and did all the boxing choreography, and the sucker won Best Picture, among other Oscars.  There’s no reason it shouldn’t be ranked here.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She loved it, more than she’d thought she would.

Would I watch it again?

Yes.  It’s hard to hear through Stallone’s mumbling in the film occasionally.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

This is one of those movies every American should see.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Several films have won Oscars for Best Picture now, but not all of them are on this list.  This one belongs, however, simply for how well it relates to the human struggle and its ability to inspire us in a brief couple of hours.

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