This is a movie that came out of nowhere and touched people like no other movie that showed around the years of its release. Its a movie about an underdog who, in his attempt to be the champ, does not win the fight but gains dignity and self respect by "going the distance."
There is a parallel between the story in the movie and the making of the movie itself. My cousin, James Crabe, was the Director of Photography. When he was working on this "low budget fight film" he told me that he thought it was an interesting little movie that would go no where. He took the job because he admired Burgess Meredith and wanted a chance to work with him (at that point Sylvester Stallone was virtually an unknown). While on the "shoot," my cousin was not impressed with what he saw. Its interesting to note that the movie he had been working on prior to Rocky was one that really excited him. It was a big budget flick titled Players, a film about professional tennis players. Well, hardly anyone ever saw Players or remembers it except for how bad it was. Of course, everyone knows Rocky. It wasnt until my cousin saw Rocky previewed that he realized that there was something special about the little low budget film.
Rocky II, Rocky III and all the others have come along but none compare to the power and depth of the original Rocky. This is a story about a man who has taken the easy road in life until one day hes given an unlikely opportunity, the chance to fight the champion himself for the World Heavyweight Belt. While most everyone sees this as a publicity stunt for the champ, Rocky Balboa takes the fight seriously, although he is outclassed and out of shape. His response and his acceptance that he is not likely to win does not stop him. Almost alone he commits himself to the one thing he believes means something to him as a boxer: Staying on his feet and lasting through all fifteen rounds.
Like most of these classics, you have probably seen this film and maybe even more than once. But watch Rocky again, especially if you are dealing with failure and disappointment. Ask yourself what do you have to do to "go the distance?"
Rated PG by the M.P.A.A.
Available from MGM/UA HOME VIDEO
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