Rocky (1976) is a motion picture written by and starring Sylvester Stallone as underdog boxer Rocky Balboa. more...
It tells a rags-to-riches American Dream story about "Rocky Balboa", a slightly dull-witted but good-hearted "collection agent" for a loan shark in Philadelphia with a penchant for boxing who gets a shot at the world heavyweight title. It was written by Stallone and directed by John G. Avildsen. The movie was inspired by a real-life fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner, as well as having parallels to Ali's two fights with George Chuvalo. He is named after Rocky Marciano.
Given the inevitable comparison between the outspoken Apollo Creed and the real-life outspoken Muhammad Ali, one interesting detail is the cameo appearance of Joe Frazier, a former world heavyweight champion who fought Ali three times, as himself. Apollo accuses Frazier of "dodging him" prior to the start of the match with Rocky. In that year's Academy Awards, Ali had a little comic scene of confronting Stallone onstage which ended amiably to make it clear that he was not offended by the film.
Other characters included Burt Young as Rocky's best friend Paulie and Thayer David as the fight's promoter and ringside announcer. Los Angeles television sportscaster Stu Nahan played himself.
Rocky won the 1976 Academy Award for Best Picture and earned Stallone a nomination for "Best Actor." John G. Avildsen also won the award for Best Director, and Richard Halsey and Scott Conrad won the Academy Award for Film Editing.
The success of Rocky spawned four sequels, though none was as critically successful as the original. Production of a sixth sequel, to be titled Rocky Balboa, and again starring and directed by Stallone, was announced by MGM/Sony in October 2005.
The film was made on an extremely low budget of $1.1 million, and was shot in only 28 days. The American Film Institute placed Rocky at number 78 of its "100 Greatest Movies of All Time" list.
One legacy of the original movie is the theme music that was composed by Bill Conti and is often played at sporting events. Canadian jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson put "Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky)" on the pop charts with an instrumental disco rendition from his 1977 album, Conquistador.
Another legacy of the Rocky movies is a statue of Stallone as Rocky Balboa that stands in front of Wachovia Spectrum (formerly known as the Philadelphia Spectrum), the arena where the first Balboa-Creed fight took place in the original movie. This statue was briefly moved to the top of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the 1990s before being moved back to the Spectrum.
Garrett Brown's Steadicam, a camera attached to a weighted system of pulleys so that it would not shake while its operator ran, was used for the first time in this movie, during Rocky's training run up the flights of stairs.
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