Movie a Day #350: Rocky

Bada0Bing

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For my first movie-of-the-day I have to choose my favorite movie of all time. The first Rocky that I got to see was Rocky III. I was so jacked up that I built an obstacle course at my grandma’s house in the woods and started my training (I was about 10). As I got a little older I started to get an appreciation for how awesome the first two Rocky’s were. I really hope that the new Rocky Bolboa film makes up for the disappointment of number 5. I will likely be the first one in line when it comes out in December.





Editorial Reviews

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The only remaining evidence that Sylvester Stallone might have had a respectable career, this 1976 Oscar winner (for Best Picture, Director, and Editing) is still the quintessential ode to an underdog and one of the best boxing movies ever made. After writing the script about a two-bit boxer who gets a "million-to-one shot" against the world heavyweight champion, Stallone insisted that he star in the title role, and his equally unknown status helped to catapult him (and this rousing film) to overnight success. The story is familiar, but it has been handled with such vitality and emotional honesty that you can't help but leap and cheer for Rocky Balboa, the chump turned champ (despite his valiant defeat in the ring) who stuns the boxing world with the support of his timid girlfriend, Adrian (Talia Shire), and grizzled trainer, Gus (Burgess Meredith). Oscar nominations went to all the lead actors (including Burt Young as Adrian's hot-tempered brother), but four sequels could never top the universal appeal of this low-budget crowd pleaser. --Jeff Shannon



Some cool trivia from IMDB:

Sylvester Stallone sold the rights to make this film with the condition that he be cast in the title role. Producers offered him $150,000 to let Ryan O'Neal play the part.


Sylvester Stallone wrote the script in three days after he saw a boxing match between the unknown Chuck Wepner and Muhammad Ali. Unlike Rocky, Wepner was unable to last the distance and was TKO'd in the fifteenth round.


The film was shot in 28 days.


Sylvester Stallone insisted that the scene where he admits his fears and doubts to Adrian the night before the fight be filmed, even though production was running far behind and producers wanted to skip it. He had one take for that scene, and was so nervous about screwing up the only scene he thought was important that he got himself drunk to do it.


The fight scene was filmed in reverse order starting with the fifteenth round, with Stallone and Carl Weathers in heavy make-up. As filming continued, the make-up was slowly removed until they were at round one. Because of this technique, the movie won an Oscar for Best Film Editing.


The studio agreed to cast Stallone as Rocky as long as the cost of the picture remained under one million dollars. The producers even mortgaged their homes. The overall production cost was 1.1 million dollars.


Another ending for the film was for Creed's fans to carry him out of the ring and then Rocky's fans do the same. However, since there were too few extras, plus some of them began to punch Stallone and Weathers, the scene was scrapped.


Originally the filmmakers wanted all of the real former heavyweight champions to appear at the beginning of the fight between Rocky and Apollo. They put out a call for all of the former champions to show, but on the day of the shoot only Joe Frazier showed. The filmmakers thought it worked well however, because Frasier is a resident of Philadelphia, which was where the movie was shot and took place.


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 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.


Stallone based his Rocky character on a little-known New Jersey club boxer named Chuck Wepner. In March 1975, Wepner challenged the then-heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali to a title fight in Cleveland, Ohio. He lasted almost the entire fifteen rounds and became one of the few challengers to Ali to knock him to the ground.


Rocky has a goldfish named Moby Dick.


Rocky has a turtles named Cuff & Link.


Bette Midler turned down an offer for the role of Adrian.


Was the first major motion picture to employ the use of the Steadicam, having been invented by Garrett Brown.


Parts of the scene where Rocky runs up the stairs in training are played backwards. Originally the shot zooms out but was reversed to zooming in in order to better match the musical score and for dramatic effect. This has been confirmed in interviews with by Bill Conti, who wrote the score.


The photos on Rocky's mirror are actual photos of Sylvester Stallone as a young boy.


Two scenes were written that do not appear in the final cut of the film: a scene where Rocky visits his gym with Apollo Creed as a photo op and Rocky beats up Dipper, the fighter who took his locker earlier in the story and a scene the night of the big fight in the locker room between Rocky and Adrian. The locker room scene was at least filmed because production stills from it exist.


The two scenes where Rocky runs up the museum stairs (the first where he can't do it and the second during the "Gonna Fly Now" training sequence where he runs up them triumphantly) were filmed two hours apart. The first before the sun rose, the second afterwards.


The producers didn't know who Sylvester Stallone was when the script came to them. Someone showed them a group photo from The Lord's of Flatbush (1974) and they became enthused about making the movie, but wondered why someone named "Stallone" had such blond hair and blue eyes. It turns out that the producers mistook Stallone's co-star Perry King for him. When they saw who Stallone really was, they almost passed on the movie.


Sylvester Stallone really did punch the frozen meat in the training scene in the movie. In fact he did it so many times in many different takes that after filming was finished, he noticed the shape of his hands was different. His knuckles were left completely flattened and they remain that way to this day.


According to Sylvester Stallone, the producers also wanted Stallone let James Caan play Rocky. Caan and Stallone eventually became friends. Caan guest appeared on Stallone's series "The Contender" (2005).


Frank Stallone, Sylvester Stallone's father, rang the opening bell of the Creed vs Balboa fight. Sylvester's younger brother, Frank, played the lead singer of a band and told Rocky to "Get a job, you bum!"


When Bill Conti originally played "Gonna Fly Now" for John G. Avildsen, he didn't have title for it until Avildsen said, "It should be almost like Rocky is flying now."


Director's and Cinematographer's Cameos John Avildsen plays the cameraman and James Crabe the lighting man for Rocky's TV interview in the meat-house.


The scene when Gazzo uses his asthma inhaler while talking to Rocky was not planned. The actor had a real asthma attack during the filming of the scene and since it looked so natural they left it in.


After seeing the fight between Chuck Wepner and Muhammad Ali, Stallone thought about the story for about a month before he sat down and wrote a first draft in three days. After getting some notes from the producers, Stallone and his wife put together a new draft in 86 hours. Stallone and the producers then worked on a third draft through the summer of 1975.


Susan Sarandon tested for the role of Adrian.
 

NEZCardsfan

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Rocky is radical!!

This is one of those movies I could watch 5-6 times a year.
 

Shane

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Rocky 3 is better!

I Heart Clubber Lang! :D
 

Mulli

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Bump. Carl Weathers interviewed on the Bill Simmons podcast. I heart Carl Weathers!

When he says the word "Rocky" he sounds like Rocky is a family member. I realized that I think I refer to Rocky the same way. He also pointed out that when Rocky One came out, the only real name guy in it was Burgess Meredith (he said you couldn't really market Talia Shire).

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Cheesebeef

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I WAS Rocky from ages 5-8. That's how I would sign my name on everything. tests, letters, you name it.

Love Rocky 1 and 2 and have grown to appreciate just how entertaining 3 and even 4 are. 5 is horrendous (but I'll still watch it). Save the one scene where Duke gives his ridiculous speech right before the Gonna Fly Now montage, 6 is horrendous.

Who am I kidding, I'm still kind of Rocky. Everyday before I begin doing my back rehab exercises I throw on my itunes mix, which starts with Gonna Fly Now and includes a lot of the fight scene music. It's probably my favorite score of all time.
 

Mulli

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I liked #6. Was in the right mood for it. Since you bothered to watch #5, it is well within your rights, and completely understood, to hate #6.
 

Cheesebeef

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I liked #6. Was in the right mood for it. Since you bothered to watch #5, it is well within your rights, and completely understood, to hate #6.

and I always have a strong dislike for 4 because it just doesn't feel like Rocky. I mean, the movie not only doesn't start out with the ROCKY scrawl with Conti's Rocky's Fanfare score, but the stupid ass US/USSR gloves look like something out of Hardware Wars when they explode with parts of them hanging off the rope... and they freaking kill Apollo. Although, that movie does have James Brown's "Living In America" and probably the most ridiculous speech of all time where Rocky singlehandedly ends the Cold War with "If yous can change.... and I's can change... EVERYBODY CAN CHANGE!!!!!!!!"

I mean come on - there's no Gonna Fly Now in the training montage and that movie ends with that horrific "Hearts On Fire" song instead of the classic scores. That movie barely even counts as a Rocky movie.
 

Mulli

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and I always have a strong dislike for 4 because it just doesn't feel like Rocky. I mean, the movie not only doesn't start out with the ROCKY scrawl with Conti's Rocky's Fanfare score, but the stupid ass US/USSR gloves look like something out of Hardware Wars when they explode with parts of them hanging off the rope... and they freaking kill Apollo. Although, that movie does have James Brown's "Living In America" and probably the most ridiculous speech of all time where Rocky singlehandedly ends the Cold War with "If yous can change.... and I's can change... EVERYBODY CAN CHANGE!!!!!!!!"

I mean come on - there's no Gonna Fly Now in the training montage and that movie ends with that horrific "Hearts On Fire" song instead of the classic scores. That movie barely even counts as a Rocky movie.
#4 is so bad it is good. To me anyways. How can you not like James Brown?

You need to hear Bill Simmons on Rocky #4. It is pretty funny.
 

Cheesebeef

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#4 is so bad it is good. To me anyways. How can you not like James Brown?

note above that I did single out James Brown as one of the only good things. Rocky with a beard training to Hearts On Fire... that's just blasphemy to this Rocky purist!
 

Mulli

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note above that I did single out James Brown as one of the only good things. Rocky with a beard training to Hearts On Fire... that's just blasphemy to this Rocky purist!
Yup, running 40 miles up hill in leather boots. Pffft.

Hearts on Fire?

:bang:

Sorry I missed living in America. Carl Weathers singled out being on stage with James Brown as a favorite life moment.
 
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Bada0Bing

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and I always have a strong dislike for 4 because it just doesn't feel like Rocky. I mean, the movie not only doesn't start out with the ROCKY scrawl with Conti's Rocky's Fanfare score, but the stupid ass US/USSR gloves look like something out of Hardware Wars when they explode with parts of them hanging off the rope... and they freaking kill Apollo. Although, that movie does have James Brown's "Living In America" and probably the most ridiculous speech of all time where Rocky singlehandedly ends the Cold War with "If yous can change.... and I's can change... EVERYBODY CAN CHANGE!!!!!!!!"

I mean come on - there's no Gonna Fly Now in the training montage and that movie ends with that horrific "Hearts On Fire" song instead of the classic scores. That movie barely even counts as a Rocky movie.

That speech still brings a tear to my eye....;)

I'll be breaking out my Rocky VHS set here in the near future, before I run my marathon next month. Gotta make sure I've got that eye of the tiger.
 

Jersey Girl

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That speech still brings a tear to my eye....;)

I'll be breaking out my Rocky VHS set here in the near future, before I run my marathon next month. Gotta make sure I've got that eye of the tiger.

I LOVE the Rocky marathon! And I absolutely loved the latest Rocky.

Always makes me laugh when teams outside of Philly play the Rocky theme song, especially when they are playing a Philly team. :)
 

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So I watched Rocky II and Rocky III back to back today. Pure enjoyment.

Although I knew all the plot points of RIII, I dont think I had ever seen it.
 

UncleChris

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Rocky is one of the best emotional movies of all time. WOW! 5 out of 5 stars :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
 

Ryanwb

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The Rocky/Apollo beach scene was the first true bro-mance in American cinema

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