Film Review: Rocky – 10/10

‘All I wanna do is go the distance…’

I’ve kinda covered the Rocky movies before in this article in which I wrote about the experience of watching the first four films back to back. Well, as I now find myself returning to all the films in the franchise yet again to prepare for finally getting around to watching Creed III, I felt that this entry deserved its own review. Maybe I’ll do the others too. Let’s see aye…

Imagine insulting you, dear reader, by describing the plot of Rocky. If you don’t know the plot of Rocky you’re not welcome here. It’s the classic underdog story. What struck me about revisiting Rocky on this occasion, however, is that more than that, this is also one of the most romantic stories ever made. The relationship between Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) and Adrian (Talia Shire) is one of the most enduring and beautiful relationships ever committed to film. A word too for the recently departed Carl Weathers. Apollo Creed is just as vital to this movie and to the franchise generally as Rocky himself. He’s the antithesis of the Italian Stallion. Confident, successful and sure of his place in the world. It is a testament to Weathers and his talent that it’s impossible to imagine anyone else in this role and it is striking that the first two films with Creed as the antagonist are also the best.

Something else that shocked me is how little you get of Mickey in this film. And how much Paulie features. Both characters are little more than sketches here, but Burgess Meredith and Burt Young’s performances are so good that it barely matters. Stallone’s dialogue is genuinely excellent throughout, John G. Avilsden adds some ’70s grit from the director’s chair and this is all rounded off with Bill Conti’s iconic score. Majestic.

Rocky is a timeless classic. As an introduction to my favourite franchise, it’s flawless. It made Stallone a star. Not only one of the finest sports movies ever made but one of the finest films of any genre. The perfect movie.