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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Rocky (1976)



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It's not often that a film that wins the Best Picture Academy Award goes on to spawn a commercially popular franchise. Yet that's precisely what happened with 1976's Rocky, which launched Sylvester Stallone's career both as an actor and a writer.

Although the first couple sequels were good, the original film is still the best by far. It's a fresh, enticing drama about original characters and the passions of the heart. Rocky's a boxer, as most already know, and he's given a chance to hit it (no pun intended) big, in a match against the reigning champion, Apollo Creed, set up as a publicity stunt. It sounds formula, but Stallone's script focuses on the characters rather than plot. There's more to the movie than that, and more to the characters. Rocky isn't a unidimensional boxer, he's a real person. Time is taken to flesh him out, to put him in situations where his unique means of expressing himself is used to realize the character. Because of this, the story becomes of genuine interest and concern, and the film intriguing. Although it's questionable that its Best Picture win over the great black comedy Network was justified, it certainly deserved the nomination.

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