Film, Action and adventure
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'I coulda been a contender, Charlie': Brando's classic lament in On the Waterfront finds a new and vigorous echo in this low-budget film whose huge success, against all odds, mirrors its own theme. Rocky is an old-fashioned fairytale brilliantly revamped to chime in with the depressed mood of the '70s. Although its plot - nonentity gets to fight the heavyweight champ - is basically fantasy, the film deftly manages to suspend disbelief by drawing back at its more implausible moments. Despite a few clumsy early scenes, the dialogue hits some bull's-eyes ('I'm really a ham-and-egger' mumbles Stallone in disbelief when he hears he'll get a crack at the champ), and Burgess Meredith gives his best performance in years as a slobbering, aged trainer. But without its climax, Rocky would add up to very little: the big fight is cathartic, manipulative Hollywood at its best. In a word: emotion.

By: DP

Release details

Duration: 119 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John G Avildsen
Screenwriter: Sylvester Stallone
Cast: Sylvester Stallone
Talia Shire
Burt Young
Carl Weathers
Burgess Meredith
Thayer David
Joe Spinell
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