Rocky

Rocky

[rok-ee]
Marciano, Rocky, 1924-69, American boxer, b. Brockton, Mass. His real name was Rocco Francis Marchegiano. Failing to become a professional baseball player, Marciano turned to boxing and won 27 of 30 amateur bouts before he turned professional in 1947. On his climb to the heavyweight title, Marciano became the second boxer ever to knock out (1951) Joe Louis. On Sept. 23, 1952, Marciano won the title by knocking out Jersey Joe Walcott in 13 rounds at Philadelphia. The only heavyweight champion with a perfect professional record, Marciano was undefeated in 49 fights and successfully defended his title six times before retiring in Apr., 1956. Noted for his powerful punching ability, he won 43 of his pro bouts by knockouts. He died in a plane crash.

See biography by R. Sullivan (2002).

or Rockies

Mountain system, western North America. It extends some 3,000 mi (4,800 km) from the Mexican frontier to the Arctic Ocean, through the western U.S. and Canada. The highest peak in the U.S. Rockies is Mount Elbert in Colorado, at 14,433 ft (4,399 m); in the Canadian Rockies it is Mount Robson in British Columbia, at 12,972 ft (3,954 m). The Continental Divide, located in the mountains, separates rivers flowing to the east and to the west. Wildlife includes grizzly bear, brown bear, elk, bighorn sheep, and cougar. The area is rich in deposits of copper, iron ore, silver, gold, lead, zinc, phosphate, potash, and gypsum. Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton national parks in the U.S. are major recreational facilities.

Learn more about Rocky Mountains with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Typhus-like disease first seen in the Rocky Mountain region, caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii (see rickettsia) and transmitted by various ticks. In severe cases the rash bleeds more and is especially prominent on the wrists and ankles. Central nervous system involvement causes restlessness, insomnia, and delirium. Prostration may progress to coma, with death possible in a week or more. Mortality increases with age. Recovery is slow but usually complete as visual disturbances, deafness, and mental confusion pass. Prompt antibiotic treatment hastens it and reduces mortality. Prevention depends on avoiding tick bites, by wearing long, light-coloured clothing and insect repellent and inspecting for ticks. A vaccine reduces the risk of infection somewhat and of death greatly.

Learn more about Rocky Mountain spotted fever with a free trial on Britannica.com.

or Rocky Mountain goat

Mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus)

Ruminant (bovid species Oreamnos americanus) of the Yukon to the northern Rockies that is more closely related to antelopes than to goats. Stocky, with a hump at the withers, mountain goats stand about 40 in. (1 m) at the shoulder. Both sexes bear short, hollow, slightly backward-curving, black horns. The shaggy, coarse white hair covers a thick, woolly underfur, and a beard frames the slender muzzle. The hooves are black. Mountain goats are agile climbers and can leap more than 12 ft (3.5 m). They live in small bands above the timberline, eating moss, lichen, and scrub foliage.

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orig. Rocco Francis Marchegiano

(born Sept. 1, 1923, Brockton, Mass., U.S.—died Aug. 31, 1969, near Newton, Ia.) U.S. boxer and world heavyweight champion. Marciano began boxing in the army in World War II. An unscientific but hard-punching and exceptionally durable fighter, he won the championship h1 in 1952 by defeating Jersey Joe Walcott and relinquished it upon retiring in 1956. He was undefeated in 49 professional fights, scoring 43 knockouts.

Learn more about Marciano, Rocky with a free trial on Britannica.com.

orig. Rocco Francis Marchegiano

(born Sept. 1, 1923, Brockton, Mass., U.S.—died Aug. 31, 1969, near Newton, Ia.) U.S. boxer and world heavyweight champion. Marciano began boxing in the army in World War II. An unscientific but hard-punching and exceptionally durable fighter, he won the championship h1 in 1952 by defeating Jersey Joe Walcott and relinquished it upon retiring in 1956. He was undefeated in 49 professional fights, scoring 43 knockouts.

Learn more about Marciano, Rocky with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Rocky is a 1976 film written by and starring Sylvester Stallone and directed by John G. Avildsen. It tells the rags-to-riches American Dream story of Rocky Balboa, an uneducated but good-hearted debt collector for a loan shark in Philadelphia. Balboa is also a club fighter who gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship when the scheduled contender breaks his hand. Also starring in Rocky are Talia Shire as Adrian, Burt Young as Adrian's brother Paulie, Burgess Meredith as Rocky's trainer Mickey Goldmill, and Carl Weathers as the champion, Apollo Creed.

The film, made for only US$1.1 million, and shot relatively fast in 28 days, was a sleeper hit; it made over US$117.2 million, and won three Oscars, including Best Picture. The film was reviewed very well and launched Stallone's career into the stratosphere. It spawned five sequels: Rocky II, III, IV, V, and Rocky Balboa.

Production

The studio liked the script, and viewed it as a possible vehicle for a well-established star such as Robert Redford, Ryan O'Neal, Burt Reynolds or James Caan. Stallone held out, demanding he be given a chance to star in the film. He later said that he would never have forgiven himself if the film became a success with someone else in the lead. He also knew that producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff's contract with the studio enabled them to "greenlight" a project if the budget was kept low enough.

Certain elements of the story were altered during filming. The original script had a darker tone: Mickey was portrayed as racist and the script ended with Rocky throwing the fight after realizing he did not want to be part of the professional boxing world after all.

Although Winkler and Chartoff were enthusiastic about the script, they were at first somewhat hesitant to allow Stallone to play the main character. The producers also had trouble casting other major characters in the story, with Adrian and Apollo Creed cast unusually late by production standards (both were ultimately cast on the same day). Real-life boxer Ken Norton was initially sought for the role of Apollo Creed, but he pulled out and the role was ultimately given to Carl Weathers. Interestingly, Norton had had three fights with Muhammad Ali, upon whom Creed was loosely based. According to The Rocky Scrapbook, Carrie Snodgress was originally chosen to play Adrian, but a money dispute forced the producers to look elsewhere. Susan Sarandon auditioned for the role but was deemed too pretty for the character. After Talia Shire's ensuing audition, Chartoff and Winkler, along with Avildsen, insisted that she play the part.

Garrett Brown's Steadicam was used to accomplish a smooth shot running alongside Rocky during his training run up the flight of stairs. It was also used for some of the shots in the fight scenes and can be openly seen at the ringside during some wide shots of the final fight. (Rocky is often erroneously cited as the first film to use the Steadicam, although the distinction actually goes to Bound for Glory as the first production to use it. Marathon Man also has a claim, as it premiered prior to either film.)

While filming Rocky, both Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers suffered injuries during the shooting of the final fight; Stallone suffered bruised ribs and Weathers suffered a damaged nose.

The poster seen above the ring before Rocky fights Apollo Creed shows Rocky wearing red shorts with a white stripe when he actually wears white shorts with a red stripe. When Rocky points this out he is told that "it doesn't really matter does it?". This was an actual mistake made by the props department that they could not afford to rectify, so Stallone wrote the brief scene to ensure the audience didn't see it as a goof. The same situation arose with Rocky's robe. When it came back from the costume department, it was far too baggy for Stallone, so rather than ignore this and risk the audience laughing at it, Stallone wrote the dialogue where Rocky himself points out the robe is too big.

Plot

Rocky Balboa is introduced as a small-time boxer and collector for a loan shark. The World Heavyweight Championship bout is scheduled for New Year's Day, 1976, the year of the United States Bicentennial. When the opponent of undefeated heavyweight champion Apollo Creed is injured, Creed comes up with the idea of fighting a local Philadelphia underdog and, because he likes Rocky's nickname, "The Italian Stallion," he selects the unknown fighter. He says "Apollo Creed versus 'The Italian Stallion.' Sounds like a damn monster movie."

To prepare for the fight, Rocky trains with 1920s-era ex-bantamweight fighter Mickey Goldmill, while Rocky's best friend, Paulie, a meat-packing plant worker, lets him practice his punches on the carcasses hanging in the freezers. During training, Rocky dates Paulie's quiet sister, Adrian. The night before the fight, Rocky confides in Adrian that he does not expect to beat Creed, and that all he wants is to go the distance with Creed, meaning that lasting 15 rounds (the typical scheduled length of championship fights at the time) against him would mean he "... wasn't just another bum from the neighborhood."

Creed does not initially take the fight seriously, but Rocky unexpectedly knocks him down in the first round and the match turns intense. The fight indeed lasts 15 rounds with each fighter suffering many injuries. After the fight, Rocky calls out for Adrian, who runs down to the ring. As Creed is announced the winner by split decision, Adrian and Rocky embrace while they profess their love to one another, not caring about the results of the fight.

Cast

Main cast

Cameo appearances

With the character of outspoken Apollo Creed influenced by Muhammed Ali, one interesting detail is the cameo appearance of Joe Frazier, another real-life former world heavyweight champion who fought Ali three times. During the Academy Awards ceremony, Ali and Stallone staged a brief comic confrontation to show Ali was not offended by the film.

Due to the film's low budget, members of Stallone's family played minor roles. His father rings the bell to signal the start and end of a round, his brother Frank plays a street corner singer, and his first wife, Sasha, was the set photographer. Other cameos include Los Angeles television sportscaster Stu Nahan playing himself, alongside radio and TV broadcaster Bill Baldwin and Lloyd Kaufman, founder of the longest-running independent film company Troma, appearing as a drunk. Longtime Detroit Channel 7 Action News anchor Diana Lewis has a small scene as a TV news reporter. Tony Burton appeared as Apollo Creed's trainer, Tony "Duke" Evers, a role he would reprise in the entire Rocky series, though he is not given an official name until Rocky II. Brad Leahy played a hot dog vendor.

Critical reception

Reviews

Rocky received positive reviews when it was released in 1976. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave Rocky 4 out of 4 stars, and Box Office Magazine claimed that audiences would be "...touting Sylvester 'Sly' Stallone as a new star". However, Vincent Canby of the New York Times called it "pure '30s make believe" and slammed both Stallone's acting and Avildsen's directing, calling the latter "...none too decisive...

More than 30 years later, the film enjoys a reputation as a classic and still receives positive reviews; Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 93% fresh rating. Another positive online review came from the BBC Films website, with both reviewer Almar Haflidason and BBC online users giving it 5/5 stars. In Steven J. Schneider's 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Schneider says the film is "often overlooked as schmaltz.

In 2006, Rocky was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"— the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres— after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Rocky was acknowledged as the second-best film in the sports genre.

Awards

Rocky received ten Academy Awards nominations in nine categories, winning three:

Rocky has also appeared on several of the American Film Institute's 100 Years lists.

The Directors Guild of America awarded Rocky its annual award for best film of the year in 1976, and in 2006, Sylvester Stallone's original screenplay for Rocky was selected for the Writers Guild of America Award as the 78th best screenplay of all time.

Music

Rocky's soundtrack was composed by Bill Conti. The main theme song "Gonna Fly Now" made it to number one on the Billboard Magazines Hot 100 list for one week (from July 2 to July 8, 1977) and the American Film Institute placed it 58th on its AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs. The complete soundtrack was re-released in 1988 by EMI on CD and cassette. Bill Conti was also the composer for Rocky II, III, V, and Rocky Balboa.

The version of "Gonna Fly Now" used in the film is different from the versions released on later CDs and records. The vocals and guitars are much more emphasized than the versions released. The "movie version" has yet to be released.

Although the Bill Conti version of "Gonna Fly Now" is the most recognizable arrangement, a cover of the song performed by legendary trumpeter Maynard Ferguson on his Conquistador album prior to the release of the motion picture soundtrack actually outsold the soundtrack itself.

U.S. Box Office

Rocky: US$117.2 million

The original Rocky was the most profitable entry of the series, with a budget of US$1.2 million.

Home video release history

  • 1982 - CED Videodisc and VHS; VHS release is rental only; 20th Century Fox Video release
  • October 27, 1993 (VHS and laserdisc)
  • April 16, 1996 (VHS and laserdisc)
  • March 24, 1997 (DVD)
  • April 24, 2001 (DVD, also packed with the Five-Disc Boxed Set)
  • December 14, 2004 (DVD, also packed with the Rocky Anthology box set)
  • February 8, 2005 (DVD, also packed with the Rocky Anthology box set)
  • December 5, 2006 (DVD and Blu-ray Disc - 2-Disc Collector's Edition, the DVD was the first version released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and was also packed with the Rocky Anthology box set and the Blu-ray Disc was the first version released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
  • December 4, 2007 (DVD Box set - Rocky The Complete Saga. This new set contains the new Rocky Balboa, but does not include the recent 2 disc Rocky. There are still no special features for Rocky II through Rocky V, although Rocky Balboa's DVD special features are all intact.)

Stallone's Inspiration

Sylvester Stallone was inspired to create the film by the famous fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner. Wepner had been TKO'd in the 15th round by Ali, but nobody ever expected him to last as long as he did. Wepner recalls in early January 2000, "Sly (Stallone) called me about two weeks after the Ali fight and told me he was gonna make the movie."

Rocky Steps

The famous scene of Rocky running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art has become a cultural icon. In 1982 a statue of Rocky, commissioned by Stallone for Rocky III, was placed at the top of the Rocky Steps. City Commerce Director Dick Doran claimed that Stallone and Rocky had done more for the city's image than "anyone since Ben Franklin."

Differing opinions of the statue and its placement led to a relocation to the sidewalk outside the Philadelphia Spectrum Arena, although the statue was temporarily returned to the top of the steps in 1990 for Rocky V, and again in 2006 for the 30th anniversary of the original Rocky movie (although this time it was placed at the bottom of the steps). Later that year, it was permanently moved to a spot next to the steps.

The scene is frequently parodied in the media. In the Simpsons episode "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can", Lisa Simpson runs up a flight of stairs wearing a tracksuit similar to the one worn by Rocky. In the movie You Don't Mess with the Zohan, Zohan's nemesis, Phantom, goes through a parodied training sequence finishing with him running up a desert dune and raising his hands in victory.

In 2006 E! Entertainment Television named the "Rocky Steps" scene number 13 in its 101 Most Awesome Moments in Entertainment.

During the 1996 Summer Olympics torch relay, Philadelphia native Dawn Staley was chosen to run up the museum steps. In 2004, Presidential candidate John Kerry ended his pre-convention campaign at the foot of the steps before going to Boston to accept his party's nomination for President.

Other films and media

To date Rocky has generated five sequels. The first, Rocky II (1979) sees Rocky reluctantly called back for a rematch with Apollo Creed. Rocky II reunited the entire cast of the original Rocky, and was just as successful, grossing $200 million worldwide. A new character appears in 1982's Rocky III, Clubber Lang (played by Mr. T), an outspoken young fighter insisting on a fight with Rocky. Rocky loses this bout, with Mickey suffering a fatal heart attack before the fight (he dies thinking Rocky won, Rocky doesn't have the heart to tell him otherwise.) Rocky accepts an offer from his rival-turned-friend Apollo Creed for help in regaining the title. Rocky IV (1985) introduces Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), a strong Soviet fighter who is convinced he can defeat any American fighter. A retired Apollo takes up the challenge and is killed in the ring by Drago. After Apollo's death, Rocky decides to fight against Drago, despite his wife Adrian urging him not to, and travels to the Soviet Union to train for the fight. Rocky defeats Drago but has to give up his official heavyweight title as the boxing commission did not sanction the fight. Released in 1990, Rocky V was a departure from the rest of the series, as Rocky no longer fights professionally, due to brain injuries, but instead trains younger fighters, including Tommy Gunn (played by real life boxer Tommy Morrison). It becomes apparent that Gunn is merely using Rocky's fame for his own ends, and the film ends with Rocky defeating Gunn in a fight in the street. The movie also is the first to introduce Rocky's son, Robert, as a major character. The final addition to the Rocky series, Rocky Balboa , released in 2006, has the 60 year old Rocky fighting against a real-life boxer again, in this case former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver playing Mason "The Line" Dixon. Rocky Balboa was the most critically well received Rocky film of the entire series since the original, 30 years earlier.

Video games

Several video games have been made based on the film. The first Rocky video game was released by Coleco for ColecoVision in August 1983; the principal designer was Coleco staffer B. Dennis Sustare. Another was released in 1987 for the Sega Master System. More recently, a Rocky video game was released in 2002 for the Nintendo Gamecube, Nintendo Game Boy Advance, Sony PlayStation 2, and Microsoft Xbox, and a sequel (Rocky Legends) was released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. In 2007 a video game called "Rocky Balboa" was released for PSP. In 1985 Dinamic Software released a boxing game for the ZX Spectrum (also advertised for and/or published on the Sega Master System, Amstrad CPC and MSX) called Rocky. Due to copyright reasons it was quickly renamed "Rocco".

References

External links

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