14 May 2000 | forsaken999
NOT A BOXING MOVIE!
The first common misconception about Rocky, and something that's almost inevitable when you put a half-naked Stallone with boxing gloves on the cover is that it's a fighting movie. In that time it would fall into a category including Jean-Claude Van Damme and Jackie Chan. Now don't get me wrong, I like both of these actors a lot, they're among my favorites, but Rocky is not just another cheap movie about a man who like to win a fight or tournament because he deserves it (Bloodsport, Quest). Instead of a fighting movie we should say that it is a movie about a fighter. That changes the context altogether, it means that sure he has fighting on his mind but has other personal issues that are demonstrated throughout the movie. In fact in the whole movie there are two fight scenes (at the beginning and at the end) which together add up to about 15 minutes.
The rest is the portrayal of a man who has never had it easy in his life but nonetheless keeps his heart. That is to say that he keeps his moral and ethics, just keeps on trying no matter the hardships. A MAN WITH A DREAM... an un-realizable dream to be frank. But in the end, a lot, even most, of our dreams are un-realizable... but we try anyway. The difference here is that this man is given a shot at his dream, a "one-in-a-million shot". It's something that we all would like so we can relate and CAN'T HELP but cheer for him at the end of the movie.
The largest portion, in minutes, of the movie is actually devoted to the love theme between Rocky and Adrien. So that should maybe make this a "love story" movie instead of fighting movie. Adrien is another of his dreams, slightly more attainable which is why he devotes more of his time everyday to trying to attain it (her). She won't open up to anybody but in the end, with a certain amount of tenacity on the part of Stallone, she can't help but fall for the heart deep inside the rough exterior.
Another theme here is that of fraternity between Rocky and Mickey, his trainer/manager. In fact THE MOST TOUCHING SCENE in the whole movie in my opinion is one of about 15 to 20 seconds long and without any words. It's when Mickey goes to see Rocky at his home the first time to see if he can manage him. Rocky gets angry with him but keeps it to himself until Mickey leaves, at which point Rocky takes it out on the door jam and yells at Mickey who can still hear him outside. Rocky's life is being turned upside down by this whole "fighting Creed" business and although it is his dream, he doesn't know how to deal with it and is scared to get mangled in the ring, knowing he's not of the same caliber as the champ. The touching scene is when he realizes that he has yelled at an old man. His heart takes him out into the street after Mickey, he joins him and shakes his hand. The beginning of an enduring friendship which will ultimately lead to tears in a later film (Rocky 3 and 5).
This movie simply seeps with "classic", and by the end you know you have just seen a movie of courage, of the portrayal of "the indominable spirit of man" (Rocky 3). No matter the difficulties, Rocky's heart takes him through it all. It doesn't fit the mold of today's classics (like Private Ryan) with melodrama and grandiose scenery, just a simple movie, with simple qualities but very large meaning intricately woven into the fabric of the film itself by Stallone and the director John G. Avildson, with the musical overtones of Bill Conti. A classic from a different age, and the mold of a lot of movies to follow.