Rocky (1976) Movie Review

Robbie Newport
9 min readMay 28, 2023

The iconic classic tale of the down-and-out boxer who made good after a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fight the champ. More than a mere sports movie, this movie is a romantic drama that strikes a chord with the human spirit and inspires us to fight the good fight.

Duncan Chen/ Flickr

The Genuine Approach

It’s hard to believe this iconic American movie was created 47 years ago in 1976, three years before I was even born. It is also hard to believe how well the movie has stood the test of time as one of the best American movies ever made.

The entire Rocky series of movies, including 6 movies directly about Rocky Balboa (not counting the two Creed movies which have him as a secondary character), are amazing movies that inspire the viewer and represent the American dream of working our way up from the bottom to become a success. Although the subsequent Rocky movies are great in their own right, none of them compare to the original Rocky movie.

What makes the original Rocky movie one of the best of all time isn’t one thing, rather it is a culmination of a myriad of factors that combined at the right time to give us a genuine, humble, and ever-relatable story that still inspires us today.

Above all, the main ingredient that made this movie stand out is the writer and main actor Sylvester Stallone. The fact that this was his break-out movie as an actor and screenwriter at 30-years-old, despite all the odds, creates a distinct parallel between his life and that of Rocky Balboa, the nearly down-and-out honest character on the fringes of society desperately seeking that one shot for success and greatness.

Although the producers weren’t keen on having Sylvester playing the main actor, there has perhaps never been a more fitting actor to play the main role in a movie. The fact that Sylvester wrote the movie in the squalor and doldrums of obscurity gave the movie the genuine edge that really resonates with an American audience. Rocky and Sylvester have the same heart, and the same honest character, even though Sylvester was never a boxer and the movie could have very well been about a struggling screenwriter in L.A. rather than an obscure boxer from Philadelphia.

One of the main aspects of Rocky is how the storyline is about much more than sports…