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Transcript of Rocky (1976)
John G. Avildsen and Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky is a traditional underdog story in almost every aspect; Starring Rocky Balboa as the main character. Rocky, like most underdogs, is in an unfortunate situation. He lives in industrial, working-class Philadelphia and earns enough money to get by as a debt collector and participating in amateur boxing events. Unexpectedly, he is given a chance to fight the heavy-weight champion, Apollo Creed. He accepts the proposal with the hope that he can go the distance with Apollo and change his outlook on himself and life.
Rocky is portrayed as a people person and oddly charismatic considering he lacks intelligence. He many friends and people find him charming. Rocky’s personality is quite different in the boxing ring. He becomes determined and focused; ready to win. It’s clear that Rocky is very passionate about boxing.
Rocky doesn’t have a high opinion of himself though. He sees himself as a bum, poor and worthless. This self-doubt drives Rocky to fight Apollo Creed as he feels that if he can last the 15 rounds with Creed, he isn’t just another bum.
As the movie progresses, Rocky changes for the better as he becomes more determined and his mindset improves. This can be highly credited to Adrian as she was the primary motivation that drove Rocky to win. This is a two-sided change as Adrian is also changed by Rocky.
Adrian, who later becomes Rocky’s girlfriend, begins the movie as a shy, pet shop employee. Her interactions with Rocky are brief as she fails to hold a conversation with him. In many of the scenes consisting of her and Rocky in a pet shop, a bird cage is present. This could be interpreted as a symbolism of Adrian’s characteristics; she feels trapped by her lack of confidence, her emotions and as later stated, her brother.
Adrian’s brother, Paulie, lives with Adrian in what he states is ‘his house’. Later in the movie, Paulie arrives from work. He throughs a tantrum, smashing objects, and yelling at Rocky and Adrian. The conflict ends with Adrian confronting him. she states that he ‘made her feel like a loser’ and that she’s not a loser. This is an example of the confidence Adrian has gained due to dating Rocky.
A very significant and consist theme in Rocky is The American Dream; the belief that anyone can accomplish their goals through hard work. This theme is present in many underdog stories and Rocky is no exception. Rocky is a working class boxer with passion and determination, a classic underdog. Apollo Creed sites the American Dream when he puts forward the idea of fighting a local underdog; Rocky Balboa. Creed is aware that this gesture will be well received by the American people. While Rocky doesn’t beat Apollo Creed, him having a shot at the title establishes the theme of The American Dream.
This shot is a very significant shot as it symbolises Adrian and how she feels. This scene is from early in the movie, before her and Rocky start dating. The cage is present in many of these first few scenes with Rocky and Adrian but this shot is far more open with the symbolism. At the time, Adrian feels trapped, by her feelings for Rocky, her shyness and her brother. The cage is a representation of this feeling of being trapped. The close-up shot also makes it appear almost as if Adrian is in the cage herself, further establishing the symbolism.
The opening scene to the movie uses some very interesting angles, starting with a close up of a painting of Jesus Christ and slowly panning down to the fight taking place below. This very specific shot establishes the religious theme throughout the movie. The movie can be interpreted as a resurrection story, starring Rocky. This shot directly links Rocky to a highly religious figure, Jesus Christ.