Rocky (1976), written by and starring Sylvester Stallone and directed by John G. Avildsen, grossed $225 million worldwide after being shot on a paltry $1.1 million budget. Although film critics and historians, like Peter Biskind, often seem to classify Rocky as a ?post-New Hollywood feel-good film, a throwback to the ?50s, and a peek at the ?80s,? a blockbuster among the likes of Star Wars and Jaws, the film is unmistakably influenced by the New Hollywood movement. Rocky captures the essence of raw artistry and emotion that emerge in Midnight Cowboy, Easy Rider, Taxi Driver, or any of the other poster-films for the New Hollywood movement. After Rocky, however, Stallone made Rocky II, III, IV, and V, trying to recreate?and perhaps sponge off?the success of the original.
[...] Says Lucas, same thing happened to me.' Like Coppola, his aspirations were influenced by the market When Darth Vader begs Luke to serve the Empire and join the Dark Side at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, saying, ‘It's your destiny,' Luke defies him, taking a risky plunge into nowhere. But real life is different. When Lucas's self-created empire begged the producer-director to serve it, he gave Similarly, when Stallone's self-created empire begged him to serve it, he readily made Rocky II-V, and even followed a similar course with the Rambo films. [...]
[...] Rocky walks over to the mirror and the camera films the image of his reflection in the mirror, as well as the photograph of him as a little boy which is stuck into the mirror frame. The camera then pans from the mirror to the man, the real Rocky, no longer the reflection. The scene overflows with a playful self- consciousness regarding images, viewing, and loneliness. This scene embodies the surprise of Rocky, which is that it is not a film about boxing. [...]
[...] What would be better than to get it on with one of his descendants?” Before the fight, Apollo comes out dressed as Uncle Sam in a flamboyant costume, covered in stars and stripes. Apollo even wears American flag shorts during the fight. Rocky takes him down. Rocky seems to celebrate real, gritty people, un-flashy types. Now, in Rocky Rocky has become one such grandiose person. Here he is the one covered in stars and stripes. Rocky has a mansion in the suburbs and a son whose coat has a fur collar. [...]
[...] Rocky looks like he could be taking steroids; his body has a plastic quality. None of the naturalness, the “regular quality of his body that allows for identification with the character in Rocky remains. Another indication of this shift is in the attitude towards celebrated American champions. Much of Rocky pokes fun at America and the media, at the notion that people would buy into the hype and find irresistible a 4th of July fight with a real Philadelphia underdog. [...]
[...] The combination of the likeability of Rocky and Adrian, his love interest, with the gritty and raw atmosphere of the film brings a realistic quality to the film, even though the story itself is so extraordinary. Rocky was the first film to use the steadicam, but the filming is still rough and imperfect. As Rocky runs through Philadelphia to train for the fight, it feels as though the viewer is there with him, feeling the ups and downs of the streets, instead of being removed, watching a glamorized, planned-out sequence. [...]
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