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review by Zach B.
Running Time: 119 minutes
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young,
Burgess Meredith, Carl Weathers
Written by Sylvester Stallone
Directed by John G. Avildsen
Retail Price: $19.99
Features: Audio Commentary with Director John G.
Avildsen, Producer Irwin Winkler, Producer Robert Chartoff,
Talia Shire and Burt Young, Video Commentary with Sylvester
Stallone, Behind-The-Scenes featurette, "A Tribute To
Burgess Meredith" featurette, "A Tribute To James Crabe"
featurette, Theatrical Teaser, Theatrical Trailers, Three TV
Spots, Collectible Booklet
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby
Digital, English Dolby 2.0 Mono, French 5.1 Dolby Surround,
Spanish Dolby Mono, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles,
Chapter Search (25 Chapters)
Ah, "Rocky". The movie that made Sly Stallone a star and
the movie that spawned a pretty incredible franchise. It's
nearly been twenty-five years since "Rocky" made its big
screen debut, and movies have never been the same. From that
awe-inspiring music and scene, to many memorable characters
and catchphrases ("ADRRRIAAAANNN!"), there is no denying
"Rocky" has a place in film history, and it was the winner
of three Academy Awards®, for Best Picture, Best Film
Editing and Best Director for John G. Avildsen.
All these years later, "Rocky" still holds up and it is
still pretty timeless. Now in its 25th year, a whole new
audience can experience an incredible film. I think "Rocky"
will always hold up and conveys a pretty important message,
but more on that later. I guess what's even more amazing
about "Rocky" is how it came to be. On an episode of the
excellent Bravo show "Inside The Actor's Studio", host James
Lipton even said it's one of the best stories about getting
a movie made. The booklet inside "Rocky" goes into it some
detail, but on the show, Sly went into it more in-depth. He
wrote the movie in an "intense 86-hour" period, and bidding
for the movie went pretty high. Sly said up to about
$360,000 (though the booklet says 265,000). Names were
tossed around, including Robert Redford and others, and in
the end, Stallone really wanted to play the part. After a
ton of talks, Stallone got the part, and got about $380
dollars a week (or so he says). And how does fate play a
part in Rocky? Stallone's mother said that a seven-year
"curse" is you call it would be on Sly, and that he would
have bad luck. And seven years to the day, "Rocky" was sold.
So in "Rocky", we meet the "Italian Stallion" for the
first time. Rocky Balboa is going nowhere in his life. He's
a club fighter and there's really not much to him. However,
in "the land of opportunity", Rocky is thrown into the ring
with world heavyweight boxing champion Apollo Creed. Pure
fate? Pure destiny? Pure luck? Rocky is about to find out in
a boxing match --- and a chance, of a lifetime. Can Rocky
"go the distance"?
There's so much to "Rocky" and it's so easy to understand
why audiences love this movie. It'll be around for
generations. Stallone's script is incredibly sincere and
really well developed, while the performances are really
tremendous, and it's no surprised why they garnered four
Oscar® nods (for Stallone, Shire, Burgress and Young).
Top it off with some great editing, great directing and
great everything else to make a great movie.
But what makes "Rocky" what it is is the simple theme
that we can all relate to it. It's just one of those feel
good movies that has so much to it. Again, this movie will
be around for generations all because of its simple theme
(and the fact that this is what made Sly Stallone a star)
about beating the odds. Of course, we can all relate to
"Rocky" somehow or another. In everyone's life, there's been
a point where one doesn't have faith or believes in oneself,
and the world around us seems so bleak and so heartless. A
time where we feel that we may not belong or there is
nothing to us, that things aren't going anywhere. But
something magical happens, and while the odds seem
unbeatable, you - and maybe some others have a little hope
and faith, and you feel that anything is possible. To me,
and I'm sure to many people, that's what "Rocky" is about.
It's executed really well, and a perfect example of how a
movie with a message should be. Yes, there have been movies
in the past and after "Rocky" about believing and beating
the odds, but for every "Rocky" there is, there are several
movies that miss the mark. You feel that they are rehashed
and reused and have no heart to them, they're just not very
good. But when you see one of those movies, just remember
"Rocky". It brings a nice feeling to the heart, and shows us
the power of movies. That movies don't have to be
manipulative to give an audience strong emotions.
"Rocky" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, but
I have to say this transfer was somewhat disappointing.
There are plenty of pieces of grain and dirt, and a good
amount of scratches, but what disappointed me the most about
this transfer is that it doesn't look as sharp as it could
have been. It's not a terrible transfer, not at all, but
considering a movie of this statute, I expected better.
Especially for a 25th anniversary re-release. There's some
slight shimmering here and there. Still, considering what
DVD can do and what it has to offer, this transfer does not
take advantage of that. Again, a movie like "Rocky" deserves
better, but it is pretty watchable and the best I've seen it
"Rocky" is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital, and it's a
very good remix, I was quite surprised how good it actually
sounded. Dialogue is not distorted and the audio seems to be
really cleaned up. Nothing overlaps anything, and the sound
sounds really clear and it is easy to understand. There are
some nice pretty nice surrounds with the memorable music and
during the boxing scenes. A pretty good mix for a very good
movie. An English Dolby 2.0 mono track (which I was glad to
see, not all of you like 5.1 remixes), a French 5.1 track
and a Spanish mono track are included as well, as well as
French and Spanish subtitles (but unfortunately, there are
no English ones).
For it's 25th anniversary, "Rocky" gets a full special
edition treatment with some truly fantastic supplements.
First up is a Commentary With John G. Avildsen, Irwin
Winkler, Robert Chartoff, Talia Shire and Burt Young. It
is edited, but for all you "Rocky" fans out there, you'll
find a wealth of information to absorb. Things are pretty
screen specific but not always. Avildsen is quite
insightful. He discusses good production stories and how
certain things fit the characters, he's really enthusiastic.
Winkler and Chartoff discuss how the project came to them as
well as some interesting tidbits. Shire and Young also have
good stories to share, and I found them to be interesting.
There's also some commentary cameos I guess you can say,
like at the start of chapter 3 (I won't spoil it for you).
This is definitely one of the better commentaries I've heard
in a long time.
A 28 Minute Video Commentary With Sylvester
Stallone is not a full commentary, but there's a lot
here. I would have liked a full one with him considering the
fact he created the whole world of "Rocky" and it has played
a major part in his life, but don't get me wrong, you'll
really love this. And maybe Stallone wouldn't have more to
add during the commentary, who knows. Anyhow, Stallone talks
about writing the movie, his inspirations (a Muhammad Ali
fight), creating key elements and the whole experience, and
in between there are key clips from the films. Stallone is
quite insightful and very interesting to listen to here, and
this is a must watch for anyone who likes the film.
MGM also serves up some three great featurettes. First up
is Behind The Scenes With John Avildsen. Lasting
twelve minutes in length, Avildsen shows off some nice, rare
behind the scenes movies of fighting tests and whatnot. He
gives a good preface before with interesting comments, and
ends it nicely, encouraging you to compare the rough footage
to the final film. Check it out for sure.
Tribute To Burgess Meredith last eight minutes,
and it's a really nice tribute with clips from the film and
has a variety of interviews with the like of Stallone, Burt
Young, Carl Weathers and Lee Grant. Pretty much this
featurette has some nice stories about Meredith, and it
seems everyone had a blast working with him and liked him
very much. I must admit I think he was a fantastic actor,
and did a superb job in the "Rocky" films, and his memory
will live on as new generations experience "Rocky" and his
Though not as well known, there's a Tribute To James
Crabe. Avildsen talks about the cinematographer, and
they did have a long history together. Avildsen talks on
camera and stills as well as clips from the movie are shown.
It's only three minutes, but still nicely done.
Rounding the disc out are three Rocky TV Spots
(wow, TV ads have surely changed) which are enjoyable, as
well as some Theatrical Trailers. The teaser trailer
for "Rocky" is in full frame while the actual trailer is in
anamorphic widescreen. The other "Rocky" movie trailers are
on the disc as well. "Rocky II" is in full frame, "Rocky
III" is in full frame, "Rocky IV" is in full frame and
"Rocky V" is in anamorphic widescreen.
"Rocky" is a fantastic movie, and DVD helps preserve this
film and gives it a decent presentation. This special
edition is excellent, with a great amount of supplements and
a very low price. It doesn't get better than this folks, so
with a price like this, "Rocky" should be in everyone's
(4.5/5 - NOT included in
NOT an average)