The Who2 Blog

Notes on Rocky

Rocky Balboa opens tomorrow — the sixth film in Sylvester Stallone‘s series about the rugged Philadelphia boxer with the broken nose.

Thirty (count ’em) years have passed since the original Rocky won the Academy Award for best picture and best director of 1976. A few random Rocky notes:

  • Stallone didn’t get either Oscar statue; the best picture Oscar went to producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, and the best director award to John Avildsen. (Stallone took care of that by directing four of the next five Rocky films himself, though he did invite Avildsen back to direct Rocky V.)
  • Between Rockys one and five, Avildsen found time to direct another iconic underdog film series: The Karate Kid and its two sequels.
  • Bill Conti, who created the music for all the Rocky films (and all the Karate Kid films, for that matter), has been musical director of the Academy Awards orchestra nearly a dozen times. Conti wrote the original Rocky anthem, “Gonna Fly Now.”
  • The films defeated by Rocky in the best picture competition were quite the who’s who of 1970s moviemaking: Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro), Network (William Holden and Faye Dunaway), Bound for Glory (the forgotten Woody Guthrie biopic directed by Hal Ashby, with David “Kung Fu” Carradine as Guthrie), and All the President’s Men (Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman).
  • Rocky Jr. controversy? Sage Stallone, Sylvester’s real-life son who played Rocky Jr. in Rocky V, as been replaced by someone named Milo Ventimiglia for the new film. According to the IMDB, Sage Stallone is still in the acting game. Surely Stallone didn’t cut his own son?
  • Rocky’s opponent in the new film is called Mason Dixon, and his nickname is “The Line.” Does that strike anyone else as a rather wimpy (and academic) nickname for a boxer? Where have you gone, Clubber Lang?
  • Speaking of Clubber Lang, the boxing brute played by Mr. T: Turns out that Rocky III was the origin of Mr. T’s catch-phrase, “I pity the fool.”
  • Here’s the full roll call of the Rocky films: Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1978), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985, the one with Dolph Lundgren as icy Russian Ivan Drago), Rocky V (1990), and Rocky Balboa (2006).

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