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FAQ for
Rocky (1976) More at IMDbPro »

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FAQ Contents


A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Rocky can be found here.

What is 'Rocky' about?

Small time boxer and debt collector for a loan shark, Rocky 'The Italian Stallion' Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) gets the chance of a lifetime when he is invited to fight the current world heavy-weight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) in an exhibition match. At first reluctant, Rocky starts to see this as a chance for a 'nobody' to become a 'somebody.' Although the exhibition is supposed to be for show only with Creed winning, with the help of ex-trainer Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith) and the support of his girlfriend Adrian Pennino (Talia Shire), Rocky decides to prove that he can go the distance...15 rounds...with Apollo.

No. Rocky is based on a screenplay written by title character actor Sylvester Stallone. Stallone drew inspiration from real-life boxers Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Chuck Wepner, and Joe Frazier. Rocky fostered five sequels -- Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), and Rocky V (1990). Rocky comes out of retirement in Rocky Balboa (2006). Rocky won the 1976 Academy Award for Best Motion Picture.

The film begins on November 25, 1975 (Rocky's fight with Spider Rico (Pedro Lovell)) and ends on January 1, 1976 (Rocky's title fight against Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers)).

When in the bathroom with Paulie (Burt Young), Rocky mentions that he is 30. This scene takes place the day before Thanksgiving 1975. In 1975, Thanksgiving fell on November 27. The film runs from November 25, 1975 to January 1, 1976, and at no stage during that time does Rocky celebrate a birthday. Taken together, this means that Rocky was born sometime between January 2, 1945 and November 24, 1945.

As he says in Rocky II, he made it to the ninth grade.

The Resurrection AC. Tommy Gunn (Tommy Morrison) also fights a match there in Rocky V.

He gets winner's share: $65, less $15 for use locker and cornerman, $5 for use of shower and towel, and 7% tax. In the end, he gets a total of $40.55. Spider Rico gets loser's share: $40, less $15 for use of locker and cornerman, $5 for use of shower and towel, and 7% tax; a total of $17.20

He lives in Apt. 2 (on the second floor) at a rowhouse on 1818 East Tusculum Street in the Kensington section of North Philadelphia just off Frankfort Avenue. The SEPTA Market-Frankfort elevated train (Blue Line) runs near the sidestreet of his house and passing trains can be glimpsed in the background in several scenes. He would subsequently move out of this apartment in Rocky II and into a more fancy rowhouse in a more afluent neighborhood in South Philadelphia, although in Rocky Balboa, he would visit his old house once a year while reminiscing about his life with Adrian.

The song is "Summer Madness" by Kool And The Gang. There are two versions of the song: the original studio version and a live one. The one used in the movie is the studio version. On the soundtrack recording, there is also a song by Bill Conti called "Reflections" that samples a bit of "Summer Madness".

The turtles are called Cuff and Link; the fish is called Moby Dick; the dog (a Bulldog Mastif) is called Butkus. Cuff and Link reappear in Rocky Balboa (played by the same two turtles who play them in Rocky). Butkus (played by Butkus Stallone) also appears in Rocky II.

Gazzo gives Rocky $20 for each one of his collection assignments which are anywhere from between one to five assignments a day. A little later, he gives Rocky $50 for his first date with Adrian as a gift. He later gives Rocky $500 for training and gym expenses. All together, Gazzo gives Rocky a total of $570 on-camera during the movie. In real life, Joe Spinell (who played Gazzo) actually gave Sylvester Stallone money out of his own pocket so Stallone could buy gas for his car or buy food for himself when he was a struggling actor during the early and mid 1970s much like Gazzo does with Rocky in this film.

Mighty Mick's Boxing. It retains this name throughout all six films in the series, although by the time of Rocky Balboa it would be closed down and derelict.

According to Sylvester Stallone on the DVD commentary, it is the combination for the lock on the door. Stallone wanted to convey to audiences that even after six years in the same gym using the same locker, Rocky still can't remember the code.

44 wins (38 by KO) - 20 defeats

He has four: The Master of Disaster (mentioned in Rocky I and Rocky II), The King of Sting (mentioned in Rocky III), The Dancing Destroyer and The Count of Monte Fisto (both mentioned in Rocky IV).

How does the movie end?

Rocky and Apollo enter round 15 still standing. Rocky's face is bloody and his right eye is swollen shut, and Apollo is protecting his right ribs, one of which is broken. The crowd starts cheering for Rocky. Just as Rocky backs Apollo against the ropes, the bell goes off, signalling the completion of round 15 and the completion of the fight. 'Ain't going to be no rematch,' Apollo says as he's led away. 'Don't want one,' Rocky replies. As the press looms in to interview him, Rocky's only reply is to call out for Adrian. In the wings, Andrian calls for Rocky and tries to make her way through the crowd. In a split decision, Creed is named the winner. In the final scene, Adrian reaches the ring, throws her arms around Rocky, and they both declare their love for each other.

What is a split decision?

A split decision means that, out of the three judges, two of them scored the fight in Apollo's favor and one in Rocky's favor. The majority rules.

Film composer Bill Conti wrote the music, whilst Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins wrote the lyrics. The song was sung by DeEtta Little and Nelson Pigford. "Gonna Fly Now" was nominated for a Best Original Song Oscar at the 49th Academy Awards in 1977, and although it didn't win, the song hit the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, whilst a modified version by jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson hit the top 30. A disco version by Rhythm Heritage was also in the charts at the time. Slightly altered versions of the song appeared in Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky V and Rocky Balboa. For the 2006 version from Rocky Balboa, the song was completely re-recorded with Natalie Wilde on vocals.

No. Garrett Brown invented the Steadicam (originally called the Brown Stabilizer) in 1975. The first film production on which it was used was Hal Ashby's Bound for Glory (1976), where it was used at the behest of cinematographer Haskell Wexler. However the first film to be released which featured the Steadicam was John Schlesinger's Marathon Man (1976), where, again, it was used by request of cinematographer Conrad L. Hall. Rocky was both the third film on which it was used and the third film released, although people often make the mistake that Rocky originated the use of the device. This is most likely because of the fame of Rocky as opposed to the other two films (even though Bound for Glory won Best Cinematography at the Oscars). Additionally, the shots in Rocky which employ the Steadicam are all iconic shots, especially the Philadelphia Museum shot, and this extra fame has no doubt contributed to people erroneously believing it to be the first film to feature the Steadicam.

The 2-Disc Collector's Edition DVD released by MGM Home Entertainment in 2007 (called the Definitive Edition in the UK) contains the following special features:

A feature length commentary with writer/actor Sylvester Stallone.

A feature length commentary with boxing trainer Lou Duva and boxing commentator Bert Randolph Sugar.

A feature length commentary with director John G. Avildsen, producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, actors Talia Shire, Carl Weathers and Burt Young, and Steadicam operator Garrett Brown.

An interview with boxing trainer Lou Duva (5 minutes).

An interview with boxing commentator Bert Randolph Sugar (7 minutes).

'The Opponents'; a 16 minute featurette looking at Rocky's opponent in each film in the Rocky saga (not counting Rocky Balboa, as the featurette was made prior to the movie).

The theatrical teaser trailer and the theatrical trailer

3 TV spots

'In the Ring'; a 76 minute making-of documentary.

'Steadicam: Then and Now with Garrett Brown'; a 17 minute featurette looking at how Garrett Brown came up with the idea for the revolutionary Steadicam.

'Make-Up!: The Art and Form with Michael Westmore'; a 16 minute featurette looking at the work done on the film by makeup artist Michael Westmore.

'Staccato: A Composer's Notebook with Bill Conti'; a 14 minute featurette looking at the composition of the famous theme tune by composer Bill Conti.

'The Ring of Truth'; a 9 minute featurette looking at the set design for the film with art director James H. Spencer.

12 minutes of rehearsal footage and makeup tests shot by director John G. Avildsen early in preproduction.

'Tribute to Burgess Meredith'; a 7 minute featurette looking at the career of actor Burgess Meredith.

'Tribute to James Crabe'; a 4 minute featurette looking at the career of cinematographer James Crabe.

A 29 minute interview with Sylvester Stallone.

Sylvester Stallone's 1976 appearance on the Dinah! show (15 minutes).

Yes it is. It is available in the US in the Rocky: The Undisputed Collection box set, and in the UK in the Rocky: The Complete Saga box set. It is also available as an individual release in both the US and the UK. The special features on the individual releases are identical to the DVD, but both the US and UK box sets include a new special feature; an interactive game called "Feeling Good Now!".

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