review – Rocky (1976)

{After Dark: ep4: Rocky (1976) podcast available now!}

Good evening Zero DB movie podcast listeners and welcome to episode 4 of After Dark; our after hours movie podcast that we do after our little monster goes to sleep. I am your humble host Gabe Añel and with me is the second half of the “we” in this After Dark podcast. That is my co-host and lovely wife, Claudia. Good evening!

Happy New year everyone! Hopefully everyone has had some much needed R&R and got out, weather permitting, and watched some movies and also stayed home, weather permitting, and binged on some movies.

Speaking of New Years Day, one of the most celebrated boxing movies took place on New years Day. And that’s the movie we are going to be discussing tonight. Tonight we are discussing a movie that I feel stands the test of time. Usually when we think about this movie franchise, we usually refer to 3 or 4, but we never talk about how great the first one was. That’s right, the one that started it all. The one the writer was pretty much homeless and wouldn’t give in to the movie companies until he was cast as the lead. We are talking about The Italian Stallion, Rocky Balboa. That is correct my movie fans, the movie is Rocky (1976)

Directed by JOHN G AVILDSEN and written by Stallone

JOHN G AVILDSEN did: Rocky (Oscar)!& Rocky 5 (nom for Razzie). He also did Karate Kid 1, 2, 3 (nom for Razzie for 3) but directed Lean on Me!

Filmed for under 1 mil; opening did 5mil and 225 mil worldwide

After producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff became interested in the script, they offered Sylvester Stallone an unprecedented 350,000 dollars for the rights, but he refused to sell unless they agreed to allow him to star in the film (this despite the fact that he had only 106 dollars in the bank, no car and was trying to sell his dog because he couldn’t afford to feed it). They agreed, but only on the condition that Stallone continue to work as a writer without a fee, and that he work as an actor for scale. After Winkler and Chartoff purchased the film, they took it to United Artists, who envisioned a budget of two million dollars, but that was on the basis of using an established star (they particularly wanted Robert Redford, Ryan O’Neal, Burt Reynolds or James Caan). United Artists didn’t want Stallone to star, and when Winkler and Chartoff told them that the only way they could get him to sell the screenplay was to agree to cast him, United Artists cut the budget to one million dollars, and had Chartoff and Winkler sign agreements that if the film went over budget, they would be personally liable. The final cost of the film was 1.1 million dollars. The 0.1 million dollars came after Chartoff and Winkler mortgaged their houses, so as to complete the project.

Gabe – I don’t remember when I first saw this but I do remember always knowing it was some kind classic to watch. I probably saw 3 or 4 first.

I’m going to start out by saying that, overall I really love this film. The message you get from it, the life lesson and the sentiment and how it truly makes you believe in last chances or lucky chances. I love the on location sets in Philly and the soundtrack (Bill Conti) and the overall flow of this movie. I love how everyone pretty much starts off down in the dumps in this movie. Rocky, Adrian, Paul and even Apollo. Then everyone’s luck changes and we have a movie. I would give this film a solid “I love it!”.

“Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer, gets a supremely rare chance to fight heavy-weight champion Apollo Creed in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.”

That, to me, seems like a little simplified of a run down that I feel does the movie no justice. How about you? Well, why don’t we jump into your notes about this film and I’ll jump in with some fun facts and have some fun.

Synopsis from IMDB – “Rocky Balboa is a kind-hearted and uneducated club fighter from Philadelphia whose main source of income is collecting debts for local crime boss, Gazzo. Despite having talent, nobody believes that Rocky can make to the pros. He falls in love with his best friend’s sister and everything seems to be going okay. But things just get better as reigning the champion’s opponent gets injured and Rocky is chosen to take his place because of his nick-name, “the Italian Stallion.” Rocky sees it as a chance to live his dream and go the distance with the heavyweight champion of the world.”

Well, the time has come for me to bring this 4th episode of After Dark to an end. Be sure to tune into the next After Dark where we’ll continue discussing the films that we love and trying to do it “hate free”.

Claudia, as always, thank you for being the other half of the we on this After Dark show here on the Zero DB Podcast feed. I am your host Gabe Añel. Be sure to comment or ask questions at or can reach me on Twitter @zerodb23 and @zerodbpodcast on Facebook & Instagram. Thank you for listening and you can catch these shows on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, PodOmatic and YouTube. Don’t forget to subscribe and please feel free to reach out. We’d love to hear from you all. Thanks again! See ya next time!

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