What is at stake?
After breaking the movie down quite a few different ways, I have come up with two different things that are at stake during this film.
First and foremost, we have the Heavyweight Title on the line. This is just about every boxers dream and a very unlikely for a club fighter. Rocky realizes he has the opportunity of a lifetime and does not want to let it pass by. Towards the end of his training montage, Rocky confides in his now girlfriend and roommate Adrian (Paulie’s sister) that he does not think he can win the fight.
Secondly, for the first time, Rocky is concerned about his own safety. Being accustom to fighting other fighters of the same caliber, a few cuts and bruises were not much of a bother. Now, he is facing an unbeaten opponent capable of causing serious damage. There is another factor in the same regard that seems to also be on Rocky’s mind : Adrian. As a single fighter, he didn’t really have too much to lose whenever he stepped into the ring. Now that Adrian has become a part of his life, he has her to think about.
Who is the central character? Why? Describe this character’s personal journey.
Rocky, created and written by Sylvester Stallone, was based on an actual fight between Chuck Wepner and the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali. Wepner, a long shot, lasted 15 rounds with the champ until the fight was ultimately called late in the last round when the referee determined that Wepner could no longer protect himself. Stallone watched his fight from his living room, and eventually, Rocky was born.
Without simply looking at the title of this film, it is rather easy to identify the central character of the picture. Rocky Balboa is a club fighter from South Philadelphia. His personal journey begins in the ring against Spider Rico. He goes on to win the fight in a rather unorthodox fashion. We find out that Rocky makes a living as the muscle for a loan shark and good friend Tony. He has eyes for his friend Pauley’s sister who he continuously pursues during her part time job at the local pet shop.
His journey takes a drastic turn when Rocky, through a chain of events, is offered an opportunity to fight for World Heavyweight Champion and a legitimate shot at the title. While it does take a bit of convincing by the mayor of the city, he reluctantly accepts the offer. Rocky is set to throw hands with Apollo Creed, the raining and undefeated champion. Rocky was offered this chance of a lifetime due to his catchy name (The Italian Stallion) and a late injury to Apollo’s original opponent.
Rocky begins the fight noticeably slower and seemingly outmatched. He struggles to even touch the much faster Apollo Creed. Rocky eventually connects with a left hook that sends Creed to the canvas. Creed had been clearly taking the first round too lightly and underestimating Balboa up until this point. Creed got back up and finished the round strong.
Creed goes on to butcher Balboa for most of the fight. Balboa goes down a few times. In the 14th round, Balboa breaks Creed’s ribs. The referee goes to both fighters and informed them that he was ready to stop the fight. Both declined aggressively.
The fight comes to a close with both fighters exchanging blows toe-to-toe. Rocky has Apollo against the ropes as the final bell sounds. A split decision in favor of Creed is the end result of the fight.
How is the character transformed?
Rocky starts to exclusively date Adrian. He begins to go through a slight personality change, but nothing too drastic. He is much more concerned about her needs rather than his own. Mickey and Rocky battle over this during his training. “Women weaken legs”, according the Mickey.
While Rocky remains constant throughout most of the movie, I noticed some of the people around him that made the most significant transformations. Mickey, Rocky’s future trainer, is the current owner of the gym that Rocky trains. Mickey did not give Rocky the time of day leading up to the point of the news breaking about Rocky’s title shot. Mickey then shows interest in Rocky and offers to act as his manager for the fight and assist him with his training and fight management. There is a heated argument which results in Rocky eventually agreeing to take Mickey on as his manager.
Paulie becomes more interested in Rocky as far as a person as well as someone he can use to turn some cash. Rocky agrees to wear a robe with Paulie’s meat packing plant’s name and logo on the back.