Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama film directed by John G. Avildsen, written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. It tells the rags to riches American Dream story of Rocky Balboa, an uneducated, kind-hearted working class Italian-American boxer, working as a debt collector for a loan shark in the slums of Philadelphia. Rocky, a small-time club fighter, gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship. The film also stars Talia Shire as Adrian, Burt Young as Adrian’s brother Paulie, Burgess Meredith as Rocky’s trainer Mickey Goldmill, and Carl Weathers as the reigning champion, Apollo Creed.
The film, made on a budget of just over $1 million, was a sleeper hit; it earned $225 million in global box office receipts, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1976. The film was critically acclaimed and solidified Stallone’s career as well as commenced his rise to prominence as a major movie star. Among other accolades, it went on to receive ten Academy Award nominations, winning three, including Best Picture. In 2006, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”. Rocky is considered to be one of the greatest sports films ever made and was ranked as the second-best in the genre, after Raging Bull, by the American Film Institute in 2008.
The film has spawned seven sequels: Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990), Rocky Balboa (2006), Creed (2015), and Creed II (2018). Stallone portrays Rocky in all eight films, wrote seven of the eight films, and directed four of the six titular installments.
When world heavyweight boxing champion, Apollo Creed wants to give an unknown fighter a shot at the title as a publicity stunt, his handlers choose palooka Rocky Balboa, an uneducated collector for a Philadelphia loan shark. Rocky teams up with trainer Mickey Goldmill to make the most of this once in a lifetime break.