October 05, 2016

The Hero's Journey: Rocky (1976)

Rocky (1976) is a film written by Sylvester Stallone and directed by John G. Avildsen. It stars Stallone as Rocky Balboa, a working class boxer from Philadelphia. Rocky tells the story of an 'american dream', a young unknown boxer suddenly is given the chance of a lifetime, of competing against Apollo Creed, Carl Weathers, for the world heavyweight title. The film won three oscars and became the most successful, highest grossing film of 1976, despite having only a $1 million budget and being shot in just under a month.
Image 1: Film Poster
The Call to Adventure:
Apollo Creeds' manager calls for Rocky with an offer to fight the world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed.
The Refusal of the Call:
Once Rocky realises that it is not just a sparring session, but a shot at the world title he refuses, thinking he isn't that good and because he 'only fights in clubs'. He once again refuses the night before the fight because he visits the boxing ring and realises the gravity of the situation; he is to fight the world heavyweight champion.
Supernatural Aid:
Ex-fighter Micky comes to Rocky begging him to let him mentor him and be his manager, and tells him having him as a manager will make him succeed, and he teaches him.
Crossing the Threshold:
Rocky crosses the threshold when he starts training, we see this begin by him waking before the sun rises to run across the town, chasing chickens, boxing with Micky and drinking raw eggs. He also has interviews on television.
Image 2: Film Still
The Belly of the Whale:
Rocky visits the boxing ring the night before the fight, and takes in the scale of the venue and realises the situation he is now in. He sees himself painted onto posters opposite Apollo Creeds' and doubts himself.
Road of Trials:
He faces problems with his friend Paulie, as he feels Rocky is leaving him behind as he is rising to fame. All of his training with Micky, training by running up the steps in Philadelphia. He is also trying to get Adrian to like him, in the hope that she will be his girlfriend. Rocky is also mocked by Apollo Creed.
Meeting the Goddess:
Rocky meets and falls in love with Adrian.
Woman as Temptress:
"Women weaken legs", said by Micky to Rocky, about his girlfriend Adrian.
Atonement with Father:
Rockys parents are never mentioned, but throughout the beginning of the film we see Rocky desperately trying to make Micky respect him and listen to him. After Rocky is given the shot at the world title Micky starts to see potential in him, and after he becomes his manager they become friends and have a respectful relationship with one another; Micky sees in Rocky his younger self, and Rocky sees Mickys' wisdom and experience. Even though he doubts himself, he says to himself that it doesn't matter if he loses the fight, all that matters is 'going the distance'.
Apollo Creed is spoken about as if he is unbeatable, godly. He comes into the fight in a parade, wearing a costume and having a spotlight trained on him, being showered in glitter and throwing money into the crowd. Everybody loves him.
"Nobody has ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance... If the bell rings and I'm still standing I'm gonna know for the first time in my life that I'm not just another bum from the neighbourhood"
Rocky thinks he cannot beat Creed, he is unbeatable in his eyes and he has already accepted that he will lose, but he still wants to 'go the distance' to prove to himself he is something.
The Ultimate Boon:
Rocky fights Apollo and it turns out he was a real component for him. He succeeds in being the first person to knock him out. They are equal.
Refusal of Return:
Even though Rockys' nose is broken, his whole face is swollen and he can't see, he still carries on because he wants to prove himself. He has his eyelid cut open so he can see again, and Apollo also carries on with a broken rib. He keeps getting hit harder and harder but he carries on, refusing to back down and quit even when he is knocked to the floor and unable hold his gloves up to defend himself. Everybody tells him to stay down, even Micky but he doesn't listen.
Magic Flight:
Rocky regains some strength and goes at Apollo with so much force and breaks his ribs. He won't back down and keeps punching him over and over to knock him down.
Rescue from Without:
Adrian helps Rocky at the end of the fight to calm him down, and he realises the fight is over and he can finally rest.
Crossing the Return Threshold:
The fight ends and Rocky spends time in hospital recovering from his injuries.
Master of Two Worlds:
Rocky is now a serious competitor, and is a respected skilled fighter in the boxing world, and is respected in his home town and everybody knows he is not just a 'neighbourhood bum'. We see people in the pub of his hometown who didn't believe in him before, now rooting for Rocky.
Image 3: Film Still

Freedom to Live:
The last lines said by Creed are 'Ain't gonna be no rematch'. Rocky is now free from the fight with Apollo and doesn't have to train to fight him anymore, and he can go back to his life.

Image 1: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/18/Rocky_poster.jpg. (2016). [image].[Accessed 05 October 2016].
Image 2: Google UK. 2016. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwito5Hn48TPAhWDchQKHXC3AMYQjBwIBA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fi.dailymail.co.uk%2Fi%2Fpix%2F2015%2F03%2F10%2F267B99C100000578-2987319-image-m-2_1425950158192.jpg&psig=AFQjCNEC-N5A95WlqVkNgIHtETpivtDXIg&ust=1475795231697000&cad=rjt. [Accessed 05 October 2016].
Image 3: rotten tomatoes. 2003. Rocky (1976). [ONLINE] Available at: http://content.internetvideoarchive.com/content/photos/8934/461695_017.jpg. [Accessed 6 October 2016].
All Quotes: Rocky. (1976). [DVD] Sylvester Stallone, John G. Avildsen. [Accessed 6 October 2016].

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