Rocky and I have an important history together: in 1976, at age 10, I got to go to my first "grown up" movie. Rocky. As you might guess, I am not all that into boxing (or sports for that matter, klutz and geek that I am/was), and yet I remember the whole film like it was yesterday. Perhaps most importantly, it was the first time that I realized that my little isolated small town world wasn't the only place on Earth; that not everyone lived like I did. And in a time when the country was swathing itself in red, white and blue accouterments of glory and patriotism, it was easy to believe (especially for a 10 year old) that America was a completely free, abundant-with-wealth paradise filled with prosperous heroes, Rocky showed me an America I knew nothing of. It was gritty, urban (in the scariest sense of the word) and filled will ill-mannered, uneducated people who worked hard, had little to show for it, and had every reason to hate their lives and the country that had clearly let it down. And the main character LOSES! And yet, I remember distinctly telling my dad that Rocky was the good guy because he did the best he could even though he didn't have the best training or equipment. But he had the best people in his life, especially Adrian who loved him even when he was beat up really bad.
It was the first time I saw and learned that the hero doesn't always win - in fact, losing the fight can make you a winner in real life, anyway. This was a powerful message shining through a sea of images and messages that told me just the opposite.
Truthfully, I can't sit through more than 10 minutes of any of the sequels. But the original resonates with me even today.
|The Rocky: The Musical Creative Team|
I am optimistic and hopeful!
(Photos from NY Times, and the German production, Rocky - Das Musical)