Rocky, one of Hollywood’s iconic characters--is an example of the rugged individualist pulling himself up by his bootstraps, surviving on instinct and triumphing against all odds through the power of sheer will and resolution. Rocky, the movie and the fictional character, became embedded in American culture as an inspirational ode for hardworking underdogs. In the ring, Rocky lost his fight with Apollo Creed. But he won his self-respect and the enduring love of Adrian, his woman.
In Rocky Ballboa, a character Stallone created and played on screen six times, we found a Horatio Alger from the ghetto. A punch-drunk journeyman prizefighter with a heart of gold, given one shot –one very slim shot—at glory and fame. Through hard work and determination he conquers a richer, better equipped but complacent champion.
For more times, in four more films, Rocky would find himself severely overmatched, and each time he would triumph through pure heart and sweat. In Rocky IV, we saw him take on the whole Soviet sports-industrial complex and, after training in an unequipped barn in the Moscow winter, win not only the fight but also the adoration of the Russian fans and a standing ovation from the Soviet premier.
Sylvester Stallone himself, the actor, the man, has been fighting the same sort of underdog battle in the press. Trying to persuade America that he is not the lovable but stupid oaf he played in those early films, Stallone tried to branch out, he tried his hand at comedy and drama.
But America is not built on the love of smart-talking tough guys who make country music with Dolly Parton. America loves an underdog. And a winner.
From Icons and Idols: Art and copy by Victor Pross.
Edited by Victor Pross, 18 March 2007 - 11:01 PM.