Many films often carry only one stylistic element, either focusing on a character’s growth, which is commonly portrayed in classical Hollywood cinema, focusing on the complexity of a character and the effects of setting, which is commonly portrayed in Art cinema, or focusing on the realistic daily struggles of a person, which is commonly portrayed in Neorealist cinema. Rocky I however combines these three traditions in order to make an engaging, lifelike film. Rocky I exemplifies an engaging, goal oriented character, a realistic setting, as the entire film is shot on site in the city of Philadelphia, and a genuine display of real world hardships. This film uniquely combines the traditions of classical Hollywood, Neorealism, and Art into one piece that allows viewers to experience a highly engaging and very relatable film. Beginning with a goal oriented character in Rocky Balboa, the Classical Hollywood underdog story takes shape. Throughout the entire film viewers are exposed to the tradition of Art cinema, with a great portrayal of the tough, not so welcoming streets of inner city Philadelphia and complex characters, such as Rocky and his girlfriend Adrian. This element displays the mental struggles of Rocky and gives us insight to his background. Viewers are also exposed to Neorealist cinema, with a display of the everyday hardships that a local Philadelphia man faces as he struggles to find work as well as a purpose to his life. This element displays the physical struggles that Rocky goes through each day. The combination of the traditions of Classical Hollywood, Art, and Neorealist cinema tie together to produce an enjoyable underdog story with realistic scenes and a genuine display of real life hardships. This marriage of stylistic elements allows for a more genuine and engaging story, as it makes for a story that could in fact take place in the real world, as opposed to a story that carries only one tradition, such as a more classical mainstream Hollywood film that most likely would not happen in the real world. The film Rocky I displays classical Hollywood cinema firstly with the motive driven main character in Rocky Balboa, who at the start of the film is a no name boxer with little potential. Although it seems that this boxer’s time for fame has already past, Rocky, even at the age of thirty, still believes that he is a great fighter and it is his goal to prove to his friends, his trainer, and the people of his city that he is a great boxer and not just a worthless, unintelligent fighter. This is present early in the movie, when even after he has won a small, local fight he still fails to gain the respect of his trainer and even his friends, Rocky however is not discouraged but begins working harder. As the film continues his peers continuously tell him that he is too old and just wasting his time boxing. At one point his own trainer kicks him out of his gym locker, telling Rocky his time has passed and he has been replaced with a boxer of better potential. Rocky however does not give up on boxing, displaying his goal-oriented character. Rocky wants to remove the classification by his peers that he is a “bum” and show that he can be great. With great luck he is chosen to fight the World Heavy Weight Champion, Apollo Creed and given an opportunity to reach his goal and prove to his peers and even himself that he is not just a washed up boxer, but that he is a great boxer and someone who is capable of greatness. This consistency of a never quit attitude by Rocky displays the Classical Hollywood goal oriented character and leads us into the well-structured story of an underdog, which is also prevalent in many Classical Hollywood films. Although Rocky is given the opportunity to make a name for himself and face off against the greatest boxer in the world, his chances of success are very slim. This boxing event was staged by Apollo Creed as simply a form of...
Cited: Pramaggiore, Maria, and Tom Wallis. "Social Context and Film Style:
National, International, and Transnational Cinema." Film: A Critical
Introduction. Boston: Pearson Allyn and Bacon, 2011. 343- 362. Print.
Rocky I. By Sylvester Stallone. Dir. John G. Avildsen. Perf. Sylvester Stallone. 1976. DVD.
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