Best Picture Winners Part 49 (of 89): Rocky

Title: Rocky
Year: 1976
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burgess Meredith
Runtime: 2 hrs

What It Is: Telling a true underdog tale both in its narrative and in real life our story is set in 1970’s Philadelphia. Boxer Rock “The Italian Stallion” Balboa (Stallone) is chosen out of obscurity to face the Heavyweight Championship of the world Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). With the help of his trainer Mickey and the love of a good woman, in this case, Talia Shire’s Adrian. From a real-life perspective, Sylvester Stallone was an underdog who fought to play the role that would define his career. After writing the script Stallone wanted to play the role he’d created but the studio had someone else in mind, a list that included Robert Redford, Ryan O’Neal, Burt Reynolds or James Caan. To satiate the studio Stallon agreed to work as a writer without a fee and act for union scale, which probably saved both the picture and its legacy.

Memorable Quote: Mickey: You’re gonna eat lightnin’ and you’re gonna crap thunder!

Competition: Strong, supremely strong. All the Presidents Men is Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford star in this highly important look at investigative journalism done right. Director Alan Pakula works rather lean making his tale a pointed and more effective tale. Some dynamite performances from its leads and an Oscar win for Jason Robards in support. Next, we have a film in Bound for Glory based on the life of folk singer Woody Guthrie. Hal Ashby ever the man to spin a unique story once again he does so. Outside its lead, however, a lot of the acting is made for TV hammy. Network revolves around a retiring news man. It received 5 acting nominations and won 3. Iconic for Peter Finch’s (Oscar-winning) mental breakdown in which he claims he’s “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!” In my opinion Taxi Driver is one of the greatest films ever made. Robert De Niro stars as sociopathic taxi driver Travis Bickle, in a performance I feel, should have taken home the trophy. We’re talkin’ to you De Niro, wholly!

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