The mere mention of Rocky Balboa brings to mind images of patriotism, a dramatic embodiment of the American Dream, where a man with nothing can rise to the top based purely on the fortitude of his mettle. It might also conjure up ideas of Soviet-American conflict, incoherent mumbling, a love of extended montage sequences, and maybe even robot butlers. The first of the Rocky films hardly resembles the hyper-inflated sensationalism of its later sequels, though the groundwork is there for just about everything other than the robot. The success story of Rocky, both the arc of the character and writer/star Sylvester Stallone’s own rise to stardom on the back of the film’s unlikely success, is one that continues to inspire us today. So easily do we see ourselves in the plight of Rocky, a man with odds so thoroughly stacked against him that even his friends seem to treat him with dismay. Despite the incredible odds, both in his personal life and the incredible professional opportunity laid at his feet, we cheer Rocky on as he weathers the tide of insurmountable challenge. We continue to feel the same rush of enthusiasm and fervor watching Rocky rise to the occasion, while that triumphantly iconic score thunders him along. Stallone’s first major success remains a cultural icon with good reason, consecrated as the second most inspiring emblem to arise from the City of Brotherly Love, surpassed by only the crack of the Liberty Bell itself.
0:00 The art of collecting and displaying movie posters
10:00 Q: Into the Storm
18:40 Shiva Baby
24:40 Fishing with John (1991): Part II
29:38 Ken Burns: Jazz (2001)