Rocky Balboa still had something to say.

Rocky Balboa still had something to say

Rocky III It was the second highest-grossing film of 1982, only after ET The Extraterrestrial. It was also made on a considerably smaller budget. By that time, the story of “the Italian maroon” was already a proven franchise and one of the most important in Hollywood. In the third part of it, Rocky Balboa still had something to say.

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The first tape Rocky, from 1976, was a modest story from start to finish. It was filmed for less than a million dollars and turned out to be the highest grossing film of 1976. It also won Best Picture at the Golden Globe and at the Oscar. Its director, John G. Avildsen (known for the first three films of karate Kid), also won the Oscar. Stallone had a nomination for the same award for writing the screenplay.

For the next two deliveries, Rocky III Y Rocky IIISylvester Stallone not only starred and wrote; he also sat in the director’s chair. The action film actor has received harsh criticism throughout his career, but it cannot be denied that he is one of the most hard-working, visionary and that whatever he does, does not go unnoticed. For many years, Stallone was a franchise and blockbuster factory.

Rocky uses a method that is easily understood: we know that, in the end, the boxer will have to come out ahead. And at first glance this can be repetitive. However, history is full of valid messages.


Very clearly, Rocky is an example of overcoming, of how someone who has everything against him, especially the same life circumstances, can get ahead. Each person has the opportunity to make himself many opportunities.

In Rocky III, we can more easily see the cycles: some close, others open. And the loss is part of the boxer’s story. In Part Three, Rocky’s coach and father figure, Mickey, dies. The death occurs in the worst conditions (in a heartbreaking sequence) and will require a double mourning process to overcome it.

Not only Rocky loses Mickey (played by Burgess Meredith, recognized for his role as Penguin in the series of Batman 1966), he also loses himself. He feels let down by his coach, he feels cheated and abandoned. In addition to this, he feels disappointed by himself, that he is not up to his own conception and that of others. Another element that the boxer must overcome is that, as he himself says, it is the first time in his life that he has much to lose.


A great scene is when the boxer from Philadelphia, after contemplating the statue that is unveiled to him shortly before, throws his motorcycle case against his bronze figure, false idol. The effigy represents, in addition to the way in which he is seen by the people, the image that he had of himself and in which he is not up to par. The low-angle shot allows us to see the man who at some point triumphantly climbed those stairs, small, insignificant, now riding a luxury motorcycle, but who does not represent human effort.

The film also talks about leaving hate behind. Rocky’s old nemesis, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), not only becomes his ally, but takes on the role of coach and mentor. Apollo and Rocky become friends. The event also tells us about the spirit of the athlete who must leave all rivalry in the ring.

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“In the next one, Rocky is going to fight aliens”, it was commonly said; If we analyze it, it is true that as we advance along the way, the obstacles become more complicated.

As we look ahead, we must not forget the past either. Remembering where we come from helps us exercise humility. You are not because of what you have, but because of what you are. We see this over and over again in the Rocky movies. When he fails, when he falls to the mat, he has to pause and rethink being, he has to go back to the roots. This time, it’s the old gym where Apollo trained before becoming a champion. There, the fighters appreciate him as one more, without paraphernalia and then, Rocky sees how the defects and failures in his technique begin to emerge. Being at the top does not necessarily mean being the best. And after a top, comes a slope. You have to know how to get to one and the other.


A relevant element in the 1982 production is the music. Rocky III featured the valuable addition of the Survivor theme, “Eye of the Tiger”. The “eye of the tiger” is constantly mentioned by Apollo when referring to the look of the boxer who really wants to win, the one who is hungry. The version that appears in the film is the one that was recorded as a demo and not the one that was used for the album. It is worth mentioning that it was a worldwide success and one of the most important of that year, in addition to being the theme par excellence of the group.

Rocky III It not only has the theme of Survivor, but the Bill Conti classic, “Gonna Fly Now”, one of the most recognizable in the history of cinema. The orchestrated theme seems to go all the time in crescendo, lifting the spirits.


“Gonna Fly Now”, has guitars and drums, with distinguishable influences from disco music (in this version), synchronized violins and, suddenly, one or another electronic effect of its time. “I’m getting strong now, it won’t be long; I am strong now. I’ll fly now, fly high now.” The set of music and lyrics is like a shot of adrenaline in the brain. The theme trumpets are characteristic in the early Rocky movies.

As Rocky’s fame grew, guest stars arrived. In the third part, two fighters who dabbled in acting make their debut. In the first instance, the gigantic Hulk Hogan, who plays the arrogant “Thunderlips” and second, the main rival of the film, Mr. T, giving life to “Clubber” Lang. Another guest is the expressionist painter, LeRoy Neiman, who not only contributes the painting in the end credits, but also makes an appearance as a presenter in one of the fights.


The usual cast was intact: Talia Shire as Adrian, Burt Young as the desperate brother-in-law, Paulie, and Tony Burton as Duke Evers, in addition to those mentioned above.

The success of Rocky has lasted for 9 films, from 1976 to 2022, the year in which it is released Creed III, the first without the intervention of Stallone as an actor, although as a producer. And as its protagonist, although he falters at times, we know that the franchise will later catch its breath.

It is the 40th anniversary of the premiere of Rocky III, on May 28, 1982.

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Rocky Balboa still had something to say.

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