The complete saga of Rocky Balboa, an unavoidable character of the 20th century, arrives on Netflix

There is eight films of the saga Rocky; a saga in the strict sense, because there is more than one generation of characters. More precisely, it can be expanded that there are eight films with Rocky Balboa, six of them “Rocky” and two “Creed” (1976, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1990, 2006, 2015 and 2018). There are Rocky from one to five -although one did not have the number one, of course- plus the sixth, which did not have the number six and was entitled Rocky Balboa, as if the character, at last, assumed his full name from the outset, perhaps because he had reached a new stage of maturity by accepting, among other blows, his circumstances and the passage of time. The “Rocky” and the “Creed” can be thought of as irruptions of the biopic, of an extensive film biography, in what seems to be a life in progress. Yes, perhaps the same could be said about almost any series of movies that return to the same character, but the “Rocky” even have the form of a biography that is told in chapters.

Of the six “Rocky”, four were directed by its protagonist and creator, that Hollywood star who became such a thing thanks to the script of the first Rockywhich he wrote in record time, at the speed of legend: in three and a half days. Sylvester Stallone It burst in like this, with force, effort and forcefulness with an Oscar-nominated script and also an Oscar nomination for best actor. It was the third time that happened in the history of cinema: the previous ones had been Charles Chaplin and Orson Welles. The first “Rocky” didn’t win any of those Academy Awards but did win three: picture, editing, director (John G. Avildsen). Of the other “Rocky”, Avildsen would direct only one, the one that is considered by consensus as the worst, the one that few want to see again: number five. The two, the three, the four and the six – that is, Rocky Balboa– led by Stallone himself.

Rocky wins best picture in 1976

Anyway, regardless of who directed them, and beyond the fifth, which is often left out with such conviction that it is even ignored by the script of Rocky Balboa, it could be said that there are two aesthetic groups, two types of “Rockys”. One is that of the “Rockys” of the seventies and of the 21st century, who drink from common aesthetic and ethical sources: Rocky Balboa It can almost be seen as a continuation of I and II, with the same light, with the music of Bill Conti as the common thread, with narrative simplicity and with the internal challenges of the character above the logic of revenge.

Sylvester Stallone listens to instructions from John Avildsen, during the filming of RockyUnited Artist – Archive

Stallone knew how to create an almost instantaneous myth in the seventies, that of the boxer from a poor neighborhood in Philadelphia who rises through sheer effort and conviction. Rocky Balboa even became a real tourist attraction in the city, with the steps that were already there and the statue that came later. And Stallone also multiplied the power and took it to the limit and even beyond with the third and fourth installments, which are the other aesthetic group: movies with a lot of revenge engine, with the tremendously successful songs of Survivor that perched on the Conti’s eternal fanfare. Rocky III Y Rocky IV they were considered Reaganist cinema and despised as plastic by hordes as fanatic as those who celebrated the hits and training of Rocky, the saga that took the training montage to paroxysm.

From an era with cinema as prone to malnutrition or morbid obesity as today’s, to disparage the 1980s “Rockys,” especially IV, without appreciating their inventiveness for agile, athletic pyrotechnics, is perhaps a mistake and is preventing us from the possible recovery of especially intense and passionate ways of being in cinema. Even more: there are people with cinephile ancestry who lose themselves Rocky because he is only interested in “serious” topics. Nevertheless, Rocky IV he predicted, with greater lucidity and bochinchera clarity than many circumspect cinema of the time, the end of communism. Stallone was part of the “soft power” of the eighties, key among the cultural products that helped wear down the Soviet Union and its satellites.

Rocky against Drago, in Rocky IV – Source: YouTube

Rocky Balboa Perhaps it is the wisest film of the eight, the one that was able to unite the past and the present as two living energies, the one that was able to put the character’s legacy into perspective and still make him fight, hit and endure in the ring. Luck of resurrection film and full understanding of the vital and cinematographic -and even musical- legacy of the character and of Stallone himself, it could be at this point the one that should be recommended to someone who has never seen one of the “Rocky” and will only see a.

And if in the six “Rockys” there was a certain stability at the helm, with only two directors, for two “Creed” there were already two different directors: Ryan Coogler for the first and Steven Caple Jr. for the second. Coogler’s is much closer to honoring the legacy, for narrative power but also for certain daring in the training sequences. Adonis Creed, the son of Apollo (present one to four) is not hungry for employment or social advancement, he is hungry for recognition. The displacement of Rocky Balboa from the center of the scene but his inescapable permanence rearms the saga, gives it a new beginning or rather, gives it continuity with important changes of axis, with new reading keys on Philadelphia, a city with a historically large population. black and key to the country before, during and after independence.

Creed 2 Trailer – Defending The Legacy

In believe, Rocky becomes something like a new Mickey (Burgess Meredith, the coach from the first to the third). In fact, Stallone’s age at making believe coincides with Meredith’s when making the first Rocky. in the second installment Creed 2: Defending the Legacya crude rewrite of the fourth installment for “the new generation”, Rocky returns to being the Rocky of IV a bit, but wiser: the one that is not wiser is the film, which out of the poise of Stallone and Dolph Lundgren and the fight sequences, is of that kind of current cinema stunned by the confusion between television formats and the legacies of the great art of the 20th century, the one in which Rocky is one of the unavoidable characters.

Rocky I, II, III, IV and V, Rocky Balboa and Creed I and II are available, starting Friday the 23rd, in the Netflix catalog

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The complete saga of Rocky Balboa, an unavoidable character of the 20th century, arrives on Netflix

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