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Rocky Academy Award Winner! Academy Award Winner! Academy Award Winner! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! 

By Jeff Shannon

The only remaining evidence that Sylvester Stallone might have had a respectable career, this 1976 Oscar winner (for Best Picture, Director, and Editing) is still the quintessential ode to an underdog and one of the best boxing movies ever made. After writing the script about a two-bit boxer who gets a "million-to-one shot" against the world heavyweight champion, Stallone insisted that he star in the title role, and his equally unknown status helped to catapult him (and this rousing film) to overnight success. The story is familiar, but it's handled with such vitality and emotional honesty that you can't help but leap and cheer for Rocky Balboa, the chump-turned-champ who stuns the boxing world with the support of his timid girlfriend Adrian (Talia Shire) and grizzled trainer Gus (Burgess Meredith). Oscar nominations went to all the lead actors (including Burt Young as Adrian's hot-tempered brother), but four sequels could never top the universal appeal of this low-budget crowd pleaser.

Where are They Now?

Sly was sued by Maria Vivanco and Cristian Sandoval, who worked at the Stallone's Miami mansion in 1995. The former employees, along with other former cooks and cleaners, claim the Stallones fired them without cause after subjecting them to a bizarre set of work rules, including not looking the actor directly in the eyes, backing out of a room if he entered, and not speaking to Stallone's mother (sounds like the champ is an Upstairs Downstairs fan). He counter-sued the pair for $1M in damages for slander and invasion of privacy.

More recently, Stallone announced that he has abandoned his long-held plans for a Rocky VI as he is unable to come up with a good script (that didn't stop him from making the Rambo movies). Sly also says he is now too old to portray a boxer. Irwin Winkler, who produced of all the Rocky films, said to the BBC, "Sly has the desire but he does not have the idea."

Adrian, actress Talia Shire, is the sister of director Francis Ford Coppola and aunt of actor Nicolas Cage. With her second husband, producer Jack Schwartzman, Shire co-founded a production company called Taliafilm II.

Academy Awards

Rocky received Academy Awards for Best Picture (Robert Chartoff - Producer, Irwin Winkler - Producer), Directing (John G. Avildsen), and Film Editing (Richard Halsey, Scott Conrad). Rocky also received Academy Awards nominations for Actor (Sylvester Stallone), Actress (Talia Shire), Supporting Actor (Burt Young), Supporting Actor (Burgess Meredith), Writing (Best Screenplay written directly for the screen; Sylvester Stallone), Best Song (Bill Conti - Music, Carol Connors - Lyrics, Ayn Robbins - Lyrics), and Sound (Harry Warren Tetrick, William McCaughey, Lyle Burbridge, Bud Alper).

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: John G. Avildsen

Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith

Released: November 21, 1976

Availability: DVD VHS CD


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