6. Rocky

If there’s a better example of the ultimate “underdog” story, please share.  It’s quite amazing to think that a movie that was released back in 1976 is still considered not just one of the best sports movies, but one of the best movies of all time.

“The Italian Stallion” Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) gets the chance of a life time to fight the world heavyweight champion of boxing Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers).  Seen more as a publicity ploy by Apollo Creed than an actual fight, it turns out to be one of the best fights in recent memory.

At the same time, Rocky’s personal life is in shambles.  Being given the opportunity of a life time quickly thrusts him into the limelight and forces him to have a different outlook for the future.  He pairs up with Mickey Goldwill (Burgess Meredith), a trainer who didn’t give Rocky the light of day for six years until Rocky was given the chance to fight Apollo.  They form a strong bond that helps get them both through the training and the fight of the century.

Rocky also has met the love of his life Adrian Pennino (Talia Shire) who becomes the Yin to his Yang.  To Rocky, Adrian is something worth fighting for and it adds extra motivation for him to do his best and no matter what happens, he will still have her.

Ultimately it comes down to the relationship between Rocky and Adrian.  Even though Rocky is fighting for the world championship of boxing, he and Adrian continue to get closer as the fight approaches.  The night before the fight, Rocky goes for a walk.  He figures he has no shot at beating Apollo, but as he explains to Adrian when he comes back, there’s still a chance for respect.

Rocky Balboa: Ah come on, Adrian, it’s true.  I was nobody.  But that don’t matter either, you know?  ‘Cause I was thinkin’, it really don’t matter if I lose this fight.  It really don’t matter if this guy opens my head, either.  ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance.  Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.

I’m sure most of you have seen this movie at least once.  Most of you probably have it higher on your list.  It’s a timeless classic.  Everyone can agree on that.  The characters are unforgettable.  Some of the lines are recognizable.

“Yo Adrian”
“You’re gonna eat lightning and crap thunder”
“Cut me Mick”
“You’re a bum”

All memorable quotes.  This was a great story that frankly went two movies too long.  “Rocky V” and “Rocky Balboa” were unnecessary and you could make the same argument for “Rocky IV.”  However, the standard was set with the original and “Rocky II” was just as good, but nothing is better than the original.

This top 10 list is sports movies that I’ve seen.  Not what others recommend, but only what my eyes have seen and that I truly enjoy.  If you haven’t seen this movie, netflix it, pirate the movie, however you go about watching movies, just do it.

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