Rocky - Critical Reception

Critical Reception

Rocky received mixed to positive reviews at the time of its release. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, however, gave Rocky 4 out of 4 stars and said that Stallone reminded him of "the young Marlon Brando. " Box Office Magazine claimed that audiences would be "touting Sylvester 'Sly' Stallone as a new star". The film, however, did not escape criticism. Vincent Canby, of the New York Times, called it "pure '30s make believe" and dismissed both Stallone's acting and Avildsen's directing, calling the latter "none too decisive". Frank Rich liked the film, calling it "almost 100 per cent schmaltz," but favoring it over the cynicism that was prevalent in movies at that time, although he referred to the plot as "gimmicky" and the script "heavy-handed". He attributed all of the film's weaknesses to Avildsen, describing him as responsible for some of the "most tawdry movies of recent years", and who "has an instinct for making serious emotions look tawdry" and said of Rocky, "He'll go for a cheap touch whenever he can" and "tries to falsify material that was suspect from the beginning. ... Even by the standards of fairy tales, it strains logic." Rich also criticised the film's "stupid song with couplets like 'feeling strong now/won't be long now.'"

Several reviews, including Richard Eder's (as well as Canby's negative review), compared the work to that of Frank Capra. Andrew Sarris found the Capra comparisons disingenuous: "Capra's movies projected more despair deep down than a movie like Rocky could envisage, and most previous ring movies have been much more cynical about the fight scene," and, commenting on Rocky's work as a loan shark, says that the film "teeters on the edge of sentimentalizing gangsters." Sarris also found Meredith "oddly cast in the kind of part the late James Gleason used to pick his teeth." Sarris also took issue with Avildsen's direction, which he described as having been done with "an insidious smirk" with "condescension toward everything and everybody," specifically finding fault, for example, with Avildsen's multiple shots of a chintzy lamp in Rocky's apartment. Sarris also found Stallone's acting style "a bit mystifying" and his character "all rough" as opposed to "a diamond in the rough" like Terry Malloy.

More than 30 years later, the film enjoys a reputation as a classic and still receives positive reviews; Rocky holds a 91% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Another positive online review came from the BBC Films website, with both reviewer Almar Haflidason and BBC online users giving it 5/5 stars. In Steven J. Schneider's 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Schneider says the film is "often overlooked as schmaltz."

In 2006, Rocky was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Rocky was acknowledged as the second-best film in the sports genre, after Raging Bull.

In 2008, Rocky was chosen by Empire magazine as one of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.

Read more about this topic:  Rocky

Famous quotes containing the words critical and/or reception:

    The critical period in matrimony is breakfast-time.
    —A.P. (Sir Alan Patrick)

    Aesthetic emotion puts man in a state favorable to the reception of erotic emotion.... Art is the accomplice of love. Take love away and there is no longer art.
    Rémy De Gourmont (1858–1915)