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The 50 Greatest Sports Movies
We rank the very best sports films

Back Page 48 of 50 Next

Rocky (1979)

DIRECTOR John G. Avildsen
STARS Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Burgess Meredith, Carl Weathers

Paddy Considine's favourite film has received something of a bum rap over the years, diluted by a stream of increasingly glossy sequels (that said, Rocky IV missed out on this list by the width of a mouthshield, and there's a lot to be said for the valedictorian Rocky Balboa). Watching it again, it's a shock how gritty and raw the film is, with experiences and trauma and dogged determination ripped from Stallone's own gruelling life. It's On The Waterfront with extra punching, unflinching in its examination of the ups and downs in the life of a good, if too open-hearted, man. Some scenes approach poetry, man, and Stallone is just perfect.
Read Empire's review

QUICK POLL Should Rocky be higher or lower on the list?

The Stats
Heavyweight boxing
Rocky Balboa, Apollo Creed
The long scene between Rocky and Mickey (Meredith), where the latter tries to convince the former that he's the man to manage him. The film's about perpetually open doors, and Balboa's failure to recognise them due to pride and stupidity. He takes this one.
Run up some steps accompanied by the most pulse-pounding theme you can find; hit the other guy as hard as you can.
Back Page 48 of 50 Next


Have your say Agree with the list? Which sports movie would you add to the list? Register or login now to have your say.

Your Comments

1 Underdog film
Dodgeball certainly remains one of the classic underdog films, not just for its inspirational value, but its usual comedy, too. And perhaps some of the others could make this list too: ranker-film Read More

Posted on Wednesday June 18, 2014, 18:51 by Imperion

2 See Also
Karate Kid, The Waterboy, The foot fist way, Hot rod, Caddy Shack, The mighty ducks, coach carter, blades of glory, mean machine, leatherheads, the ringer, nacho libre, kicking and screaming, baseketball, remember the titans, brians song, don king: only in america, cinderella man, million dollar baby, somebody up there likes me, the boxer, knuckle, bend it like beckham, fever pitch, zidane Read More

Posted on Saturday September 15, 2012, 18:42 by bnicholson50

3 RE: What the Hell!?
l largely an excuse for Chaplin to show off his legendary slapstick skills and rubbery physical abilities while poking fun at sports clichés and underdog stories, but it's still more entertaining than most of the films it skewers. ow exactly does Chaplin, in 1915, skewer films that are very very far from being made and poking fun at sports clichés that do not yet exist? Read More

Posted on Wednesday July 25, 2012, 00:42 by Evil_Bob

4 RE: Rocky - third place
BASEketball should totally be in here. Okay it's not a real sport, but it is a sport movie. And it's funny as shit wise a pretty damn solid list. (Rocky 2-4 should be included as well, but maybe that's being a bit greedy...) Read More

Posted on Tuesday July 24, 2012, 13:55 by Whistler

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