A small-fry boxer gets the once in a lifetime chance to meet his heavyweight hero in the ring and compete for the title. Rocky must prove to himself that he has what it takes to last the match.
The second greatest boxing movie of all time (beaten only by Raging Bull) John G. Avildsen's rags to riches pugilist fable remains Sylvester Stallone's only real cinematic achievement, the surprise being that he not only delivers a winning performance as the loveable lunkhead seizing his chance to take on the champ, but also penned, or rather dictated, the script.
Avildsen uses locations masterfully, delivers some genuinely charming scenes (the ice rink sequence is classic) and knows exactly when to stop. Pretty much a template for high concept drama while Don Simpson was a mere glint in his dealers' eye.
This is really Sly's movie as he slugs his way through a heartfelt performance and delivers some cracking punches, both literally and emotionally.