AskDefine | Define rocky

Dictionary Definition

rocky adj
1 abounding in rocks or stones; "rocky fields"; "stony ground"; "bouldery beaches" [syn: bouldery, bouldered, stony]
2 liable to rock; "on high rocky heels"
3 full of hardship or trials; "the rocky road to success"; "they were having a rough time" [syn: rough] [also: rockiest, rockier]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Rocky



  • , /ˈrɒki/, /"rQki/
  • Audio files
    Received Pronunciation:
    Standard Midwestern:


  1. Full of, or abounding in, rocks; consisting of rocks.
    a rocky mountain
    a rocky shore
  2. Like a rock.
    the rocky orb of a shield
  3. Not easily impressed or affected; hard; unfeeling; obdurate; as, a rocky bosom.
  4. Troubled; or difficult; in danger or distress.
    Their relationship had weathered some rocky times, but they loved each other.
  5. Unstable; easily rocked.
    The table was rocky, so we put a book under one leg.''


full of rocks
Translations to be checked

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

Rocky is a 1976 film written by and starring Sylvester Stallone and directed by John G. Avildsen. It tells the rags-to-riches American Dream story of Rocky Balboa, an uneducated but good-hearted debt collector for a loan shark in Philadelphia. Balboa is also a club fighter who gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship when the scheduled contender breaks his hand. Also starring in Rocky are Talia Shire as Adrian, Burt Young as Adrian's brother Paulie, Burgess Meredith as Mickey Goldmill, Rocky's trainer, and Carl Weathers as the champion, Apollo Creed.
The film, made for only US$1.2 million, and shot relatively fast in 28 days, was a sleeper hit; it made over US$117.2 million, won three Oscars, including Best Picture, and garnered mostly positive reviews which helped to launch Stallone's career. The film spawned five sequels: Rocky II, III, IV, V and Rocky Balboa.


The studio liked the script, which was considered as a vehicle for established stars Burt Reynolds or James Caan, among others. Stallone held out, demanding he be given a chance to star in the film. He later said that he would have never forgiven himself if the film became a success with someone else in the lead. He also knew that producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff's contract with the studio enabled them to "greenlight" a project if the budget was kept low enough.
Certain elements of the story were altered during filming. The original script had a darker tone: Mickey was portrayed as racist and the script ended with Rocky throwing the fight after realizing he did not want to be part of the professional boxing world after all.
Although Winkler and Chartoff were enthusiastic about the script, they were at first somewhat hesitant to allow Stallone to play the main character. The producers also had trouble casting other major characters in the story, with Adrian and Apollo Creed cast unusually late by production standards (both were ultimately cast on the same day). Real life boxer Ken Norton was initially handed the role of Apollo Creed but he pulled out and it was ultimately given to Carl Weathers. Interestingly, Norton had three fights with Muhammad Ali, who Creed was loosely based on. According to The Rocky Scrapbook, Carrie Snodgress was originally chosen to play Adrian, but a money dispute forced the producers to look elsewhere. Susan Sarandon auditioned for the role but was deemed too pretty for the character. After Talia Shire's ensuing audition along with Avildsen, Chartoff and Winkler insisted that she play the part.
Garrett Brown's Steadicam was used to accomplish a smooth shot running alongside Rocky during his training run up the flight of stairs. It was also used for some of the shots in the fight scenes, and can even be openly seen at the ringside during some wide shots of the final fight. (Rocky is often erroneously cited as the first film to use the Steadicam, although the distinction actually goes to Bound for Glory as the first production to use it. Marathon Man also has a claim, as it premiered prior to either film.) The final fight scene was filmed in reverse order, with the actors starting out in heavy make-up.

Cameo appearances

With the character of outspoken Apollo Creed influenced by Muhammed Ali, one interesting detail is the cameo appearance of Joe Frazier, another real-life former world heavyweight champion who fought Ali three times. During the Academy Awards ceremony, Ali and Stallone staged a brief comic confrontation to show Ali was not offended by the film.
Due to the film's low budget, members of Stallone's family played minor roles. His father rings the bell to signal the start and end of a round, his brother Frank plays a street corner singer, and his first wife, Sasha, was the set photographer. Other cameos include Los Angeles television sportscaster Stu Nahan playing himself, alongside radio and TV broadcaster Bill Baldwin and Lloyd Kaufman, founder of the longest-running independent film company Troma, appearing as a drunk. Long time Detroit Channel 7 Action News anchor Diana Lewis has a small scene as a TV news reporter. Tony Burton appeared as Apollo Creed's trainer, a role he would reprise in the entire Rocky series, though he is not given an official name until Rocky II. Brad Leahy played a hot dog vendor.

Critical reception


Rocky received positive reviews when it was released in 1976. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave Rocky 4 out of 4 stars, and Box Office Magazine claimed that audiences would be "...touting Sylvester (Sly) Stallone as a new star". However, Vincent Canby of the New York Times called it "pure '30s make believe" and slammed both Stallone's acting and Avildsen's directing, calling the latter "...none too decisive..."
More than 30 years later, the film enjoys a reputation as a classic and still receives generally positive reviews; Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 93% fresh rating. 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".


Rocky received ten Academy Awards nominations in nine categories winning three:
Rocky has also appeared on several of the American Film Institute's 100 Years lists.
The Directors Guild of America awarded Rocky its annual award for best film of the year in 1976, and in 2006, Sylvester Stallone's original screenplay for Rocky was selected for the Writers Guild of America Award as the 78th best screenplay of all time.


Rockys soundtrack was composed by Bill Conti. The main theme song "Gonna Fly Now" made it to number one on the Billboard Magazines Hot 100 list for one week (from July 2 to July 8, 1977) and the American Film Institute placed it 58th on its AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs. The complete soundtrack was re-released in 1988 by EMI on CD and cassette. Bill Conti was also the composer for Rocky II, III, V, and Rocky Balboa.
Although the Bill Conti version of "Gonna Fly Now" is the most recognizable arrangement, a cover of the song performed by legendary trumpeter Maynard Ferguson on his Conquistador album prior to the release of the motion picture soundtrack actually outsold the soundtrack itself.

U.S. Box Office

Rocky: US$117.2 million
The original Rocky was the most profitable entry of the series, with a budget of US$1.2 million.

Home video release history

Stallone's Inspiration

Sylvester Stallone was inspired to create the film by the famous fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner. Wepner had been TKO'd in the 15th round by Ali, but nobody ever expected him to last as long as he did. Wepner recalls in early January, 2000, "Sly (Stallone) called me about two weeks after the Ali fight and told me he was gonna make the movie."

Rocky Steps

The famous scene of Rocky running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art has become a cultural icon. In 1982 a statue of Rocky, commissioned by Stallone for Rocky III, was placed at the top of the Rocky Steps. City Commerce Director Dick Doran claimed that Stallone and Rocky had done more for the city's image than "anyone since Ben Franklin."
The scene is frequently parodied in the media. In the Simpsons episode "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can", Lisa Simpson runs up a flight of stairs wearing a tracksuit similar to the one worn by Rocky. In 2006 E! Entertainment Television named the "Rocky Steps" scene number 13 in its 101 Most Awesome Moments in Entertainment.
During the 1996 Summer Olympics torch relay, Philadelphia native Dawn Staley was chosen to run up the museum steps. In 2004, Presidential candidate John Kerry ended his pre-convention campaign at the foot of the steps before going to Boston to accept his party's nomination for President.

Other films and media

To date Rocky has generated five sequels. The first, Rocky II (1979) sees Rocky reluctantly called back for a rematch with Apollo Creed. Rocky II reunited the entire cast of the original Rocky, and was just as successful, grossing $200 million worldwide. A new character appears in 1982's Rocky III, Clubber Lang (played by Mr. T), an outspoken young fighter insisting on a fight with Rocky. Rocky loses this bout, with Mickey suffering a fatal heart attack before the fight (he dies thinking Rocky won, Rocky doesn't have the heart to tell him otherwise.) Rocky accepts an offer from his rival-turned-friend Apollo Creed for help in regaining the title. Rocky IV (1985) introduces Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), a strong Soviet fighter who is convinced he can defeat any American fighter. A retired Apollo takes up the challenge and is killed in the ring by Drago. After Apollo's death, Rocky decides to fight against Drago, despite his wife Adrian urging him not to, and travels to the Soviet Union to train for the fight. Rocky defeats Drago but has to give up his official heavyweight title as the boxing commission did not sanction the fight. Released in 1990, Rocky V was a departure from the rest of the series, as Rocky no longer fights professionally, due to brain injuries, but instead trains younger fighters, including Tommy Gunn (played by real life boxer Tommy Morrison). It becomes apparent that Gunn is merely using Rocky's fame for his own ends, and the film ends with Rocky defeating Gunn in a fight in the street. The movie also is the first to introduce Rocky's son, Robert, as a major character. The final addition to the Rocky series, Rocky Balboa , released in 2006, has the 60 year old Rocky fighting against a real-life boxer again, in this case former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver playing Mason "The Line" Dixon. Rocky Balboa was the most critically well received Rocky film of the entire series since the original, 30 years earlier.

Video games

Several video games have been made based on the film. The first Rocky video game was released by Coleco for ColecoVision in August of 1983; the principal designer was Coleco staffer B. Dennis Sustare. Another was released in 1987 for the Sega Master System. More recently, a Rocky video game was released in 2002 for the Nintendo Gamecube, Nintendo Game Boy Advance, Sony PlayStation 2, and Microsoft Xbox, and a sequel (Rocky Legends) was released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. In 2007 a video game called "Rocky Balboa" was released for PSP.


rocky in Danish: Rocky
rocky in German: Rocky
rocky in Modern Greek (1453-): Ρόκυ
rocky in Esperanto: Rocky
rocky in Spanish: Rocky (película)
rocky in Finnish: Rocky
rocky in French: Rocky (film, 1976)
rocky in Hebrew: רוקי
rocky in Italian: Rocky
rocky in Japanese: ロッキー (映画)
rocky in Korean: 록키
rocky in Dutch: Rocky
rocky in Norwegian: Rocky
rocky in Polish: Rocky
rocky in Portuguese: Rocky (filme)
rocky in Russian: Рокки (фильм)
rocky in Simple English: Rocky
rocky in Slovenian: Rocky
rocky in Swedish: Rocky (film)
rocky in Turkish: Rocky (film)
rocky in Chinese: 洛奇

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

adamant, adamantine, ailing, apathetic, arduous, bad, below par, bony, bumpy, callous, cement, cemental, certain, cold, concrete, cool, corneous, corrugated, cragged, craggy, crinkled, critically ill, crumpled, crystal, crystalline, degage, dense, dependable, detached, determined, diamondlike, difficult, dilapidated, doddering, doubtful, down, dubious, dure, emotionless, faint, faintish, feeling awful, feeling faint, feeling something terrible, firm, flimsy, flintlike, flinty, granitelike, granitic, gravelly, gritty, groggy, hard, hard as nails, hardhearted, harsh, horny, iffy, ill, impassive, in danger, indifferent, indisposed, insecure, invariable, invariant, iron-hard, ironbound, ironlike, jagged, jaggy, laid low, lapideous, lithoid, lithoidal, marble, marblelike, monolithic, mortally ill, not quite right, obdurate, off-color, osseous, out of sorts, pebbled, pebbly, porphyritic, questionable, ragged, ramshackle, reliable, resistant, resistive, resolute, ricketish, rickety, rock-ribbed, rock-strewn, rock-studded, rockbound, rocklike, rugged, rugose, rugous, sandy, saw-toothed, sawtooth, scragged, scraggly, scraggy, seedy, serrate, serrated, shaky, shingled, shingly, sick, sick unto death, sickish, snagged, snaggled, snaggy, solid, spidery, spindly, staunch, steadfast, steady, steellike, steely, stonelike, stony, sure, taken ill, teetering, teetery, thick-skinned, tottering, tottery, tough, trachytic, treacherous, tumbledown, unbending, uncaring, uncertain, unchanging, uncomfortable, undependable, under the weather, unemotional, unfaltering, unfeeling, unflinching, unhealthy, unpredictable, unreliable, unsafe, unsound, unstable, unsteady, unsure, unsympathetic, untrustworthy, unvarying, unwavering, unwell, unyielding, vacillating, weak, wobbling, wobbly, wrinkled
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