© 1976 United Artists

Rocky (1976)

Friends and I got together to watch some films shot and set in Philadelphia. How we got the idea of watching Philadelphia films I am not quite sure, but it turns out there are a lot of them. I guess Philadelphia, with its long history and old coal mining industry has left it with class differences a mile wide, making it a good setting for films about social climbers and crumbling traditions. After giving a pass to The Sixth Sense and 12 Monkeys, we watched The Philadelphia Story, Trading Places and Rocky.

I had never actually seen Rocky, except little bits on television long ago, and it is a strange experience to properly see for the first time a film that is so much a part of popular culture with so many often-repeated lines of dialogue. While all the characters are interesting, many of them seem too exaggerated, especially Burgess Meredith’s Micky and a juvenile delinquent who Rocky admonishes to “stay in school.” The working class accents are done all out of proportion, but maybe people in Philadelphia really do talk like that.

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