Rocky III

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Rocky III
Rocky iii poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySylvester Stallone
Produced byRobert Chartoff
Irwin Winkler
Written bySylvester Stallone
StarringSylvester Stallone
Talia Shire
Burt Young
Carl Weathers
Burgess Meredith
Music byBill Conti
CinematographyBill Butler
Editing byMark Warner
Don Zimmerman
StudioUnited Artists
Distributed byMGM/UA Entertainment Company
(USA & Canada)
United International Pictures
(International)
Release dates
  • May 28, 1982 (1982-05-28)
Running time100 min.
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$17 million
Box office$270 million
 
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Rocky III
Rocky iii poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySylvester Stallone
Produced byRobert Chartoff
Irwin Winkler
Written bySylvester Stallone
StarringSylvester Stallone
Talia Shire
Burt Young
Carl Weathers
Burgess Meredith
Music byBill Conti
CinematographyBill Butler
Editing byMark Warner
Don Zimmerman
StudioUnited Artists
Distributed byMGM/UA Entertainment Company
(USA & Canada)
United International Pictures
(International)
Release dates
  • May 28, 1982 (1982-05-28)
Running time100 min.
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$17 million
Box office$270 million

Rocky III is a 1982 American film that is the third installment in the Rocky film series. It is written and directed by and stars Sylvester Stallone as the title character, with Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith, Talia Shire, Burt Young, and introducing Mr. T as James "Clubber" Lang. The film also features professional wrestler Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea as the supporting character "Thunderlips".

The film's theme song "Eye of the Tiger", was written by the group Survivor at the request of Stallone, and became a smash hit single, topping the US Billboard music charts and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

The film is followed by Rocky IV, released on November 27, 1985.

Plot[edit]

In the five years since winning the world heavyweight title, Rocky has had a string of ten successful title defenses and has seen his fame, wealth and celebrity increase. While unveiling a statue of himself at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rocky is publicly challenged by James "Clubber" Lang (Mr. T), a ferocious new boxer rapidly climbing the ranks. Lang accuses Rocky of selective matchmaking by intentionally accepting challenges from lesser opponents. Lang also proceeds to question Rocky's manhood to his wife Adrian (Talia Shire) further enraging him and his challenge is vocally accepted.

Rocky's trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith) initially wants no part of it and refuses to train him for the title defense. After Rocky confronts him demanding to know why, Mickey tells him that Lang was correct and that all of his title defenses were fought against handpicked opponents. Mickey tells Rocky that the beatings he took from Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) in their two matches should have killed him, and that he wanted to keep Rocky from having to go through that again. Mickey also tells Rocky that if he fights Lang, he would "kill (him) to death inside of three rounds" because Lang is younger, stronger, and hungrier than Rocky. Knowing this, Rocky now begins to question his whole title reign and Mickey agrees to train Rocky for the fight, which Rocky declares will be his last.

Both fighters go in different directions in regards to their training for the fight. Lang works out alone in a spartan setting with very little equipment. Rocky, on the other hand, rents out a hotel ballroom and opens his training camp to the public with dozens of distractions that frustrate Mickey.

Lang and Rocky meet at Philadelphia's Spectrum. During a melee before the fight, Mickey is shoved out of the way by Lang and suffers a heart attack. Rocky decides to call off the fight, but Mickey refuses and implores the champion to fight and get the victory.

As the fight begins, Rocky comes out aggressively and tries to knock out the challenger early. Lang, however, is unfazed by the early assault and quickly takes control of the fight. By the end of the first round Rocky is battered and bloody, and calls for Mickey. The condition of his trainer continues to distract him into the second round, where Lang finishes Rocky off with a left hook and knocks him out to win the title.

The defeated champion heads back to his dressing room, where Mickey has taken a turn for the worse. Rocky tells Mickey that the fight ended by knockout in the second round, but does not say he lost. Rocky tries to convince Mickey there is more to do, but Mickey simply says "I love ya, kid" and dies in Rocky's arms.

After this Rocky goes into a deep depression fueled by Mickey's death and his anger over it. One night, as Rocky stops into Mickey's now-shuttered gym, he is confronted by none other than Apollo Creed, who tells him that Rocky has lost his edge and needs to get it back.

In order to do this, Apollo offers to train Rocky for a rematch with Lang. Rocky agrees and he, along with Adrian and Paulie, follows Apollo to Los Angeles. Apollo's plan is to take Rocky back to the basics, from putting him and his family up in a welfare hotel to returning to his old gym where he hooks Rocky up with Duke, Apollo's former trainer.

Despite Apollo's best efforts at getting Rocky back into fighting shape, Rocky is still distraught over everything that has happened since Mickey told him the truth about his title reign. Adrian is finally able to talk Rocky out of his funk and convince him to get back on track, and Rocky develops into a completely different fighter than he was before by trading in his power game for a quick hitting attack.

The rematch is held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. At the start of the fight, Rocky sprints from his corner, fighting with a level of skill and spirit that no one, including Lang, expected. As a result, Rocky completely dominates the first round, demonstrating his new-found speed. After the bell, Lang is in a fit of rage over what has just happened and has to be restrained by his trainers. In the second round, Rocky starts as he did in the first, however, once Lang found his opening, he gained the upper hand; from here he dominated Rocky, knocking him down twice - with Rocky seemingly defeated after the second knock-down. Getting up from the second KD, Rocky now adopts an entirely different strategy that bewilders Apollo (and Lang) by intentionally taking a beating from Lang whilst taunting him for being unable to knock him out, even teasing him that his punches do not hurt. The round ends with a verbal altercation between Lang and Rocky and Lang is for the first time in the film seen to back away when he dismisses Rocky as "a fool" - Rocky is nevertheless chastised by Apollo for his "heroic" performance.

In the third round, Lang (who is used to winning fights swiftly with knockouts in the early rounds, similar to Mike Tyson who was still a few years away at the time) becomes increasingly angry and quickly exhausts his energy trying to finish Rocky off with repeated knockout blows, most of which miss the newly-agile Rocky entirely. Rocky taunts the champion in order to psych him out and the aggressive Lang is infuriated. He attacks even harder walking right into Rocky's trap. The tide turns and Rocky is able to overpower the winded and outboxed Lang, landing blow after blow and dodging attempted punches before knocking him out and re-gaining the heavyweight championship of the world.

Afterwards, Rocky fulfills Apollo's vague "big favor": a private rematch with him. The film concludes with both of the fighters throwing their first punch simultaneously, but this time, they fight in the spirit of friendly competition rather than as fierce rivals. It is left up to the imagination of the audience who wins.

Cast[edit]

In addition to the main cast several others had cameo appearances. Bill Baldwin and Stu Nahan returned as the fight commentators for the two Rocky-Lang fights. Veteran ring announcer Jimmy Lennon was the ring announcer for the first Lang fight, while boxing judge Marty Denkin was the referee. Lou Filippo returned for his third appearance as a referee during the second Lang fight. Dennis James and Jim Healy appeared as the commentators for the Rocky-Thunderlips match, while LeRoy Neiman was the guest ring announcer. Jim Hill was a TV announcer.

Other media[edit]

Novelization[edit]

A novelization by Robert E. Hoban was published by Ballantine Books in 1982.[1]

Soundtrack[edit]

Rocky III
Soundtrack album by Bill Conti
Released1982
Length32:00
LabelLiberty
Singles from Rocky III
  1. "Eye of the Tiger"
    Released: May 29, 1982
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic1.5/5 stars[2]
  1. "Eye of the Tiger" (by Survivor) – 3:53
  2. "Take You Back (Tough Gym)" – 1:48
  3. "Pushin'" – 3:10
  4. "Decision" – 3:20
  5. "Mickey" – 4:42
  6. "Take You Back" – 3:37
  7. "Reflections" – 2:05
  8. "Gonna Fly Now" – 2:52
  9. "Adrian" – 1:42
  10. "Conquest" – 4:40

The version of "Eye of the Tiger" that appears in the film is actually a demo—the "finished" version is what appears on the soundtrack. Also missing from the soundtrack is the instrumental version of the song played when Rocky is training in Apollo's old gym.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1982)Peak
position
German Albums (Media Control)[3]36
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[4]5
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[5]9
US Billboard 200[6]15

Production[edit]

In preparation for film, Stallone claims to have got his body fat percentage down to his all time low of 2.8% and weighed 155 lbs. He stated that he ate only ten egg whites and a piece of toast a day, having a fruit every third day. His training consisted on a two mile jog in the morning followed by a two hour weight training, a nap during the afternoon followed by 18 rounds of sparring, another weight training and finishing the day with a swim.[7]

Bronze statue[edit]

A bronze statue of Rocky, called "ROCKY", was commissioned by Sylvester Stallone and created by A. Thomas Schomberg in 1981. Three statues were created, and one was placed on the top of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the filming of Rocky III. After filming was complete, a furious debate erupted in Philadelphia between the Art Museum and the City's Art Commission over the meaning of "art". Claiming the statue was not "art" but rather a "movie prop" the city considered various alternative locations and settled upon the front of the Spectrum in South Philadelphia. It was later returned to the Art Museum where it was used in the filming of Rocky V, as well as Mannequin and Philadelphia. Afterward, it was again moved to the front of the Spectrum. The statue was returned to the museum's steps on September 8, 2006.

In Rocky Balboa, when Rocky told Paulie that he is going to make a comeback, Paulie suggested "you mad because they took down your statue?" which Rocky denied.

The third of the three statues was listed on eBay in early 2005, with a starting bid of $5 million. It was being auctioned to raise funds for the International Institute for Sport and Olympic History. It failed to sell and was listed again for $3 million; after receiving only one bid, which turned out to be fraudulent, it has been re-listed several times for $1 million.[8] The statues weigh 800 pounds each and stand about 8'6" tall.

Reaction[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Rocky III received a mixed to positive reception from critics and fans alike. The film holds a 60% "Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.[9] The film was nominated for a Razzie Awards for Worst New Star for Mr. T.[10]

Box office[edit]

Rocky III was an enormous box office success and surpassed the gross of its predecessor.[11] Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel attributed the film's success to the positive reaction from critics and audiences towards Rocky II and the production team's "quality control" of that film. Siskel stated "if you want a hugely successful series, then make sure that the second one is a winner".[12] The film grossed $16,015,408 in its opening weekend[13] and earned $125,049,125 during its North American theatrical run,[14] becoming the fourth highest grossing film of 1982;[15] its worldwide box-office earnings stand at around $270 million.[16]

Accolades[edit]

Rocky III was nominated for both the Award of the Japanese Academy for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Motion Picture at the Image Awards. The film's theme song Eye of the Tiger was nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards, the BAFTA Film Awards and the Golden Globes.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.worldcat.org/title/rocky-iii/oclc/8194770
  2. ^ Alter, Ethan. Rocky III - Bill Conti. Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Accessed on August 9, 2013.
  3. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline". Musicline.de. Media Control. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  4. ^ "SOUNDTRACK / BILL CONTI – Rocky III". Norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  5. ^ "SOUNDTRACK / BILL CONTI – Rocky III". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  6. ^ Rocky III - Bill Conti - Awards. Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Accessed on August 9, 2013.
  7. ^ Muscle & Fitness, Sept, 2004 by Michael Berg
  8. ^ International Institute for Sport and Olympic History - A Non-profit, Educational Corporation under 501c3, IISOH
  9. ^ "Rocky III Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  10. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0. 
  11. ^ "Box Office History for Rocky Movies". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved January 3, 2012. 
  12. ^ Siskel & Ebert - At the Movies: The Secret of Star Wars on YouTube. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  13. ^ "Box Office and Business Information for Rocky III". IMDb.com. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Box Office Information for Rocky III". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  15. ^ "1982 Domestic Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  16. ^ Scott, Vernon (November 12, 1982). "Stallone found new life in new film". The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Rocky III: Award Wins and Nominations". IMDb.com. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 

External links[edit]