Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama 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 (Stallone), an uneducated, kind-hearted working class Italian-American and small-time club fighter who, while working as a debt collector for a loan shark in the slums of Philadelphia, gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship. The film also stars Talia Shire as Rocky’s love interest Adrian, Burt Young as Adrian’s brother Paulie, Burgess Meredith as Rocky’s trainer Mickey Goldmill, and Carl Weathers as reigning champion Apollo Creed.
Made on a budget of just under $1 million, Rocky proved to be a sleeper hit, earning $225 million in global box office receipts and becoming the highest-grossing film of 1976. The film was critically acclaimed and solidified Stallone’s career, beginning his rise to prominence as a major movie star. Among other accolades, it received ten Academy Award nominations, winning three, including Best Picture. In 2006, the Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”. Critics consider Rocky one of the greatest sports films ever made and the American Film Institute ranked it the second-best in the genre, after Raging Bull, in 2008.