The final boxing match between Rocky and Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) in “Rocky” is a marvel of cutting (earning Richard Halsey and Scott Conrad well-deserved Oscars for Best Film Editing). The bulk of the bout is depicted via montage. We only see three complete rounds: the first, second and fifteenth. But due to the ferociousness of the fight, and the operatic quality of Bill Conti’s score, we feel as though we’ve experienced every single second of it. It’s grueling stuff, and it set the template for every “Rocky” movie going forward (and numerous copycats).
When Creed is saved by the bell at the end of the fifteenth round, Rocky’s hero’s journey is complete: He only wanted to go the distance against the champ, to prove to everyone in the neighborhood who wrote him off that he’s not a bum, and he’s done it. All he needs now is to be with Adrian (Talia Shaire), the woman he loves. When she joins him in the ring, they profess their love for each other and embrace. Avildsen freezes on Stallone’s battered visage, and the audience’s heart is full.
It’s a perfect ending, but according to Adam K. Raymond’s 40th anniversary appreciation for Yahoo! Movies (which draws from the supplemental material on the 2014 “Heavyweight Edition” of the “Rocky” Blu-ray), John G. Avildsen and Sylvester Stallone initially had something quieter in mind. Per Raymond:
“The original conclusion had the crowd carrying Apollo out of the ring and chanting his name as Rocky and Adrian (Talia Shire) walked hand in hand to the parking lot — an image immortalized on the film’s poster. Long after the arena was emptied out, the decision was made to reshoot the ending with Rocky and Adrian embracing in the ring as Conti’s emotive score reaches its crescendo.”
/Film – ‘Slash Film: Why The Original Ending To Rocky Had To Be Completely Reshot’
Author: Jeremy Smith
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January 12, 2023