Reviewer's Rating 5 out of 5  
Rocky DVD (1976)

Popular things that critics like to say about "Rocky" include describing it as 'the second best boxing film ever made', and then wondering why it won the 1976 'Best Picture' Oscar. This new DVD release of the film should go some way to addressing both points.

As director John G Avildsen says of cinematographer James Crabe (in the tribute to him included on the DVD), "he wasn't afraid of shadows or the dark [...] he didn't over-saturate." This has meant "Rocky" has always looked lousy on VHS, with grain dancing all over washed-out colours. The DVD transfer reveals a beautiful film of gritty detail and subtle shades.

The all-new 5.1 sound mix does seem, at times, a little uninspired. Importantly though, moments like the main theme and the climactic fight are given a good run of the available speakers.

Interviews often reveal Stallone to be a far more intelligent actor than the media might have you believe. The conversation with him on the DVD is no exception, as he humorously discusses his circumstances when the film was made, the plot directions that "Rocky" was originally to have taken, and his love for the character.

John G Avildsen provides plenty of his thoughts in both an excellent commentary, and in a featurette where he also presents 8mm footage he shot of Sly and Carl Weathers rehearsing for the fight. It's fascinating stuff and again reveals the real blood and sweat that went into realising this movie.

Appropriately, the DVD also contains a tribute to Burgess Meredith. A character actor of considerable talents, the work he put into "Rocky" is analysed by Stallone who examines one scene in particular, which is for him the crystallisation of Meredith's talents.

Chapters: 25
Region: 2
Ratio: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Extra Features:

  • audio commentary with director John G Avildsen, producers Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff, and actors Talia Shire, Burt Young
  • video commentary by Sylvester Stallone
  • behind-the-scenes featurette with never-before-seen footage
  • Burgess Meredith tribute featurette
  • James Crabe (cinematographer) tribute featurette
  • two trailers for "Rocky", trailers for the sequels, advertising material, booklet
  • Scene selection, animated menus, multiple languages, subtitles

Read a review of the "Rocky V" DVD.

Read a review of the "Rocky II" DVD.

Read a review of the "Rocky III" DVD.

Read a review of the "Rocky IV" DVD.

End Credits

Director: John G Avildsen

Writer: Sylvester Stallone

Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Thayer David, Burgess Meredith

Genre: Drama

Length: 119 minutes

Original: 1976

DVD: 28 May 2001

Country: USA