The 1976 movie Rocky is the story about a struggling semi-professional Italian-American boxer named Rocky Balboa (played by Sylvester Stallone), a native of Philadelphia who also works as a debt collector for a loan shark. In the midst of his struggles to make ends meet, Rocky is offered a rare opportunity for fame when he is picked to be the opponent of the reigning world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (played by Carl Weathers) after his supposed opponent is injured. Creed chose Balboa because he took a shine to his ring nickname, “The Italian Stallion” which he finds very catchy and appealing. The fight is scheduled on New Year’s Day 1976, the start of the celebration of the bicentennial of the independence of the United States.
Being the underdog and a “nobody,” Rocky does not expect to win against a world-class champion like Creed but what motivates him to fight is the goal he has set in “going the distance” and for him, this would be good enough. As he prepared for his fight, he started dating Adrian (played by Talia Shire), the sister of his friend Paulie Pennino, a shy pet shop clerk who would serve as his personal support system and voice of reason, providing him solace in the face of adversity and common sense. Rocky puts himself in a very intensive training regimen under the watchful eyes of his trainer Mickey Goldmill (played by Burgess Meredith) using old-school methods and a few unorthodox training methods and aids such as slaughtered meat which he uses for punching bags and intensive workouts in the gym and road work which takes him all over Philadelphia. His final training culminates with him running on top of the steps leading to the Philadelphia Museum of Art as he prepares for the most important fight of his life.
During the fight, Creed was surprised that this “nobody” fighter could hold his own. Despite employing all the tricks of the trade, Rocky could not be knocked out and Rocky showed he could go the distance and amazingly survived Creed’s onslaught and was able to hold his own and land strong punches against the champion, even knocking Creed down in the first round. Both fighters fought well but the fight went to creed in a split decision. Despite the loss Rocky did not care as he sought out Adrian and professed his love for her. They would eventually get married. This film would become a franchise and five more sequels would follow. It made Stallone famous and made his onscreen character an iconic figure in popular culture.
There are six dimensions of health – physical, psychological, spiritual, social, intellectual and environmental. In the case of Rocky, he has shown improvements in the first four dimensions of health. Being a boxer, he needs to stay in top physical shape at all times to maintain his competitive edge – this entails building a tough body capable of throwing strong punches and withstanding them when on the receiving end to reduce pain and the damage; it also entails having incredible stamina to take hits which can sap one’s energy and the ability to last all the rounds and not tire out as boxing also entails a lot of movement which can also drain energy. Rocky maintains his health even when he is not in training. Even though it is not seen often, it can be inferred he eats the right food regularly and does not smoke. He drinks but in moderation or does not drink at all when preparing for a fight (Hales, 2010, p. 5; Edlin & Golanty, 2010 p. 157).
Psychologically, and spiritually are intertwined dimensions. Rocky is often seen as a highly motivated fighter who is very focused and determined from training to the moment he steps into the ring. He displays the right kind of attitude. He is very intense and serious during training but does manage to find time to be warm and mellow to his loved ones. Despite lacking in education, he is wise enough to know there is a proper place where to exhibit one’s attitude and manners. Psychologically, Rocky does not repress his emotions and finds an outlet to channel it out rather than keep it to himself lest he becomes embittered. Before fights, Rocky habitually prays to God. Even though he would become a champion, he knows who is instrumental in making him one and makes it a point to give credit where it is due, He knows his purpose in life and has come to terms with it and does not try to pretend to be something he is not. Socially, Rocky is capable of effectively interacting with others, especially to those close to him, in this case Adrian, Paulie and Mickey. But later, it would include the people of Philadelphia who would lend their moral support to him and it would show where they would greet and cheer him on as he trains for his fights, a sign he is able to connect with them which comes easy for Rocky because he is one of them (Hales, 2010 p. 6).
In conclusion, Rocky Balboa shows how one can maintain good health although one does not need to practice it like him because he is a boxer and his health regimen differs from the average person, particularly in the physical aspect yet there are a lot one can pick up, especially in the other dimensions of health. The film does not show anything wrong with Rocky’s training although it does show he employs unorthodox training methods such as hammering metal in a junkyard which could be hazardous to his health, especially jogging in smog-filled parts of the city and downing raw eggs for breakfast (Moore, 2010). Yet, it is understandable Rocky has to work with whatever he has on hand at his disposal. For him, these “hitches” hardly matter as he is very focused on his goal – to win.
Avildsen, J. (Director). (1976). Rocky [Motion Picture].
Edlin, G., & Golanty, E. (2010). Health and Wellness. Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Hales, D. (2010). An Invitation to Health. Santa Barbara, California: Cengage Learning.
Moore, R. (2010). Running to Burn Fat – Rocky Balboa Was Right. Retrieved July 23, 2010, from http://ezinearticles.com/?Running-to-Burn-Fat—Rocky-Balboa-Was-Right&id=370188.