Rocky & Creed
Forty years ago a struggling actor, with only a handful of bit parts and supporting roles to his name, banged out a script about a struggling club fighter with only a few minor bouts, beginning what is arguably the longest pairing of actor and character in film history. Graduating from scrappy fighter/writer to a newly minted superstar, Stallone took the directing reins for Rocky II, and the parallel existences of filmmaker and character deepened. By Rocky III, a side-show element had snuck into Stallone’s career and Rocky was fighting wrestlers. By 1985, Rambo: First Blood Part II, one mere opponent would no longer do, Rocky IV has the Stallion take on a whole country, and Stallone turning the general public on to Hugo Boss, Lamborghinis and house-boy robots, all presumedly not unknown in his personal life.
A few years and a few duds later, Mickey/Avildsen returned for Rocky V and it was time to ring the bell: Stallone climbs out of the ring not so much bruised and battered, but an afterthought. Sixteen years later, Rocky Balboa, the comeback we never expected to see, begins to wipe the historical slate clean. Maybe, all along, the inescapable cultural phenomenon and staggeringly misguided political tool was actually… good?
As we present Rocky Balboa in our A to Z series, we celebrate the underdog champ of 1976, and the newest title holder from 2015, Creed - Ryan Coogler’s own bid for cinematic immortality, and by the looks of it thus far, a filmmaking career that should find it’s own unique path to greatness.