With the holidays upon us it is time to start pulling out your favorite classic movies that bring forth the spirit of the season. There are so many classic tales that sum up the overall feelings of this wonderful time of year! Some of these classics dance gingerly around the cozy side of life and pull forward all of the pleasant memories of the holidays past that you have tucked away. Others show a different side of this scenario, a "real-life" side, which in its own way fosters an overall emotional memory. No matter what the case may be we all have our "go-to" list that we rely on when it comes to classic movies. Whether it be a certain scene or the overall mood of the movie, something brings us back year after year and we welcome the viewing party every year. A Feeling like when it's snowing on Christmas Eve and "It's a Wonderful Life" is glowing in black and white on our TV frames. These moments are forever etched in our memories...these classic tales will forever be a part of who we are.
~But it's not always family fun and holiday cheer in some of these classics. And it doesn't necessarily have to be a "holiday" movie to garner the feeling of a "holiday classic" either. There are certain scenes from some "in general" classics that really exemplify and postulate this feeling and these classics have entered our holiday "go to" lists because of the feelings that these scenes engender. A great example of a timeless classic that has made its way onto people's "holiday" lists is the original installment of ROCKY, from 1976. ROCKY?? A Holiday Classic?? The holidays are usually a time to look inside ourselves and reflect on the past year and review all that has been good and bad in our daily lives. ROCKY tells the story of a "rags to riches", overall underdog of life who strives to pull his life from the rubble and cross the tracks in life to better living. ROCKY is way beyond a "boxing" movie for it explores the addle state of human depravity and documents the struggles of being down and out...on so many levels. Lace a love story into this brewing premise and we are en route towards a pretty emotional ride. So what does this have to do with Jimmy Stewart yelling "Merry Christmas" and all of the other holiday classics??
~Well, as stated earlier, the holidays are a time of self-reflect and awakening. We reach inside ourselves and put it all out on the table in front of us for close inspection. If you have seen the original ROCKY film more than once, since 1976, you fully understand why we say it is way beyond a boxing flick. Sure, if you are a fan of boxing you will most definitely get your fill of pugilist programming but the emotions are clearly on display throughout the film. There are several different stories going on as soon as the opening credits begin...some are a bit hidden while others ride the coattails. Also, with ROCKY, it's not just the storyline, script and amazing cast that deliver these overall feelings...the film reached a new emotional level via the power of atmosphere. Maybe it is because this film was shot in a record 28 days on a very VERY tight budget but it certainly has the "real-life" atmosphere throughout. Right down to the overhead trains going by (which the production team had to time perfectly with the camera-men via walkie-talkies). It is this overall raw quality of the actual filming that really drives home the up close and personal feel. You actually feel like you are in the room with the actors having these conversations. That is what atmosphere can do to a movie and this helps create a lasting impression. Of course you can point to some of the more "holiday" themed movies when creating your "holiday classics" list but the original ROCKY film has certainly made it to the top of many lists. Maybe it is the emotions throughout, the love story or the atmosphere...OR...maybe it is just this classic scene with Paulie and Adrian?? You be the judge!!
~And what about ROCKY IV!! Rocky decides to avenge Apollo's death by fighting Drago himself and Drago's camp agrees to an unsanctioned 15-round fight in the Soviet Union on Christmas Day, an arrangement meant to protect Drago from the threats of violence he has been receiving in America. When the bout comes Rocky takes down Drago in the last round, winning by knockout... Rocky is seen bruised, battered and bloody as he gives a victory speech, acknowledging how the local crowd's hatred of him turned to respect. He compares it to the strangled relations between Soviets and Americans. Rocky states, "If I can change, and you can change, then everybody can change!" The Soviet General Secretary stands and sincerely applauds Rocky. Rocky ends his speech by wishing his son a Merry Christmas, and raises his arms into the air in victory as the crowd applauds on Christmas Day. Seeeeeeeeeeee...it is a Holiday movie! Well, sort of!
"...You want the bird??? Go in the alley and eat the bird!"