The original and best - it influenced an entire genre of sport films. Pretty realistic compared to the other films and most of other sport films too. It has lost some of its "punches" (pun intended!) due to it's many boxing film rivals, sequels and other imitations and parodies, but it is hard not to say this film still shines today.
A gritty realisation of 70's urban America, like Friends of Eddie Coyle or Mean Streets, but lighter. Over time, corny marketing (and the 80's) changed Rocky Balboa into a parody of himself, yelling 'Adrian' to appease the crowds, and jogging with kids, dogs, UFO's... But before all that, it's in this raw story of a man fighting against the odds that he lives on as a Hero.
3-4. I'm pleasantly surprised that this is actually a slice-of-life film about being a loser in the grand scheme of things, as opposed to being a typical sports movie. Since Stallone wrote the movie, there are definitely bits of dialogue that come off clunky, but a little verbal clunkiness also feels real to the atmosphere of Philly. He also earns points for giving almost all the main characters individual arcs.
What an odd, sweet, surprising little movie this is. It's not really a boxing movie; it's a slice-of-life about a simple guy who happens to box a guy at the end. Most of the film we just follow Rocky around his days as he sees friends, walks the neighborhood, chats up a girl, talks to his boss. Normal stuff from a normal guy (until it's not). It should be boring but somehow it's quite endearing. I give it a solid B.