Action drama ninja John G Avildsen (of The Karate Kid fame) gives Sylvester Stallone’s amazing script the grit and detail it deserves, creating a sports movie classic for the ages. Stallone fought hard to play the lead in his underdog story of Rocky Balboa (the studio wanted Robert Redford. What?), a boxer from Philly who gets a shot at the title when heavyweight champ Apollo Creed’s match falls through and he selects the Italian Stallion to face him in the ring. While the film is truly an indispensible addition to the boxing subgenre, Rocky is a classic drama in every way; well developed and well acted characters (from the astounding Burt Young to the gravelly Burgess Meredith to the heart breaking Talia Shire), classic story perfectly updated to fit the times, and that incalculable amount of magic that seems to permeate the entire film. A story of hope, perseverance and the healing power of love and companionship make this a film for everyone, not just sports fiends with a pugilism fetish.