I seem to be having a bit of a Stallone week: the Rocky movies have been on Sky Movies (again!), a few days ago I blogged about Rambo, I’ve now seen several times an advert for bread on TV starring the man himself and, finally, a close friend reminded me of some great motivational speeches from the movie Rocky Balboa (2006), the sixth and last movie in the momentous Rocky saga which began 30 years ago with the Academy Award winning Rocky (1976).
Rocky, as we all now know, is a Philadelphian who takes this miraculous one-in-a-million title shot. As a result he moves from being this down-and-out bum to being the heavyweight champ who ends up fighting wars in the ring with the likes of: Apollo Creed (twice), Clubber Lang (twice), Ivan Drago, Tommy Gunn, and finally Mason Dixon.
Rocky is not only an underdog story, but it’s also a love story. Rocky is not only a fighter, but he’s also a husband, a father, a patriot, and in Rocky IV (1985) he seems to single-handedly have brought about the demise of Communism. As one critic puts it, when talking about the first Rocky movie, “Rocky may have had a larger impact on pop culture than any other film, inspiring references in everything from movies to television, music to video games.”
Anyway, back to the speeches…there are three great speeches from the movie Rocky Balboa…
The first is Rocky talking to his brother in law Paulie about how there is a ‘beast’ still deep inside him that he needs to deal with, ‘stuff in the basement’ as he puts it. The basement/beast is mentioned on four separate occasions in the movie, all of which are transcribed below.
The second is a rousing speech he gives to the boxing commission about every person’s right to happiness.
The third is a very emotional speech he gives to his son, a kid we first saw as a baby in Rocky II in 1979, and we’ve since seen him grow up in the next four Rocky movies to be an adult who is somewhat embarrassed by his father.
Anyways, enough from me and more from the man himself. Enjoy!
Rocky: …I don’t know. There’s still some stuff in the basement.
Paulie: What basement?
Rocky: [Points to his chest] In here.
Paulie: Tell me about the stuff.
Rocky: What about it?
Paulie: Tell me about the stuff inside. Is it angry?
Paulie: Are you mad because Adrian left you?
Rocky: [Upset] She didn’t leave, Paulie. She died.
Paulie: [Apologetic] Okay. Okay, okay, okay.
Rocky: [Crying] You know, sometimes it’s hard to breathe. You know, I feel, like, this beast inside me.
Paulie: It’s okay, Rocko. Please, it’s okay.
Rocky: Is it okay? I just never knew it was supposed to be this hard. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, Paulie. You know, it…So you wanna come by and help me train?
Paulie: I got a job here.
Rocky: I understand.
Paulie: Remember you said if you stay one place long enough…you become that place? Rocko, this is all I got.
Rocky: I understand, Paulie. I do. But if you get time and come down and see me train, I’d appreciate it.
Paulie: Of course, Rocko.
Rocky: Bye, Paulie.
Paulie: Goodbye, Rocko. Take care, Rocko.
Paulie: It takes guts climbing back in that ring, knowing you’re gonna take a beating. You’re gonna do all right, Rocko.
Rocky: How do you know that?
Paulie: The stuff in the basement.
Rocky: Thanks, Paulie.
[A few moments before the fight begins]
Paulie: Rock, I gotta talk to you. Look, I know you got a lot of stuff you gotta get out of your system. Tonight you do it. Right? Get rid of the damn beast…let it be done, once and for all. Please, I love you.
[Just after the fight has finished]
Rocky: Hey, Paulie. That beast is gone now. The beast is out.
Board: …we have to deny your request for a license at this time.
Rocky: [Starts to walk out, turns back] Yo, don’t I got some rights?
Board: What rights do you THINK you’re referring to?
Rocky: Rights, like in that official paper that they wrote down the street?
Board: That’s the Bill of Rights.
Rocky: Yeah, yeah, the Bill of Rights. Don’t it say something about going after what makes you happy?
Board: No, that’s “the pursuit of happiness.” But what’s your point?
Rocky: My point is I’m pursuing something, and nobody looks too happy about it.
Board: But we’re just looking out for YOUR interests.
Rocky: I appreciate that, but maybe you’re looking out for your interests just a little bit more. I mean you shouldn’t be asking people to come down here and pay the freight on something, they pay it, it still ain’t good enough. I mean you think that’s right? I mean maybe you’re doing your job, but why you gotta stop me from doing mine? Because if you’re willing to go through all the battling you gotta go through to get where you want to get, who’s got the right to stop you? I mean maybe some of you guys got something you never finished, something you really wanna do, something you never said to somebody, something! And you’re told no, even after you pay your dues. Who’s got the right to tell you that? Who? Nobody! It’s your right to listen to your gut. It ain’t nobody’s right to say no after you earn the right to be what you wanna be or do what you wanna do! You know, the older I get, the more things I gotta leave behind. That’s life. The only thing I’m asking you guys to leave on the table is what’s right.
Rocky: You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here. [Taps on the inside of his hand] I’d hold you up to say to your mother, “this kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody ever knew.” And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you, every day was like a privilege. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow [referring to himself]. Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! I’m always gonna love you no matter what, no matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain’t gonna have a life. Don’t forget to visit your mother [in the grave yard].