a 1976 American film written by and starring Sylvester Stallone and directed by John G. Avildsen. It tells the rags to riches American Dream story of Rocky Balboa, an uneducated but good-hearted debt collector for a loan shark in Philadelphia. Balboa is also a club fighter who gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship when the scheduled contender breaks his hand. Also starring in Rocky are Talia Shire as Adrian, Thayer David as George Jergens the fight promoter, Burt Young as Adrian's brother Paulie, Burgess Meredith as Rocky's trainer Mickey Goldmill, and Carl Weathers as the champion, Apollo Creed.
The film, made for only $1.1 million and shot relatively quickly (28 days), was a sleeper hit; it made over US$117.2 million, the highest grossing film of 1976 in the US, and won three Oscars, including Best Picture. The film received many positive reviews and turned Stallone into a major star. It spawned five sequels: Rocky II, III, IV, V and Rocky Balboa.
"Gonna Fly Now", also known as "Theme from Rocky", is the theme song from the movie Rocky, composed by Bill Conti with lyrics by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, and performed by DeEtta Little (the sister of actor Cleavon Little) and Nelson Pigford. Released in 1976 with the movie Rocky, the song became part of American popular culture after main character Rocky Balboa completed his daily training regimen while the song played. The song finishes as Rocky completes his famous run up the "Rocky Steps" of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and raises his arms in a victory pose. The song is also often played at sporting events, especially at sporting events in the city of Philadelphia or featuring sports teams from there.
The song (whose lyrics have a total count of 30 words) was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in the 49th Academy Awards. The version of the song from the movie, performed by Conti with an orchestra, hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977, while a version by jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson (died in 2006) hit the top 30. Disco versions by Rhythm Heritage and Current were on the chart at the same time. Conti's single was certified gold by the RIAA. The American Film Institute placed it 58th on its AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs list.
In Rocky II, an alternate version of the song was used, with a children's choir singing the chorus. Rocky III included an updated disco influenced arrangement during the training montage on the beach. This recording is however missing from the soundtrack album, the sleeve notes of which say "All music on this album selected by Sylvester Stallone", who instead opted to reprise the original versions of "Gonna Fly Now" and "Reflections" from the first film and "Conquest" from the second installment. Thus the album fails to present the actual score recorded for Rocky III.
Rocky IV was scored by Vince DiCola who mainly introduced new themes of his own but "Gonna Fly Now" returned with its composer for later installments. In Rocky Balboa, a slightly alternate version of the song used more trumpets and different vocal tones. The soundtrack for that film also includes a vocal remix performed by Natalie Wilde.
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