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  • Writer's pictureRyan Nevin

Scene Review: Rocky Balboa - “Nobody hits as hard as life”

The Rocky films are films that mean a lot to me. They are films that my Mum loved, which, in turn, made me love them, due to growing up watching them over and over again. There are plenty of iconic scenes in Rocky, but the scene I am going to review today is from one of the later Rocky films - Rocky Balboa.

I’m not sure how many people enjoyed Rocky Balboa, but I was definitely a fan. Sure, it wasn’t as good as some of the original films, but it was a good take on the character, and I was glad to have the Italian Stallion back on the bigscreen.

Rocky Balboa is about the legendary boxer Rocky Balboa, played by Sylvester Stallone, who retired from boxing a long time ago and has settled down and is now running a restaurant named after his late wife Adrian. With Rocky’s legend status still living strong, he is called out for a fight by the current world champion Mason Dixon, as a sports show claimed that Rocky in his youth would be able to beat Mason without trying. This being ‘proved’ by a virtual simulation that old Rocky catches live on TV. After lots of contemplation, Rocky decides to step back in the ring one last time, with this obviously causing a lot of commotion.

This leads me to my favourite scene in the film. Rocky’s son Robert Balboa, played by Milo Ventimiglia, feels he has always lived in the shadow of his father, but is finally managing to get ahead in life and make his own name, when Rocky accepts this fight, thus serving to cast yet another shadow over his son. With Robert feeling like this, he goes to see his Dad at work, and explains this to him, only making Rocky react with one of the most inspiring speeches of all time, and one that has stuck with me growing up.

“Let me tell you something you already know.” Rocky says to his son. “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.” Straight away I am sucked into what Stallone is saying, as we have all been in a position where life is getting you down. Rocky continues to explain to his son by telling him “You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya 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!” These words are incredibly inspiring, and ones I have always turned to when life has got hard.

Rocky, nearing the end of his speech, tells Robert “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!” which again is something that has really stuck with me. The message being that you are in control of your own life, and that everyone has their challenges. If you get into the mode of blaming everyone else for your failures you aren’t going to get anywhere in life. What I also love about this part of the speech is the Rocky music score starts to creep in, the score which has been used throughout the series of films when things got emotional. This only added to the emotion for me, as it pulls from my memories of all the previous films, and the challenges Rocky has had to face. The exact song that is played is called “Alone In The Ring” by Bill Conti.

Rocky continues to tell his son after calming down that if Robert doesn’t start believing in himself, he isn’t going to have a life. This leaves the audience feeling exactly how Robert feels stood on that street, as his Dad walks past him and back into the restaurant.

I feel this Scene Review may have been a bit of a surprise in terms of the gravitas of the film, but for me it was only a matter of time before I wrote this. I recommend that when anyone is feeling as though they are struggling in life, that they listen to this speech.

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