Interesting Formal Features In Rocky


Rocky (1976)

Rocky contains several interesting formal features which attribute to the overall films’ communication of location, mainly an economically deprived Philadelphia. One scene that produces a sense of location is when Rocky approaches the “Lucky Seven Tavern”. The screen composition is interesting with the bar on the right and nothing on the left we are given several facts about Rocky and the people who live in this area of Philadelphia. The darkness on the left is pitch black, there are no stars, nothing to amaze or inspire. The lack of an alternative to the bar is also interesting because Rocky, and several bums on the floor, are offered either alcohol or pure darkness. The scene composition becomes a symbol of the darkness and uninspiring life of the protagonist Rocky, it also indicates that there is, at this time, nothing on the horizon to dream for. The character that represents this dreamless alcoholic life is Rocky’s friend Paulie Pennino. Another interesting formal feature is Rocky’s costume. He wears a dark leather jacket that reflects light slightly. As he walks down the dark road his jacket matches the tarmac exactly, producing an image which communicates that Rocky is at one with his surroundings; including its economic and social depression. Another indication of the economic situation of Rocky’s surrounding is the graphic match between the browns of the brick houses and the brown of the loan sharks’ car. The directing in Rocky is very sharp in creating both the sense of economic deprivation in Philadelphia but also in ensuring that Rocky is communicated as someone borne out of this deprivation.