Fathom, December 2013
It wouldn’t be a Rocky movie without an epic montage, a good and bloody fight, oh and some dialogue, too. There are, in fact, only a few basic narrative elements that make up the formula for all six Rocky films. Using empirical data collection (i.e. watching the six movies over six days straight), Rocky Morphology analyzes the Rocky series in order to identify its key narrative elements.
It’s interesting to see the battle between dialogue, montage and fighting throughout each film. Dialogue beats out training and fighting in the first two Rocky films, but fighting and montage occupy the most time in Rocky III and Rocky IV. Rocky V favors dialogue over fighting — undisputedly slowing its pace next to the previous films. In the final round, Rocky sticks with dialogue over fighting but — “it ain’t over ‘till it’s over” — Rocky delivers one last montage and fight scene to close out the series and complete the Rocky Morphology.
But wait, it still ain’t over. This Christmas Sylvester Stallone will be starring in Grudge Match, and Rocky on Broadway opens February 2014.
This piece was inspired in part by Morphology of the Folktale by Vladimir Propp. Propp was a Soviet formalist scholar who analyzed the basic plot components of Russian folk tales to identify their simplest narrative elements. By reducing each Rocky film to its most basic components, it was possible to visualize the narrative elements that string the entire series together.
Tap and drag any of the timelines or the images to scrub through the movies. Tap on the labels below the timelines to filter narrative elements. Tap again to see a different scene from the movie.
Q: Love the Rocky Morphology, but how did you determine what counted as training and what counts as montage? Rocky IV specifically. via @TheCredits
A: Rocky IV: Time-lapse + John Cafferty: Hearts on Fire = montage — bad Russian accents sans time manipulation = training