Academy Awards 1956 -
Best Art Direction - Set Decoration (b&w)
Academy Awards 1956 -
Best Cinematography: Joseph Ruttenberg
Description by OLDIES.com:
"World's Leading Boxers Train Here Daily" says a sign outside Stillman's Gym. Thomas Rocco Barbella isn't a boxer. He's just a scrappy, desperate youth who needs dough. So he enters the gym, give himself the made-up name of Rocky Graziano, signs on to spar for $10... and flattens a top light-heavyweight. The name sticks. so does the impact of this inspiring tale about Graziano's rise from poverty and rage to the middleweight title. In his second film, Paul Newman plays the ring king, preparing for the role in part by meeting with Graziano to study his speech and ways. Robert Wise who earlier captured the fight game in The Set-Up, directs this double Academy Award winner with K.O. force. Unbilled Steve McQueen and Robert Loggia add to the film's many pleasures. Pull up a ringside seat.
Includes commentary by Paul Newman, Robert Loggia, Robert Wise, Martin Scorsese and Richard Schickel, and original theatrical trailer.
This adaptation of boxer Rocky Graziano's autobiography chronicles the middleweight champion's life from his underprivileged, extremely difficult childhood through his juvenile delinquency and his ultimate climb to the top of his profession, achieved with courage and dignity. Paul Newman made his mark with this film, uncannily portraying Graziano. Having grown up under the psychological and physical abuse of his father (Harold J. Stone)--whose own dreams of becoming a champion boxer were drowned in alcohol--Rocky finds himself going from reform school to the army to prison, where he meets Johnny Hyland (Judson Pratt), the prison fitness instructor. Hyland sees Rocky's potential as an athlete and urges him to channel his violent energy in a better direction. Released from prison and still behaving like a thug, the boxer hooks up with small-time manager Irving Cohen (Everett Sloane). It's when Rocky meets Norma (Pier Angeli) that things finally begin to change for him. The scenes of Rocky's early life are filmed with frenetic energy, edited into strong, fast-paced vignettes with excellent dialogue, a style director Robert Wise repeated two years later with the biographical I WANT TO LIVE! Look for Steve McQueen making his first film appearance, as Fidel.
The rise of boxer Rocky Graziano from his childhood in New York to his boxing successes is featured in this dramatization.