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The Ultimate Stallone ReaderSylvester Stallone as Star, Icon, Auteur$
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Chris Holmlund

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169813

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169813.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 13 June 2021

I, of the Tiger

I, of the Tiger

Self and Self-Obsession in the Rocky Series

(p.75) I, of the Tiger
The Ultimate Stallone Reader

Eric Lichtenfeld

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines Sylvester Stallone's Rocky franchise, underlining how all six films are underpinned by the title character's quest for recognition, validation, and self. The series often surrounds Rocky with symbolic representations as shaming devices. In Rocky, the triumphant training sequence is quickly followed by his soulful, even mournful, assessment of his chances and his station. Stallone similarly exploits the disconnection between Rocky and his image in Rocky II. Throughout the series, Stallone martyrs Rocky not only in battle, but also in his preparations for it. Images of training satisfy the expository need to show Rocky building his muscles. Moreover, they suggest that he is preparing his heart, purifying himself through pain. Indeed, Rocky IV concludes by embodying martyrdom and the messianic — two of the franchise's other thematic mainstays, and lenses through which Stallone continually views and magnifies Rocky's self.

Keywords:   Rocky series, Rocky, self, image, Rocky II, Rocky IV, martyrdom, messianic

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