Rocky Graziano is nothing but trouble for his family and the community, and works his way into several prisons and work camps. His future becomes brighter when he realizes (with the help of a few mentors) that he has good potential to fight professionally and legally. He straightens up his life, gets married, has a child, and eventually completely turns over a new leaf and realizes what things are most important in his life. Starring Paul Newman.
Entertainment Value - B
Great movie, probably Stallone's inspiration behind Rocky, very similar story line (shady character turns to fighting as a more legitimate profession and marries a shy girl who doesn't like to see him fighting). Paul Newman did a great job, though I like Stallone and Crowe a little better as boxers.
Moral Value - Failure to Communicate? - 5
Norma had a great role. I liked the part where she corrected his manager by telling him that he can't turn a blind eye to Rocky's past. Doing so was dishonest and in no way helping Rocky accept who he was so he could genuinely turn over a new leaf (not the leaf of some imagined self). By accepting his past, Norma was able to accept Rocky for who he really was and help him get to the point where he had nothing to worry about. (He states that he knows that he'll lose his title someday, but that doesn't bother him; what's most important is what he has right then - his family.)
The great moral dilemma comes when he's about to contact the evil..shady? replace "shady" above with "troublemaker"(need better word) Frankie Peppo to do some business with him. At a very opportune moment his friend, a soda jerk, tells him that when he orders a soda he has to pay for it, teaching him he needs to face up to the truth and take responsibility for what he's done and promised to do. He then runs into another friend who wants to start a flower shop (but really wants money to buy a gun and pay someone to hold someone up with the newly acquired gun for the money for a flower shop so he can run a bootlegging joint...). Rocky tries to talk some sense into him, but realizes he can't force the guy to change.
Rocky's reconciliation with his father was touching as well. Their frank discussion helped both realize the true state of their circumstances and allow them to finally see eye to eye. Rocky's father breaks down and says that all he wants for Rocky is to be the champ he, as a fighter/father, never was. Rocky says "Don't worry about a thing!" and the rest is history.
If you're looking for an original (in that it came out before Rocky), inspirational sports story, check this one out.