Hollywood had a complete makeover in the 1970’s. There was a transition in the storytelling process, which had become more risqué. Studio executive Michael Medavoy wrote, “The seventies auteurs broke down the traditional approach to film narrative, told their stories from the anti-hero’s perspective, and delved into darker themes” (Landis*). There were not only economic reasons for leaving the Hollywood tradition of expensive movies with their exuberant sets and costumes, but there was also a generational difference between the new moviemakers of the seventies and the recent retirees of the studio era. Rocky (1976) was filmed in 28 days on a $1 million budge. Sylvester Stallone wrote and starred in this sports drama, which got 10 Oscar nominations in 1977 and won 3, including best picture.
Rocky inspired a nation with its American success story of an “everyman” who triumphs against all odds. Costume Supervisor Joanne Hutchinson and Costumer Robert Cambel were responsible for the iconic sweats workout look, inspiring die-hard fans everywhere to dress like the Philadelphia bred Rocky Balboa “The Italian Stallion” who fought for love, glory and self-respect. My husband credits this movie for his almost daily go-to outfit of grey hoodies and high top Chuck Taylor’s.
The other amazing accomplishments of Rocky film series are the Oscar nominated songs “Rocky Theme, Gonna Fly Now” (written by Bill Conti) and Rocky III’s “Eye of the Tiger” (written by Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan from Survivor, who won the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song). The success of the film can also be attributed to its iconic soundtrack.
*Landis, D. N. (2007) Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design, New York: HarperCollins.
Rocky (1976) Chartoff-Winkler Productions | Costume Supervisor, Joanne Hutchinson and Costumer, Robert Cambel | Director, John G. Avildsen.
© 2011 – 2015, Louise Junker.