SRP $39.95 1.85:1 DTS-HD Lossless 5.1 FOX/MGM

With the current release of "ROCKY BALBOA" getting generally excellent reviews, younger viewers and film lovers should return to the original "ROCKY" to see how it all began. FOX/MGM has released "ROCKY" on Blu-ray with a 1080p/MPEG-2 transfer with 1.85:1 aspect ratio intact.  While Sylvester Stallone has made some awful films over the past three decades, it's only fair to recall that he wrote and starred in this truly "great" drama from 1976. And, Stallone's struggles as a writer in bringing his script to the screen with himself attached as its star, is inspiring in its own right!  "ROCKY" is a great film in its simplicity and heart.  Stallone is entirely believable in the role he's created and Director John G. Avildsen has never come close to what he's achieved here in terms of skill, and this is the director of "SAVE THE TIGER"!  "ROCKY" broke a lot of boundaries when it was made. It's one of the first films to use a "Steadi-cam" during those scenes wherein Rocky's running through the streets and up the stairs, but, again, what makes it stand out most, is its heart and simple but well told story.  The cast is great. Talia Shire actually succeeds in not being annoying, and the same can be said of Burt Young! Now, that's impressive!!!

FOX/MGM has provided a fine transfer.  At first, the transfer is plagued with grain problems. However, after the opening fight sequence, the image is ubstantially improved. While "ROCKY" is never a "colorful" film, it was intentionally shot for a gritty style and those particular scenes in which colors appear anemic, correctly replicates its theatrical presentation. For the most part, the transfer is extremely well-polished and even slick looking.  Detail is excellent, although "ROCKY" never achieves the level of depth found on many superior looking FOX Blu-ray releases.

FOX has provided a DTS-HD Lossless 5.1 mix.  Unfortunately, those viewers who've been spoiled with great, aggressive sound mixes on dvd and Blu-ray, will find the mix here disappointing. Even with a remix of the monaural source, it's just not at all engulfing. Surrounds are only used to boost the terrific score from Bill Conti.  There is minor separation in the front soundstage, but this mix appears dated. Fidelity is excellent, but it's hard not to expect more.

No extras from the recent collector's edition dvd have been carried over.