The Next Reel

Rocky IV

At the height of the Cold War, it seems fitting that Sylvester Stallone would find incredible success in his Rocky franchise by weaving a tale about his all-American boxer going up against a cold, almost-robotic Russian boxer. The film found tremendous success at the box office, becoming the highest grossing sports film ever, a record which it held for 24 years. But how well does it hold up today?

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Rocky III

How well does this hold up compared to the first two? Does Mr. T’s Clubber Lang work as the antagonist? Does Stallone deliver with the characters and story? Tune in to this week’s show to get these answers and more.

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Rocky II

Sylvester Stallone’s directorial debut, Paradise Alley, was a flop and the studio didn’t want to give him another shot when he said he wanted to direct Rocky II. Luckily, Rocky was such a success and the producers knew he was largely the man behind it, so they gave him another chance.

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Rocky

Sylvester Stallone pretty much embodies everything about the character Rocky Balboa that he created for the film Rocky. He’s someone who wanted to go the distance, and may not have won but proved that he had the determination and stamina to really persevere in the long haul. And what’s interesting about the first film in the Rocky franchise is that it’s more a 70s character study than it really is a boxing film.

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Romeo and Juliet

Is it better or worse casting actual teenagers to play the title roles? How well does Zeffirelli handle the Bard? What are we really looking for in adaptations of this story anyway? Tune in to this week’s show to find out these answers and more!

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Rachel, Rachel

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward had already been married for a decade before Newman decided to make his directorial debut with Woodward as his star in 1968’s _Rachel, Rachel_. The film was a small character piece that likely garnered box office and awards attention because of the caliber of those two people heading it up.

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Oliver!

When Carol Reed brought Lionel Bart’s musical stage adaptation of “Oliver!” to the big screen in 1968, the time was ripe for it. Audiences and critics loved it. The film won a bunch of Oscars. It made a bunch of money. But how well does it hold up 50 years later?

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The Lion In Winter

British royalty is full of fascinating tales of power, conspiracies, distrust, and greed. They make such great characters that actors relish the opportunities to play them, sometimes even playing the same character more than once. Peter O’Toole certainly jumped at the chance when he read the script for The Lion in Winter based on the play.

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The Producers (2005)

Adapting a non-musical into a Broadway musical into a film musical takes a lot of work, but Mel Brooks clearly had the gumption to do it, and was successful most of the way along. His Broadway adaptation of 1968’s The Producers was a massive hit with records that still haven’t been broken.

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The Producers (1968)

Mel Brooks got his start doing stand-up comedy and as a TV writer, but he finally got his chance to direct a feature film when he read his script The Producers to producer Sidney Glazier, who wanted to make it right away.

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