The scene I chose to analyze was the training scene from Rocky 3 because it is my favorite out of the Rocky series.

Camera Work:

I love how the scene opens up with the camera focused on their reflection running on the wet sand. It was a nice touch that highlighted that they were at the beach, taking our focus away from them momentarily to focus on the setting and notice how no one else was around because of how early in the morning it must have been. This emphasized the hard work Rocky was putting in to succeed.

Throughout the scene, there aren’t many transitions or shots with the camera zooming in or out. There also weren’t that many unique angles used either. I believe this was to keep the viewer focused on the movements of Rocky, emphasizing his exertion and improvement as the scene progresses.

There are however a few instances of different angles and of the camera zooming in and out that I would like to take note of. At about the thirty second mark, you can see that the camera is between the ropes of the ring, making it feel like you are in the ring with them. Also, at the one minute mark, Rocky and Apollo are practicing proper movements, or “dancing” in the ring, and the camera zooms in from a full body shot to focusing on Rocky’s torso. This was to show Rocky’s deep focus on what he’s doing.

Throughout the video, most of the shots of Rocky and Apollo running are shown from the front. The two places where they are shown running from the side are at the two minute mark and at the two minutes and forty-five second mark. The first one shows Apollo ahead of Rocky, and it looks to be another early morning run. Apollo is just as much in shape as Rocky, and he is taller with longer legs, making it much harder for Rocky to beat him in a race. The next clip is the same day because they are both wearing the exact same outfits, but the sun has risen, making it later in the morning. This time, however, Rocky pulls ahead of Apollo, which showing them running side by side highlighted. The fact that this was the same day, probably hours apart, shows improvement and progress. Rocky beating Apollo also foreshadows Rocky beating his opponent in the ring, who he’s been doing all this training for, Clubber Lang.

Audio:

The song used for this scene is Gonna Fly Now by Bill Conti, which has become one of the most famous soundtracks from a movie. It was the perfect song for this scene; I cannot think of any other song that could have evoked the same raw emotions of power, will, and determination that this track was able to do.

This track is so unique because it isn’t guitar-and-lyrical driven, like Eye Of The Tiger, and it also isn’t a hardcore rap song like Phenomenal from the movie Southpaw.

The only answer I could come up with was this: it builds. This song doesn’t need guitar riffs or Eminem aggressively spitting bars because the song builds up momentum as it plays out. The instruments used are probably what you would find in a jazz band, but somehow the people playing them create a melody that makes you immediately want to drop down and start doing push-ups. The voices in the background singing “Gonna fly now” and “Getting strong now” also help.

I love the song in this scene in Rocky 3 because you have the sound effects of Rocky working out and being trained along with the inspiring track. Sounds like jumping rope, punching a speed back, and Apollo giving orders and instruction all add to the stimulating effects of this clip.

Overall:

One thing I noticed that also added to the perfection of this scene was the alignment of certain scenes with the loudest/most upbeat parts of the song. The parts of the scene when the music gets high and most encouraging are the shots where we see Rocky training the hardest and exerting himself the most. At about the forty-eight second mark the music picks up for the first time and we see Rocky punching and running hard. Then at the minute and forty-eight second mark Rocky’s agility and strength are showcased. And of course, at the very end when Rocky beats Apollo in the race is when the music is at its highest.