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The History of Movie Training Montages

Recapping the best and worst training montages throughout film history.

Rocky

(1976) The best, quintessential training montage was this mid-70s gem featuring Sylvester Stallone in his debut role as boxer Rocky Balboa, the underdog with a big heart and an incomprehensible mumble. This montage shows Rocky as he prepares for his bout with undefeated heavyweight champion Apollo Creed with “Gonna Fly Now,” the perfect—albeit a little corny—training song. Appropriately, Rocky begins his jog in a rundown rail yard, then ends up at the top of the steps in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum. It’s a great way to portray his rags-to-riches story, as he gets into his absolute prime condition in preparation for the fight that could pull him up out of the depths of boxing obscurity. Not only did this montage make the steps of the Art Museum as much of a tourist attraction as the museum itself, it can be credited with spawning the cliché fitness/sports montage era of the 1980s, in which the Rocky franchise itself was one of the worst offenders. NEXT: Are you talkin' to me? >>

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