When Sylvester Stallone decided to make Rocky VI (or Rocky Balboa) I was very happy. When I saw the final product I was both happy and grateful for the wonderful farewell Sly envisioned for our favorite character. He took him and us on a melancholic and heartfelt tour of all the places and feelings we had grown to know over the past 40 years. The movie was a perfect circle closing with the first one and even for me it was surprisingly intimate and emotional.
Composer Bill Conti who has been along for the ride from day one took a similar approach. The score for “Rocky Balboa” is both a tribute to the themes we know and love and a collection of best of motifs from all the Rocky films. Just as the movie revisits old places, characters and scenes, the music mirrors this journey. Bill Conti recorded again in 2006 the themes he chose for this score and composed just one new one. Even if this score is an updated reinterpretation of the main themes from the past movies to me it deserves its special chapter just like the movie.
As I listen to this final score I too remember the journey I took with these movies, the many times I saw them, the countless moments where the music from Rocky has motivated and inspired me. Nothing is missing from this collection…From the voiceovers or Rocky’s reactions after his first match and after the one in Moscow to the main themes from all the other movies, “Rocky Balboa” is a collection every fan should have and cherish. The themes are the same but rerecorded 40 years later. All the fight, heart, inspiration and triumph of the past 40 years is here and it shows that Rocky’s saga is, in fact, a never ending story. To me this is the best music ever written for a specific character and a journey like no other.
Cue rating: 94 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 29 / 35
Album excellence: 82%
Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky)
Going The Distance
Redemption (Theme From Rocky II)
Fanfare For Rocky
Alone In The Ring