Welcome to the Weekly Movie Thread, where we talk about the fine art of cinema. This week’s bonus prompt: What is your favorite movie montage?
Because, as Team America: World Police once pointed out, even Rocky had montage!
It’s hard to beat the Rocky/Creed saga on the montage front. “Rocky Training Montage” may be in the dictionary where the word “montage” is mentioned. They are all so inspirational. Heart-pumping. And set to a jam.
On a different day, I might pick the one from Creed where Rocky fights cancer while Adonis gets his training on, scored to “Fighting On/Fighting Strong” (my personal pump-up exercise jam). Is there a more inspirational moment from the 2010’s than when, in slow motion, four-wheel ATVs and dirt bikes circle around Adonis as he cheers Rocky, who’s watching from his apartment? You will have to dig deep to dethrone this one, friends. In fact… I can’t really recall any other memorable ones from 2010-2019. Having “montage” be part of the DNA of your cinematic universe means being the masters at it.
That said, it’s hard to beat the one from Rocky III.
Rocky III features two of my all time favorite movie montages. The first parallels Rocky’s life of glamor with Clubber Lang rising the ranks. Rocky is hob-nobbing with celebrities and showing up on magazine covers. Clubber knocks out fools, flashes a permanent mean mug face, and screams for anyone to give him Balboa. All done to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.”
The second with Rocky trying to beat Apollo in a foot race on the beach. This is the more traditional training montage. The Rocky theme (“Gonna Fly Now”) makes its return as Rocky kicks things up to a next level. We see him transform from a slower power athlete to a speedy, sophisticated fighter who can dance his way around the ring. There are a lot of close-ups of biceps and thighs.
They are #1 and #2 montages in my ranking of all time best movie montages. (With Creed being #3. It’s a wealth of Rocky montages!) I just might have to hand it to the first one, though, for featuring a Muppets cameo. Also, if I remember right Christopher Nolan has mentioned that one of his inspirations for Bane is Clubber from Rocky III. Imagine Bane watching with growing anger and hate as the Batman beats up thugs. While listening to Survivor, naturally.
But there are a lot of great montages in film history! The baptism scene in Godfather. The “Married Life” sequence of Up. Dudes picking fights with strangers in Fight Club. The heist being committed in Ocean’s 11. Gossips going on social media in Crazy Rich Asians. The growth of the space station in Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets.
As always, discuss movies here in this thread!