Philadelphia boxer Sylvester Stallone, a small-timer, doubles as a collector for hood Joe Spinell, although he doesn't like to use violence. In the ring, where he's dubbed the Italian stallion, the good-natured Stallone beats Pedro Lovell only after being butted intentionally. Friend Burt Young, a butcher, tries to promote a romance between his shy sister Talia Shire, who works in a pet shop, and Stallone. Also an animal lover, Stallone talks her into a Thanksgiving date which is platonic until he kisses her passionately and she responds. Heavyweight champion Carl Weathers, who is as shrewd out of the ring as he is flamboyant in the squared circle, selects Stallone for a Bicentennial bout. Stallone trains earnestly and gym owner Burgess Meredith, once a fighter, tries to help. Upset because Stallone won't ask Spinell about hiring him, Young causes a scene and Shire moves in with Stallone. The bout is taken lightly by Weathers, until he's knocked down. Stallone gets his wish: to go the distance, just losing the match but telling Shire he loves her.
Soundtrack album is available on UA Records. Tie in with local boxing clubs. The October 18 issues of New York and New West Magazines have articles on Stallone.
His whole life was a million-to-one shot. United Artists 121 mins.