Adrian

Who can ever forget Rocky Balboa calling out Adrian’s name in the middle of the ring after going the distance with the boxing champion of the world, Apollo Creed? I never did. Rocky is the energy, Adrian is the strength. Let’s have a closer look at Adrian for this week’s Women Who Wow Wednesday.

Rocky and Adrian
Rocky and Adrian

Adrian is ordinary. Plain. Almost non-existent. Her hair greasy. She dresses like an old woman who’s never been alone with a man. Insecure. Yet, Rocky sees beyond the funky glasses into her heart. She has a good heart.

She works in a pet shop. Not the most exotic of jobs, but she manages to pay the bills. Her deep love for animals is a testament to her warm nature. When she closes shop, Rocky visits her bringing a new joke, “The last turtle food I got here had more moths in it than flies.” Not funny as it is sweet. She let’s Rocky be Rocky.

When they go out for the first time, Rocky takes her skating. The rink custodian would not budge on giving them ice time. It is Thanksgiving, after all. Rocky had to convince the custodian Adrian isn’t feeling well and he is performing an act of charity. Sure, ten minutes, ten bucks. As they skate, they know something is there between them. He had gaps, she had gaps. They fill gaps.

Rocky: “My old man, he was never too smart. He says to me, ‘You weren’t born much of a brain, so start usin’ your body.’”
Adrian: “My mother, she said the opposite thing. ‘You weren’t born much of a body, so you’d better develop your brain.’”

Adrian and Rocky
Adrian and Rocky

Soon after, Apollo’s people come a callin’ on Rocky to give the unknown contender a title shot at the Heavyweight Boxing Championship of the World. All because his ring name is the Italian Stallion and would sound incredible on the billing. What Apollo doesn’t know is Rocky is not the type to give up. He will keep coming after the champion until the end.

At the same time, a transformation begins to take hold of Adrian. Gone are the glasses, greasy hair, and frumpy attire. In their place, a beautiful complexion, a wonderful cut, and stylish, comfortable clothing. Adrian also fights back against her controlling brother Paulie who kept her down for so long so she could take care of him.

When the night of the big fight arrives, Adrian stays close to Rocky providing support. There’s no other place she’d rather be than by her man. Rocky knows this, using her as his strength to get through round after round of butchering. And when he does make it to the fifteenth and final round, when everyone tells him to stay down from a knockout, Adrian shows up at the auditorium door with her little red barrette. She couldn’t stand being away from him, even though he asked her to wait for him in the dressing room until it is over. She closes her eyes and accepts Rocky’s fate. Does Rocky see her? Is it her? We don’t know. His eyes are sealed shut. Apollo made sure of that.

The crowd chants, “Rocky! Rocky!

He gets up, tosses a few more punches, and the fight’s over. The auditorium goes crazy. Reporters break into the scene. Police try to keep everyone back. Paulie complains the cop’s damaging his suit.

In all of this Rocky cries out, “Adrian! Adrian!”

She makes her way through the crowd, “Rocky! Rocky!”

Reporters stick microphones into Rocky’s face, “Will there be a rematch, Rock? Will there be a rematch?”

“I don’t know.” He barks. “Adrian! Adrian!”

She finally makes it into the ring.

“I love you!”

“I love you!”

Fade to black.

As the series progresses, Adrian becomes Rocky’s conscious. His strength. His reason. She comes into her own. Her self-confidence blooms. When Rocky’s not sure, she is sure. She has no doubt. Through it all, there’s no other place she’d rather be than by her man. Filling gaps.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

What do you think of Adrian? Do you have a favorite Rocky movie?

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23 thoughts on “Adrian

  1. Good film and very understated performance by both actors. It still amazes me that Stallone actually wrote this. It’s a shame the sequels were increasingly ludicrous.

  2. Today, a little boy was screaming the name of a little girl who lives a few houses down the street. Didn’t know her name was Adrian until today. The first thing I thought of when I heard him call her name over and over was… you’re not yelling it right, Rocky Jr.!

  3. I know it is a little sad to admit, but I love all the Rocky films! Rocky IV and Rocky Balboa are my favourites! Adrian isnt in Rocky Balboa but she is still somehow a big presence in the film. Im sure lots of people the world over would be very happy to have a relationship like Rocky & Adrian’s x

  4. I watched this movie again (for like the 20th time) just recently after not having seen it for many years. I love their love story now as much as I did when I was 16 years old, and I’m far from a romantic. There’s a strange and beautiful dignity to both these characters.

  5. The first Rocky is definitely my favorite and is one of those films that deserves all of the acclaim and praise it receives. The sequels are certainly more product than film but I used to love them as a kid so the nostalgia keeps my enjoyment of them alive to this day.

  6. Talia Shire has been sorely underappreciated for her entire film career (which is weird because she’s a Coppola), and I’m delighted to see her get a shout-out here. Bonus: her son, Jason Schwartzmann, is also a really good actor.

    • I agree completely. She needed to be in more movies where her talents shined. And I didn’t know Jason S. was her son. I remember him from the movie Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst. He was great in that movie. Wow, I would have never guessed.

  7. Aaaaaadddrrrrriiiaaaaannn!!
    I love those two. They were made for each other, simple and sweet. It took me a while to get into the Rocky movies. Their relationship cemented it for me because it showed that the tenacious and nearly unbeatable Italian Stallion was also kind and tender. Win.

    • I love Rocky and Adrian. I grew up with them. Saw them in the theater. They’re the couple that taught me what true love’s all about! I’ll never forget in Rocky II how Rocky stayed by Adrian’s side while she was in a coma. Everyone else couldn’t do it, but he did. Held a vigil and all. And when she woke up, he was ready to give up fighting all together. Instead, on her hospital bed, after seeing her baby for the very first time, she asked Rock to get closer. Closer. She said, win. Win.

  8. I read where they were originally considering Susan Sarandon for the role of Adrian but she was too pretty. They made the right choice.

    • Stallone thought Talia was too pretty, too. He said he pictured a girl with a hump on her back. But I agree, Talia was perfect. I really identified with her and the character when I was 16 years old.

  9. Always been partial to the first Rocky movie. Adrian is a great character in terms of evolution and effect on the main character. I think a lot of people overlook her when they think of female leads.

      • Ah, damn it. As always good reads in your blog. I will charge a fee of 10$ for idea. In the publishing world there has to be a new job opening in a new divisions called “publishable ideas”. That would be a fun-easy job, a whole bunch of people just writing sentences for authors, and then leave it up to the authors to do the hard work. I´m smiling to myself right now.

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