Amanda Smith

Standing at the bottom on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is the Rocky Balboa statue. Rocky was a fictional boxer in a series of movies set in Philadelphia.

What surprised me when I visited this statue was that 35 years after the first Rocky movie came out, I still had to wait in line on a chilly Sunday morning for a turn to take a picture. While I waited people posed with Rocky raising their arms in triumph like the boxer the statue represents. Other tourists were running up the steps and celebrating at the top just like in the movie.

The memorial made me think about why a character in a movie became such an icon not only in the city of Philadelphia but all over the country. Then I realized that people see in Rocky who they would like to be and in his triumph they see the possibility of their own.

About urba0090

is an ACLS New Faculty Fellow in the American Studies and History departments at Rutgers University.
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