Rocky has a ton of different layers to the American Dream. For me, though, I thought the storyline was more about redemption for America in general. The U.S. was downtrodden at this point, as we discussed in class, and had little faith. But I thought the final ending also provided the resilience within the AD. Yes, Rocky loses, but the actual outcome doesn’t dictate who the “winner” was in this case. Rocky, in his own way and to the audience, was the winner. It proves that the scorecard doesn’t matter, and that ultimate success (winning the bout) is not what is most important (just like the American Dream may not mean living the perfect life with a white picket fence).
I also wanted to relate this to what Americans could relate to. When the movie was released, it was the hey-day for the Broad Street Bullies. Philadelphia fans loved them because they weren’t afraid to muck it up with opposing teams, had a mixture of skill and toughness, and related to the city. Rocky did the same thing. He related to the audience, and became a figure everybody could see themselves wanting to become. This doesn’t mean that all Philadelphians wanted to fight playing hockey, but to me it means that somebody portrayed to be blue collar is appealing to the masses, just as the AD was such an appealing and solid goal for many Americans.
I can also approach this from a much more literal sense. The American Dream: go from nothing into something. Rocky does this. He was a good-for-nothing boxer without a trainer or direction in life. Enter an opportunity. Rocky goes from zero to hero in the course of 15 rounds. My only argument with the American Dream in Rocky is that Rocky is not necessarily self made. He needed Apollo Creed to make him what he became. It should also be noted that there was no discussion of compensation for Rocky. Without compensation, where is the opportunity for class movement?