Why on earth do we like Rocky Sullivan?

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Why on earth do we like Rocky Sullivan?

Post  Polidano on Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:07 pm

Why is Rocky Sullivan so likable? He's a bully and a criminal, but audiences gravitate to him.  Even when we are shown all of the terrible things he has done, there is just something about Rocky that we like.  Could it simply be Cagney himself that audiences revere?  Or, is there something about the character that we sympathize with?

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Re: Why on earth do we like Rocky Sullivan?

Post  amychristina on Tue Sep 20, 2016 6:05 pm

I believe that Rocky is so likable because he may get involved in some bad situations, but he doesn't mind as long as people around him are safe (for example, taking full blame in juvie when he broke into the train car with Jerry). Knowing that he has a good side reminds us that Rocky is just as human as everyone else, and not just your typical gangster. Also, characters like Sullivan, who are like troublemakers with good intentions, usually catch an audience's attention.

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Why is Rocky So Likable

Post  dannyd76 on Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:47 pm

The reason why I think that Rocky is so likable is because regardless of the bad things he does he cares for the people closest to him which is something that viewers can relate to making him quite likable. Another reason is that James Cagney plays the part very well which makes Rocky a very fan favourite character. Furthermore Rocky is likable because he will take the blame for things and will always help a friend in need (e.g. When he lets his friend run away at the train tracks but stays behind and takes blame for the incident and goes to juvie); things like this make him likable because it shows he is a true friend and can be trusted. Lastly Rocky is so likable because he is the protagonist of the film so regardless of Rocky being good or bad the camera makes him look better than he actually is. This is why I think Rocky is so likable.

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Re: Why on earth do we like Rocky Sullivan?

Post  jacob kennedy on Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:10 am

In the beginning jimmy needed money so he did those bad things but I feel like he has some good in him , deep in his heart. Yes he might still do bad stuff but he is not evil , he just does bad stuff. Also he betrays being a though guy and people tend to like the though guys.

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...he is bold!

Post  Polidano on Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:57 pm

Rocky speaks his mind and is takes what he wants. I think everyone wishes they could be a little like that. We have been taught that there is a time and a place for everything....and rightfully so! But being bold and strong willed can be attractive qualities.... I think audiences get a kick out of seeing someone behave that way on screen.... and let's face it, Cagney is just a likable guy..even when he plays a baddy!

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Why Rocky is so likeable

Post  marlonG99 on Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:47 pm

Rocky is so likeable due to him being a very relatable character. He grew up in a rough area where you have to steal to get what you want but in those rough areas he has to look out for his friends and family. Like we do as people. And that's what gravitates towards us to Rocky as a character. Even all the terrible things that Rocky has done, he's done some for the right purposes like giving Father Jimmy the money to the parish or the time where his friend Jimmy was planned to be assassinated by the guys who worked with Rocky and slaughtered them before letting them shoot him. The reason we like Rocky is that we as people sometimes do the wrong things for the right reasons. Like how I explained how Rocky had to kill the two guys who he was working with to protect his only friend. It's both, Cagney is revered for bringing the character to life but also we as the audience sympathize with Rocky and how he struggled to live this life style of stealing, lying and deception but in the end we sympathize of how he's doing these things for the right reasons. It's like your parents, even if you think that your parents are nagging you they're are doing it for the right reasons due to the fact that they've been there. Like how Rocky pulled a "yellow" for the kids because he wanted them to have a better life.

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Re: Why on earth do we like Rocky Sullivan?

Post  sophie sorhaitz on Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:28 pm

I think people like him because although he's done some bad things he always is trying to make sure the people he loves most get a benefit from it and he doesn't want to disappoint them. We sympathise with him because he doesn't only so bad things and he is a very loyal person

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Why we like Rocky

Post  Marielle M on Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:18 am

Rocky is established as a likable character because despite all the bad things he does, he does possess some semblance of a moral code. He is fiercely loyal and protective of those who are close to him, as evidenced at the beginning of the movie where he takes all the blame for the train car incident, letting his friend go free. Rocky also seemingly redeems himself at the very end of the movie where he gives up the last thing he owns, his dignity, to save the children from going down the same criminal route he did. These actions so that Rocky isn’t rotten to the core, and earns him sympathy from the audience.

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A Diamond In The Rough

Post  Tommy De La Pena on Sat Sep 24, 2016 2:38 pm

While some may see Rocky Sullivan as a twisted criminal due to his actions, there are some moments that the audience is able to take a glimpse of a good man beneath a corrupted individual throughout the film. Some of these examples coming from his interactions with the kids and his old friend, Jerry Connolly. It's around these people that we see Rocky reveal a selfless characteristic that is rarely seen in the movie. Some of these examples being when he decides to take all the blame for the crime he and Jerry committed in the beginning, not wanting his friend to suffer time in jail with him. Rocky also lends the money he earns through his misdeeds to the kids he encountered, letting them use it as they see fit instead of keeping it all to himself. Finally, we see two examples of this characteristic near the end of the movie. After earning a large sum of money from his associates, Rocky decides to send it to Jerry since he heard that his friend wished to build a recreation center for all the kids within their community. Despite living his youth within a jail while Jerry was living his life, Rocky still manages to show kindness towards his friend and is willing to give his full support to fulfill Jerry's dream. Even going so far as to kill his associates when they plot to assassinate his friend. Due to this and his charismatic nature throughout the film, it is no wonder that the audience admires the ruthless thug since he is able to display both his humanity and brutality.

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Re: Why on earth do we like Rocky Sullivan?

Post  Serinadacosta on Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:33 pm

I think that we like rocky is because he might be a bully to people and always be rude but he always protects the people he cared about. He also showed the kids how to not stand people business even if they don't got a lot . Rocky was a really cool guy even if he did kill people and went to jail

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Re: Why on earth do we like Rocky Sullivan?

Post  reema_balouch on Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:50 am


The fact that Rocky was played by a talented and well known actor, James Cagney, is defiantly a reason for audiences to revere and like his bad guy persona. However, from the exposition of the plot the audiences get to follow Rocky through his childhood and discover that him and Jerry didn't have very much money and even had to steal as a means to survive. This wasn't an uncommon crime during that time period. Right from the start we root for Rocky because he sacrifices years out of his life to take jail time for Jerry and not throw him under the bus. As he grows up he develops his criminal life style and the numerous incarnations reveal to us that his personality has been hardened by all the events he has surpassed. After finding out that Jerry has found a way out and turned into a priest we are sympathetic towards Rocky because perhaps if he never went to jail in the first place and the roles were reversed he could've turned out to be a better person. However, as a naïve child with no guidance he was only able to do and continue what he knew best. He evidently exhibits extreme loyalty to those closest to him which shows us that he has good sides and allows us to sympathize with him when the audience sees him fail. He gives the street boys who look up to him money because they are not very wealthy. He also tries to help his movie love interest a better job. Also, he gives Jerry money for church renovations because he cares about the people close to him. Furthermore, near the denouement Jerry asks him for one more favour which is to turn yellow before his death, so the kids become ashamed of him and not follow in his path. He is resistant at first, nevertheless in his last living moments he complies with the request and screams for mercy before being being executed. His reputation was all he had left, but he gave it up just so a couple of kids wouldn't turn out the way he did. James Cagney's performance was outstanding with also allowed us to sympathize with the fact his character was dying and we would no longer get to follow him through his interesting life.

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Re: Why on earth do we like Rocky Sullivan?

Post  cerezok on Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:09 pm

Although Rocky Sullivan was a criminal and a bully I personally think the audience gravitated towards him because his persona is intriguing which catches the people's attention. For example Rocky did whatever he wanted and said whatever he wanted, he was a rebel but despite that he still possed qualities that the audience can relate to. For example he was caring in the movie ,there was a scene where father jerry needed money and rocky donated money to him anonymously and there was also another scene towards the end where father jerry told him to die as a coward for the kids which he did.

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why we love rocky.

Post  Hannahtamlin7 on Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:33 pm

in my opinion people love Rocky because the director makes him have good qualities. for example right from the beginning of the film rocky stays loyal to his friend. when he gets caught stealing from the train his friend wants to turn himself in but rocky tells him not to. He doesn't want his friend to get thrown in jail just like him. He also spends time with the boys in the film and tries to teach them how to play basketball properly instead of playing rough. Because the director makes rocky have these traits people think "oh maybe he is not such a bad guy, he just does bad things"

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Re: Why on earth do we like Rocky Sullivan?

Post  CarterP on Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:00 pm

The thing about Rocky that everyone likes is his charm. He may be a criminal and do all these bad things but it's all he knows and he does it to support the people he loves. He wants to be successful and for people to look up to him but the only way he's learned is through the streets and crime.

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Re: Why on earth do we like Rocky Sullivan?

Post  Sam Depooter on Tue Oct 18, 2016 9:13 pm

I like Rocky because he speaks his mind and doesnt really give a crap what other people do, unless theyre talking smack about him behind his back. He seems like he has a short temper and he just seems like all he really wants to do is have fun. He's also quite courageous, although he acts as if he's scared in the end when he is about to die.

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Re: Why on earth do we like Rocky Sullivan?

Post  Paolo12 on Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:11 am

I think that Rocky is so likable is because he is a very caring man to the people closest to him. Even though he's done a lot of bad things and went down the criminal path, he still is caring and the best children look up to Rocky.

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Re: Why on earth do we like Rocky Sullivan?

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