Study Guide

Rocky Tony Gazzo (Joe Spinell)

Tony Gazzo (Joe Spinell)

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Gazzo is the nicest loan shark to ever grace the silver screen. He must break kneecaps and send men to sleep with the fishes (right? he's a cinematic loan shark, after all) but we don't see any of that.

We only see the softer side of this Philly crime boss. He gives Rocky money for his date, helps fund his training, and gets him to quit smoking… and he never expects Rocky to pay him back.

Once more for effect: this loan shark gives Rocky money and doesn't expect Rocky to pay him back.

If this were a Scorsese movie, Gazzo would break Rocky's nose after Rocky failed to break a man's fingers. But in Rocky, Gazzo gives him a firm talking-to about the cost of doing business on the mean streets of the City of Brotherly Love. He's the father figure Rocky never had.

Seriously. He says things like:

GAZZO: You know, you ain't never had any luck, but I think this time Lady Luck may be in your corner.

Gazzo has a driver named Buddy (or maybe they just call him "buddy") who's mean to Rocky. Buddy wouldn't bear mentioning, except that Gazzo's explanation for Buddy's un-buddy-like behavior is one of the movie's better lines:

GAZZO: Some guys, they just hate for no reason. Capisce?

Yup. Tony Gazzo just told Rocky to shake it off, shake it off. And that's because Rocky is a movie with very little hate. Even the crime bosses and the boxing bums are full of love.

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