Training montages in film are an art. They are able to uplift, educate and impress all in one fail swoop. Yet to some film scholars and snobs they are seen as derivative and old fashioned but no story is complete without a training montage that shows the path our hero takes as he progresses to the next stage of the film. However deep down every cinephile loves a montage and here is a list of the six most insane training montages in movies.
The most iconic and, for some, the original montage sequence in all of cinema. Rocky's montage is set perfectly to Bill Conti's "Gonna Fly Now," a wonderful choice by Stallone that allows the footage to build and build to a devastating crescendo. We see Balboa run through the streets of Philadelphia and his interactions with the locals and has the ultimate payoff as Rocky runs up each step outside the entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and punches the air in triumph. One of the most iconic moments in cinema.
"The Karate Kid"
For some though it is "The Karate Kid's" montage which lives the longest in the memory. Set to Joe Esposito's "You're the Best" we watch Daniel defeat every competitor at the All Valley Karate Tournament whilst Mr Miyagi and Ali watch on together. Stupendously exciting filmmaking.
"Team America:World Police"
"Team America's" montage is unique because it features absolutely zero actors which are duly replaced by puppets. The music used is a wonderful creation by Trey Parker and Matt Stone that is imaginatively titled, 'Montage,' and allows us to see the films hero Gary Johnston prepare for his battle with Kim Jong-il.
Brad Bird's Pixar epic is rightly renowned for its fresh and unique approach to the superhero genre. This can best be seen in the training montage that shows Mr Incredible regain his fitness after decades in the suburban wilderness. Of course due to his size and strength he has to find different ways to increase his mass which includes the father of three lifting up a train carriage in a yard.
Just like "The Karate Kid" montage, except replace the children fighting with dancing teens. It also features Kevin Bacon teaching Chris Penn how to dance to the music of Deniece Williams. Pure 80s. For a movie that's full of dancing scenes, this one sticks out. Maybe not quite as much as the one where Kevin Bacon's stunt double dances his heart out while silhouetted against the night, but hey, you take what you can get.
Despite the original "Rocky's" reputation as one of the greatest montages in cinematic history it is in fact actually not even the best in its franchise. "Rocky IV's" wonderfully over the top montage sees our favorite get into ludicrous situation after ludicrous situation that include lifting the weights of three people and ripping up photos of his opponent. Like we all do.