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|Paul "Paulie" Pennino|
|Last appearance||Rocky Balboa|
|Created by||Sylvester Stallone|
|Portrayed by||Burt Young|
Cornerman for Robert "Rocky" Balboa Sr.
|Relatives||Adrianna "Adrian" Balboa (sister)
Robert "Rocky" Balboa Sr. (brother-in-law)
Robert "Rocky" Jr. (nephew)
Paul "Paulie" Pennino (November 19, 1940 – February 22, 2012) is a major supporting character in six of the seven Rocky movies, played by Burt Young, who, along with co-star Burgess Meredith, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the first film.
He is Adrian's older brother and Rocky Balboa's best friend/brother-in-law. He is an alcoholic and is not afraid to lose his temper when the opportunity arises. Most of the time he does that out of jealousy towards his friends and family, and he feels like they owe him for their success. Despite this, he cares about his friends and family, and he will stand up for Rocky if someone insults him. Despite being friends with Apollo Creed and Tony "Duke" Evers, Paulie is shown to be racist, as seen in Rocky III when he openly stated that he did not like any of the black boxers in the gym where Creed once trained, though that could just be out of nervousness. He says in Rocky Balboa that "Italian food cooked up by a bunch of Mexicans ain't so special." He's also known for his catchphrase "I don't sweat you" in response to a fight. Paulie, while a loyal friend to Rocky, causes the premature birth of Balboa's son by shouting at his wife during her pregnancy, creates the brawls that draws Rocky into a street fight against Tommy Gunn, and establishes a quasi-marital relationship with Sico - a robot given to Paulie by Rocky as a birthday present in Rocky IV.
It was because of Paulie that Rocky met, dated, and married his sister Adrian, and it was at the meat factory Paulie worked at where Rocky began his unique training method of punching the meat carcasses. Paulie also distracted the ringside security guards so Adrian could embrace Rocky in the ring after his fight with Apollo Creed was over. Some important details on Paulie's background can be seen in a photo sitting on a mantle at his house during the scene when Rocky comes over to ask Adrian out on a date. In the photo, Paulie is wearing the dress uniform and cover of a Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Navy. It stands to reason that at this point in Paulie's life, he may have been separated and possibly even retired from the Navy, and he likely owns or is paying the mortgage on the house that he and Adrian are living in. And his abusive attitude in general towards Adrian can be seen during that same scene when he throws out the Thanksgiving turkey that she spent the day making, causing Adrian to cry, run to her room, and close the door.
Paulie visits Rocky in the hospital after his match with Apollo. After Rocky's marriage to Adrian, he congratulates the two. Later, he gives his former meat-packing job to Rocky; he also buys Rocky's car after the latter is laid off from Shamrock Meats due to budget cutbacks. He is disappointed later when he sees Rocky training amateurs in Mighty Mick's Gym; Paulie soon goes to the animal shop where Adrian works and yells at her causing Rocky's son, Robert Jr., to be born prematurely. He later helps Rocky and Adrian with the baby by taking care of him on the night of Rocky's match. Though he is disappointed at the beginning of Rocky's match, he eventually jumps in joy and hugs Adrian when Rocky is victorious.
When Rocky starts winning matches and becomes famous, Paulie starts holding a grudge against him. Getting drunk, he expresses anger that the bar has a poster of Rocky imploring people to buy Easter Seals. Paulie stumbles into an arcade hall, and after seeing a pinball machine with a Rocky theme, hurls a liquor bottle at it. This leads to him getting arrested, and Rocky pays to get him out. Paulie is furious, though, and tries to hurt Rocky. Rocky takes Paulie home and gives him a job as one of his cornermen. Later, Paulie tries to fight off the wrestler Thunderlips when he is strangling Rocky in the ring. Paulie accompanies Rocky and Adrian to Los Angeles, but complains of the flophouse they are staying in, to the point to which Apollo is annoyed. At the end of the film, Paulie once again is happy at Rocky's victory.
Rocky gives Paulie a robot servant/friend called Sico (an actual robot invented by International Robotics founder Robert Doornick) that fetches him drinks and foodstuffs as a birthday present. Paulie's tough, unsentimental demeanour is highlighted by the brusque disdain with which he initially treats his mechanical helpmeet - dismissing him as "a walking trashcan." However, by the end of the film, Paulie proudly introduces the robot as "my girl" to Apollo Creed and claims that she loves him. It is suggested that Paulie has helped the robot to transition from male to female - through some unknown kind of reprogramming. How Paulie gained the necessary skills remains unexplained, but it may have to do with his naval background. Paulie later accompanies Rocky and Tony Duke to the USSR to help Rocky train for his fight against Ivan Drago, but like before in Los Angeles, Paulie complains about the weather in the tundra and the squalid conditions of cabin they will be staying in.
Paulie is a key character of the film due to him being the cause of the Balboas' bankruptcy. He later starts training his nephew, Robert Jr., when Rocky stops paying attention to his son and shifts his attention to training rookie and newcomer Tommy Gunn. Paulie's trademark belligerence is once again to the fore as he calls out Tommy for his treatment of Rocky. Tommy punches Paulie, which sparks Rocky to challenge Tommy in a street fight.
Rocky Balboa (2006)
By the time of Rocky Balboa, Paulie is back working at his former meat-packing job. Initially skeptical of Rocky's desire to return to fighting after a fifteen-year hiatus, Paulie becomes fully supportive when he's laid off from the factory. He's later seen helping the older Rocky train along with running his restaurant, Adrian's, which was named after his sister. A scene that was edited out of the final film shows Paulie initially trying to ignore the days prior, then finally breaking down and grieving over both Adrian's death and his own failures, pointing out that all he did was treat Adrian terribly. Rocky reassures Paulie that Adrian still loved him, regardless. When Rocky decides to fight Mason "The Line" Dixon, Paulie again becomes his cornerman and compliments him after the match.
After the events of the previous film, Paulie died in February 2012. He was laid to rest next to his sister, Adrian. Three years later, his brother-in-law, Rocky, visits his grave on his birthday, leaving a bottle of his favorite alcoholic drink on his headstone, and he sits as he reads the newspaper to him and Adrian. When Rocky takes Adonis under his tutelage, the young boxer stays in Paulie's old bedroom.
- "Rocky Road: The Hero's Journey of Rocky Balboa Through the "Rocky" Anthology". Books.google.co.uk. p. 52. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
- Peter Bondanella (2005-12-29). "Hollywood Italians: Dagos, Palookas, Romeos, Wise Guys, and Sopranos". Books.google.co.uk. p. 119. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
- Nick Vadala. "Sico, the 'Rocky IV' robot, was designed to treat autism in children—not get Paulie beers". Philly.com. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
- "Paulie and his Robot, the love of his life". YouTube. 2011-12-01. Retrieved 2015-12-29.