"Rocky" The Rhode Island Red is the deuteragonist of Chicken Run. He is a charming American rooster hailing from a traveling circus, who crash-lands into the farm and teaches the hens how to fly. He later becomes Ginger's boyfriend.
Rocky is a lean, tall, and "physically attractive" rooster (according to the hens). He is light orange from his head to his neck feathers, and his hackle feathers transition from light orange to a darker orange. He has a more "blocky" head shape compared to the other chickens.
The comb on his head is bright red and is styled slicked back similarly to a Mohawk. His pupils are a hazel-brown colour and his beak is bright yellow. His torso is dark brown throughout, and his legs are light-peach. He has five long, green tail feathers which stretch up to his neck. Most of the time he dons a light-blue bandana patterned with white polka-dots around his neck.
In his circus costume, he doesn't wear his bandana but rather a cape with the American flag imprinted on it. The cape is connected with brown rope and has a white collar that sticks out.
When first introduced, he was shown to be a very lazy and fatuous individual with a laid-back personality, and at the same time behaving in a very alluring manner towards the hens. However, his true self reveals that he is cowardly and extremely selfish, only interested in his own problems and barely sympathetic. Despite this he can be a cheerful guy and often lightens up the mood.
He loves to flirt with hens and is a popular playboy. He seems to have a strong ability to persuade other people and be appreciated in the places he goes. He is also seen to be very vain and narcissistic as he seems to find himself stunning, which contributes to his flamboyance and overall confidence.
During his permanence in the livestock his personality changes deeply and he became very brave, strong and trustworthy; as proved when he went and rescued Ginger from the pie machine. His previous selfish personality is replaced with a valiant, noble and selfless character.
Initially Rocky had tried to avoid Ginger after she'd requested him to teach everyone to fly. During this time he had only really thought about himself, and pretty much ignored the situation that the livestock were in. He had a bit of an attitude towards her and therefore she returned the feeling. Ginger finding out he was from the circus had given her the idea to blackmail him into teaching flight lessons, as he was left with either the choice to surrender to them or stay at the farm. He was reluctant towards this deal and to Ginger.
During the flight training, he wasn't cooperating with the hens as effectively because he was slacking off and paid no attention nor cared what everyone was doing. Ginger confronted him for this and responded with witty remarks, which annoyed her to an extent, making her question whether he was really as great as his posters show him to be.
Rocky was taking advantage of the deal Ginger made with him and wasn't at all worried about the hens' life or death situation. He was also revealed to be a bit of a liar, seen when negotiating with Nick & Fetcher while promising them he would make eggs for them in return (Roosters do not lay eggs). His lying nature mirrors Ginger's value for (brutal) honesty and trust. Rocky sees Ginger as too serious and a big stick-in-a-mud, while Ginger sees Rocky as careless and selfish. They grew a bigger disliking for each other.
After Rocky saw how miserable the hens were after hearing their trusted leader tell them news about their oncoming deaths, he began to feel sympathetic towards them; the start of his character development. He held a get-together for everyone to "let loose" and keep their minds off the bad news. He had voluntarily done this because of his good, social, nature. Rocky's wing had also healed completely at this point, in which Ginger is ecstatic about now that he can visually demonstrate his flight skills to everyone.
The roof scene is where Ginger and Rocky's relationship rekindles. Ginger openly shares how thankful she is to him whereas Rocky feels nervous, most likely because he has never had the chance to really express himself to anyone about his true feelings due to his whole facade with being the "Lone free-ranger" and his boastful, confident nature he shows on the outside. He gets flustered with his words, juxtaposing to all his snark to Ginger initially. He grows a heart for her and all the hens, and had stopped calling her derogatory nicknames like he'd previously done.
After the roof talk Rocky begins to feel immense guilt over the big lie he has kept from everyone. Knowing that he had just started to develop feelings for Ginger, he knows how much his contribution means to her and therefore makes the tough decision to leave the farm immediately without her knowledge in order to avoid confronting her and hurting her feelings after calling her out on her brutal honesty.
While on his trail happily riding along his tricycle, he stumbles upon a billboard advertising Mrs Tweedy's chicken pie business, and gets reminded of the hens once again and feels shame in himself for leaving when he was their best hope. His empathy for the hens grows larger as he quickly returns to the farm. He comes back in the final scene where Ginger is being stopped abruptly by Mrs Tweedy. He creates a diversion by hitting her across the head with his tricycle. On the plane, Ginger slaps him across the face for leaving the farm, as "payback" but proceeds to directly kiss him afterwards, now securing their romantic relationship. They now live in paradise/the chicken sanctuary in peace and harmony.
Other minor relationships
Rocky doesn't have much interaction with Mac, though he has trouble understanding her Scottish accent; which is a running joke in the film.
Rocky is kind towards Babs as she acknowledges his fame and so views him as important that she even knits him a beak-warmer in appreciation; to which Rocky finds cute.
Rocky has mixed feelings towards Bunty, as she is always playfully punching him in response to his jokes. He might find her a bit brutish compared to everyone else.
Rocky finds Fowler a bit tiresome. He has no idea why Fowler complains about him constantly. After being honoured his badge by him, he started to grow more respect for him. There is a possibility that he views Fowler as a father-like figure, from the fact that he always refers to him as "pops".
Rocky sees Nick & Fetcher as a tad annoying. One instance, when the two were making snide comments over the hens attempting to fly to which Rocky found unnecessarily mean. He also lied to them when making a negotiation for the belt, by promising them he would lay eggs for them, showing that he also sees them as gullible.
After hearing how much the hens despise the farmers and how cruelly they treat chickens, Rocky would obviously dislike them.
Rocky is shown to be very persistent in trying to avoid the circus; when Ginger threatened to expose him he exclaimed, "Do you know what'll happen if he finds me?!" implying that the Circus Man might not have treated him too kindly back at the circus, to the point where Rocky shows genuine fear over the thought of going back.
- In Chicken Run, after Rocky leaves, Bunty says "I don't even think he was American."
- This was a reference to the common misconception that Mel Gibson (Rocky's voice actor) was Australian when in fact he was American with Australian permanent residence.
- Rocky, along with Ginger, were named after co-Director Nick Park's childhood pet chickens.
- Rocky's nickname "The Lone Free Ranger" is a pun on the fact that Rocky is a free-range chicken.
- Originally, Rocky had a wattle, but this was later removed as it made him look less attractive.
- Other actors considered for Rocky's voice role in Chicken Run are:
- Adam Sandler
- George Lopez
- Nathan Lane
- Kurt Russell
- Anthony Edwards
- Jack Black
- Antonio Sabato Jr.
- Ray Winstone
- Matthew Broderick
- John Travolta
- Bruce Willis
- There was to be a scene inside the pie machine where Rocky saw a skeleton of a dead chicken and quipped "They bought a used machine! How cheap is that?".
- Initially in Chicken Run, when it was revealed that Rocky never could fly because he was fired out of a cannon, there was to be a flashback that showed Rocky being stuffed into a cannon at the circus. However, the producers decided to cut this out of the film so that they could shorten it and came up with the idea of Rocky's poster being torn in half and then pieced back together later on.
- In fact, a hint of his foreshadowing is when we hear a loud explosion when he is flown out of the Circus cannon and when the circus van and its owner go to Mr. Tweedy's farm to find him.
- Rocky's nickname "Rocky Rhodes" is a pun on the ice cream flavor Rocky Road.