Rocky (film series)

Rocky (film series)
Rocky series
Directed by John G. Avildsen
(Rocky & Rocky V)
Sylvester Stallone
(Rocky II-IV & Rocky Balboa)
Produced by Robert Chartoff
Irwin Winkler
Written by Sylvester Stallone
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Talia Shire
Burt Young
Burgess Meredith
Carl Weathers
Tony Burton
Music by Bill Conti
(Rocky I-III & V-Balboa)
Vince DiCola
(Rocky IV)
Cinematography James Crabe
Bill Butler
(Rocky II-IV)
Steven B. Poster
(Rocky V)
J. Clark Mathis
(Rocky Balboa)
Editing by Richard Halsey
Scott Conrad
Stanford C. Allen
Janice Hampton
(Rocky II)
Don Zimmerman
(Rocky III-IV)
Mark Warner
(Rocky III)
John W. Wheeler
(Rocky IV)
John G. Avildsen
Robert A. Ferretti
Michael N. Knue
(Rocky V)
Sean Albertson
(Rocky Balboa)
Distributed by United Artists
United International Pictures
Release date(s) 1976–2006
Running time 639 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,251,350,503

Rocky is a boxing saga of popular films all written by and starring Sylvester Stallone, who plays the character Rocky Balboa. The films are, by order of release date: Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990) and Rocky Balboa (2006). The film series has grossed more than $1.25 billion at the worldwide box office.


Film summaries


Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is a small-time boxer who seems to be going nowhere in life, as he works day-in and day-out as a collector for a loan shark and fights in sleazy clubs for low-paid reward, to which Rocky is mocked and smitten that he's nothing but a 'bum', especially, by gym trainer Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith). At the same time, Rocky unsuccessfully courts Adrian Pennino (Talia Shire), a painfully shy girl with an alcoholic brother, Paulie (Burt Young). But when heavyweight champion of the world Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) chooses Rocky at random as his opponent in a title fight, Rocky realizes he now has the chance to prove he is not worthless. With Adrian as his support and Mickey becoming his trainer and manager, Rocky fights for his self-respect.

Rocky II

Rocky III

After winning the heavyweight title, Rocky takes advantage of his newfound wealth and fame, appearing in multiple advertisements & television programs, and relishing his new celebrity. After defending the title multiple times, he is prepared to retire, but the #1 contender, James "Clubber" Lang (played by Mr. T), challenges Rocky publicly. Rocky, after dealing with Mickey's heart attack before the fight, is overpowered by the stronger, hungrier Lang and is knocked out in the second round. Mickey passes away after the fight, and old rival Apollo Creed steps in, training Rocky to fight more in Creed's old style (and in his old Los Angeles gym) and use more guile and skill. In the rematch, Rocky outboxes Lang, tiring the stronger fighter out and eventually knocking him out in the third round. After the fight, Apollo calls in his "favor" for training Rocky, which is a one-on-one match between the two of them with no cameras, no media, just man vs. man in the gym. The film ends as they each throw their first punch.

Rocky IV

After winning back the title from Clubber Lang, Rocky decides to spend some time with his family. However, destiny has some new plans for him which doesn't allow him to leave the ring. A new fighter from the USSR, Ivan Drago (played by Dolph Lundgren) has emerged, and challenges Rocky to an exhibition match. Apollo fights instead, and the beating he takes from Drago ends with him dying in Rocky's arms, still in the ring, as Drago coldly watches. To avenge Apollo, Rocky challenges Drago to a rematch, which is to be held Christmas Day in Moscow. In a montage replete with symbolism, Rocky is shown training in a remote cabin in Siberia with the help of Creed's old trainer Duke, his brother-in-law Paulie and (eventually) Adrian, doing exercises such as chopping wood, lifting rocks, running in the snow and climbing a mountain filled with snow, while Drago is seen in an ultratechnological training facility running on treadmills, utilizing weightlifting machines, and to boost his strength he has been injecting steroids. During the fight itself, Rocky takes the worst beating of his life, but refuses to fall, eventually winning over the foreign crowd with his display of courage and determination, and knocks Drago out with seconds left in the final round.

Rocky V

After the fight with Drago, Rocky Balboa is diagnosed with brain damage and is forced to retire from the ring. As if that isn't bad enough, the Balboa fortune is all gone due to an unscrupulous accountant. Rocky's family returns to their old neighborhood: Adrian returns to the pet store she used to work at, Rocky Jr. (in a subplot) deals with bullying at the local high school and Rocky reopens Mickey's old gym. He meets a boxer named Tommy Gunn (played by real-life fighter Tommy Morrison) and begins training him. Unfortunately, a sleazy fight promoter named George Washington Duke convinces Tommy that Rocky is holding him back, and Tommy throws over Rocky for Duke. After Tommy wins the heavyweight championship, he makes a short speech thanking Duke, and is met with jeers and the familiar chant of "Rocky" from the crowd. Seething from this insult, as well as being called "Rocky's Robot" in the papers, Tommy decides to seek out his former mentor for a final showdown. Rocky starts to walk away from the public challenge, but Paulie decides to let Tommy have a piece of his mind about how Tommy has treated Rocky - after which Tommy punches out Paulie. Rocky then challenges Tommy, "Hey - you knocked him down, why don't you try knocking me down now?" Duke tells Rocky that the fight will be in the ring, but Rocky tells Tommy "My ring's outside." The two proceed outside for a bare-knuckle street fight, which Rocky wins.

Rocky Balboa

In Rocky Balboa, sixteen years have passed since his final fight with his former protege, Tommy Gunn. Long retired Rocky Balboa still staggers around an ever-changing world; his son is grown and distant, Paulie is working back at the meat plant, and Rocky's wife Adrian has died. Rocky has opened a restaurant, named after his wife, which he stocks with mementos of his prime as he tells his old fight stories to the customers. But when a computer simulated fight on ESPN depicting a bout between a young Rocky Balboa and the current champion, Mason Dixon (Antonio Tarver) reignites interest in the faded boxer, Rocky discovers he has not lost his fighting spirit and considers an opportunity to prove himself in the ring again.

Potential Rocky VII

In 2009, Stallone gave an interview to the German newsmagazine Tele5 whereupon he mentioned that although it sounds foolish to some he feels he needs to make another Rocky movie, because "artists must again and again go through the dark."[1] He also stated cryptically that the movie would likely be about getting older rather than boxing. At least one top executive at MGM has speculated they have plans to continue the Rocky franchise,[2] based both on the overall gross of the movies (over 1 billion dollars) and the overwhelming positive commercial and critical reception that met Rocky Balboa. Later it became clear that the German magazine had picked up quotes from Stallone before he made Rocky Balboa. Stallone has since focused on a sequel to his action movie The Expendables, but has mentioned that the Rocky saga will continue, and the older he gets the more necessary it is to write another Rocky movie. The fact that seasoned "hurt bombs" can prevail over naive young talent was proven in Rocky Balboa.[3]

Major characters

List indicator(s)

  • Italics indicate appearances in flashback or archive footage from previous films.
  • A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.
Character Film
Rocky Rocky II Rocky III Rocky IV Rocky V Rocky Balboa
Rocky Balboa Sylvester Stallone
Paulie Pennino Burt Young
Tony "Duke" Evers Tony Burton
Adrian Balboa Talia Shire
Robert Balboa, Jr. Seargeoh Stallone Ian Fried Rocky Krakoff Sage Stallone Milo Ventimiglia
Apollo Creed Carl Weathers
Mickey Goldmill Burgess Meredith Burgess Meredith
Clubber Lang Mr. T
Ivan Drago Dolph Lundgren
Tommy Gunn Tommy Morrison
Mason "The Line" Dixon Antonio Tarver

Box office

Film Release date Box office revenue
United States Foreign Worldwide
Rocky November 27, 1976 $117,235,147 $107,764,853 $225,000,000
Rocky II June 15, 1979 $85,182,160 $115,000,000 $200,182,160
Rocky III May 28, 1982 $125,049,125 $125,000,000 $250,049,125
Rocky IV November 27, 1985 $127,873,716 $172,600,000 $300,473,716
Rocky V November 16, 1990 $40,946,358 $79,000,000 $119,946,358
Rocky Balboa December 20, 2006 $70,270,943 $85,428,201 $155,699,144
Totals Films 1–6 $566,557,449 $684,793,054 $1,251,350,503


Ratings collected from film review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

Film Year Rating
Rocky 1976 93%[4]
Rocky II 1979 71%[5]
Rocky III 1982 60%[6]
Rocky IV 1985 44%[7]
Rocky V 1990 24%[8]
Rocky Balboa 2006 75%[9]
Average Rating 61%



  1. ^ "Sylvester Stallone :: Tele 5". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  2. ^ 41 Like0 Dislike0 May 29, 2008 by B. Alan Orange (2008-05-29). "Are Robocop 3-D and Rocky 7 on the Horizon for MGM?". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  3. ^ Acting His Age? The Resurrection of the 80s Action Heroes and their Aging Stars. P Gates. Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 2010. Routledge.
  4. ^ "Rating for ''Rocky''". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  5. ^ "Rating for ''Rocky II''". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  6. ^ "Rating for ''Rocky III''". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  7. ^ "Rating for ''Rocky IV''". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  8. ^ "Rating for ''Rocky V''". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  9. ^ "Rating for ''Rocky Balboa". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 

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