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Rocky film series
Rocky-collection - DVD

Rocky: The Undisputed Collection Blu-Ray main cover image

Directed By: John G. Avildsen
(Rocky & Rocky V)
Sylvester Stallone
(Rocky II–IV & Rocky Balboa)
Written by: Sylvester Stallone
Producer: Robert Chartoff
Irwin Winkler
Starring: Sylvester Stallone
Talia Shire
Burt Young
Burgess Meredith
Carl Weathers
Tony Burton
Theme music: Bill Conti
(Rocky I–III & V-Balboa)
Vince DiCola (Rocky IV)
Edited by: Richard Halsey
Scott Conrad (Rocky)
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)
Cinematographer: James Crabe (Rocky)
Bill Butler (Rocky II–IV)
Steven B. Poster (Rocky V)
J. Clark Mathis (Rocky Balboa)
Distributed by: United Artists
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
United International Pictures
Release Date: 1976–2006
Running time: 639 minutes
Language: English
Box office: $1,126,271,447

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 billion at the worldwide box office.

Film summaries

Rocky

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 told 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 woman with an alcoholic brother, Paulie (Burt Young). But when the heavyweight champion of the world, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) chooses Rocky as his opponent in a title fight because of his nickname: The Italian Stallion, Rocky realises 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

Soon after proving himself, even with a loss to Apollo Creed, Rocky expects the good life to follow. He marries Adrian and begins spending the money he earned from the match. But after he fails at both endorsements and a series of low-wage jobs, Rocky realises the only way he can survive is to begin boxing again. Creed, on the other hand, faces criticism from fans to overcome the fight. As a result, he taunts Rocky through publicity into a rematch, for which Rocky trains once again with Mickey. In the fifteenth round, Rocky knocks Creed to the ground, falling to the ground himself in the process. Both fighters struggle to get to their feet, but only Rocky is successful. For the first time, Rocky is declared the Heavyweight Champion of the World.

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 (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 "favour" 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 ultra-technological training facility running on treadmills, utilising 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, vacating his title which is later won by heavyweight boxer: Union Cane (Mike Williams). 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 neighbourhood: Adrian returns to the pet store she used to work at, while, in a subplot, Rocky Jr. (played by Sylvester Stallone's real son) 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 but this causes issues between Rocky and his son. 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 accepts Tommy's challenge. 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 then proceeds to punch Duke after he threatens to sue him if he is touched but Rocky says "sue me for what?". Rocky then makes peace with his son.

Rocky Balboa

In Rocky Balboa, sixteen years have passed since his final fight with his former protégé, 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. Rocky does a great job fighting, and almost wins but loses to a split decision just like the first movie. Rocky is last seen visiting his wife's grave saying "Yo Adrian, we did it".

Potential Rocky VII

In 2009, Stallone gave an interview to the German TV station Tele5[1] 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."[2] 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,[3] 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 station 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.[4]

Major characters

List indicator(s)

  • Italics indicate appearances in flashback via archive footage from previous films (For Rocky V, flashback scenes with Mickey were newly filmed with Burgess Meredith)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film
</blockquote>
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 Talia Shire
Mickey Goldmill Burgess Meredith Burgess Meredith Burgess Meredith Burgess Meredith
Robert Balboa Jr. Seargeoh Stallone Ian Fried Rocky Krakoff Sage Stallone Milo Ventimiglia
Apollo Creed Carl Weathers Carl Weathers
Clubber Lang Mr. T Mr. T
Ivan Drago Dolph Lundgren Dolph Lundgren
Union Cane Mike Williams
Tommy Gunn Tommy Morrison
Mason "The Line" Dixon Antonio Tarver

Box office

Film Release date Box office revenue[5]
United States Foreign Worldwide
Rocky November 21, 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 $144,826,825 $270,875,950[6]
Rocky IV November 27, 1985 $127,873,716 $172,500,000 $300,373,716
Rocky V November 16, 1990 $40,946,358 $79,000,000 $119,946,358
Rocky Balboa December 20, 2006 $70,269,899 $85,450,189 $155,720,088
Totals Films 1–6 $566,556,405 $559,715,042 $1,271,222,322

Reception

Ratings collected from film review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

Film Year Rating
Rocky 1976 91%[7]
Rocky II 1979 81%[8]
Rocky III 1982 70%[9]
Rocky IV 1985 64%[10]
Rocky V 1990 27%[11]
Rocky Balboa 2006 86%[12]
Average Rating 61%

Honours

December 7, 2010, Sylvester Stallone was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum, for paying tribute to boxers in writing and creating the underdog character of Rocky.[13]

References

  1. "Sylvester Stallone :: Tele 5". Tele5.de. http://www.tele5.de/sylvester_stallone?npos=0. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  2. "Sylvester Stallone :: Tele 5". Tele5.de. http://www.tele5.de/sylvester_stallone?npos=0. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  3. 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?". MovieWeb.com. http://www.movieweb.com/news/NEpX9vrpBLFLts. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  4. Acting His Age? The Resurrection of the 80s Action Heroes and their Aging Stars. P Gates. Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 2010. Routledge.
  5. "Box Office History for Rocky Movies". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/series/Rocky.php. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  6. Scott, Vernon (November 12, 1982). "Stallone found new life in new film". The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=1ZVTAAAAIBAJ&sjid=LYcDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5449,4731366. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
  7. "Rating for ''Rocky''". Rottentomatoes.com. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1017776-rocky/. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  8. "Rating for ''Rocky II''". Rottentomatoes.com. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/rocky_ii/. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  9. "Rating for ''Rocky III''". Rottentomatoes.com. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/rocky_iii/. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  10. "Rating for ''Rocky IV''". Rottentomatoes.com. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/rocky_iv/. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  11. "Rating for ''Rocky V''". Rottentomatoes.com. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/rocky_v/. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  12. "Rating for ''Rocky Balboa". Rottentomatoes.com. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/rocky_balboa/. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  13. Webmaster. "Stallone Inducted into Boxing Hall of Fame". SylvesterStallone.com. http://sylvesterstallone.com/stallone-inducted-into-boxing-hall-of-fame/. Retrieved Apr. 06, 2012.

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