- "The Excitement... The Power... The Man...,a Fighter. A Lover. A Legend. The Greatest Challenge."
- ―Tagline for Rocky III
Rocky III is a 1982 American film that is the third installment in the Rocky film series. It is written and directed by and stars Sylvester Stallone as the title character, with Carl Weathers as former boxing rival Apollo Creed, Burgess Meredith as Rocky's trainer Mickey, and Talia Shire as Rocky's wife, Adrian.
Rocky's opponent is James "Clubber" Lang, played by Mr. T. Lang is a younger and more aggressive boxer than Rocky. He is brash, arrogant, outspoken, and immensely strong. This role made Mr. T an icon, leading to him being one of the first elements outlined for The A-Team television series. The film also features professional wrestler Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea as the supporting character "Thunderlips". This role brought Hogan to the attention of a widespread audience.
The film's theme song "Eye of the Tiger", was written by the group Survivor at the request of Stallone, and became a smash hit single, topping the US Billboard music charts and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
In the four and a half years since winning the world heavyweight title, Rocky has had a string of successful title defenses (10) and has seen his fame, wealth and celebrity increase. Now 1981, While unveiling a statue of himself at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rocky is publicly challenged by James "Clubber" Lang (Mr. T), a ferocious new boxer rapidly climbing the ranks. Lang accuses Rocky of intentionally accepting challenges from lesser opponents and after sexually insulting Rocky's wife Adrian (Talia Shire), his challenge is accepted.
Rocky's trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith) initially wants no part of it and admits to the champion that Lang was right, he had handpicked Rocky's opponents to protect him and to ensure Rocky remained successful and healthy. He also informs Rocky that Lang is young and hungry and that Rocky has no chance of beating him, as he has not retained his edge as a fighter. Rocky manages to convince Mickey to train him regardless, but his Las Vegas-style training camp is filled with distractions and Rocky clearly does not take the challenge seriously.
Lang and Rocky meet at Philadelphia's Spectrum. During a melee before the fight, Mickey is shoved out of the way by Lang and suffers a heart attack. A now distraught Rocky wants to call the fight off, but Mickey angrily urges him on while he stays in the dressing room. By the time of the fight, Rocky is both enraged and severely distracted by his mentor's condition. The fight begins with Rocky pounding Lang with several huge blows, going for an early knockout, but the stronger and better prepared Lang is unfazed and quickly takes charge, dominating Rocky and knocking him out with a haymaker in the second round. Beaten, Rocky makes his way back to the dressing room and to the dying Mickey. Kneeling at his side, Rocky speaks to his friend, telling him that the fight ended in the second round by a knockout, which Mickey misinterprets as a win for Rocky, shortly before dying.
Stopping by Mickey's closed gym, Rocky is confronted by his former nemesis Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) who offers to help train him for a rematch with Lang in exchange for "a big favor." At first, Rocky is too demoralized to put forth his best efforts which frustrates Apollo, but pulls himself together after Adrian helps him come to terms with Mickey's death.
The rematch is held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. At the start of the fight, Rocky sprints from his corner, fighting with a level of skill and spirit that no one including Lang expected. As a result, Rocky completely dominates the first round, demonstrating his new-found speed. After the bell, Lang is in a fit of rage over what has just happened and has to be restrained by his trainers. In the second round, Lang gains the upper hand, and Rocky adopts an entirely different strategy that bewilders Apollo by intentionally taking a beating from Lang, and even gets knocked down at one point but manages to get up before he is counted out whilst taunting Lang for being unable to knock him out.
In the third round, Lang (who is used to winning fights swiftly with knockouts in the early rounds) becomes increasingly angry and quickly exhausts his energy trying to finish Rocky off with repeated knockout blows, most of which miss the newly-agile Rocky entirely. Rocky taunts the champion in order to psych him out and the aggressive Lang is infuriated. He attacks even harder walking right into Rocky's trap. The tide turns and Rocky is able to overpower the winded and outboxed Lang, landing blow after blow and dodging attempted punches before knocking him out and re-gaining the heavyweight championship of the world.
Afterwards, Rocky fulfills Apollo's vague "big favor": a private rematch with him. The film concludes with both of the fighters throwing their first punch simultaneously, but this time, they fight in the spirit of friendly competition rather than as fierce rivals.
- Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa
- Talia Shire as Adrian Balboa
- Burt Young as Paulie Pennino
- Burgess Meredith as Mickey Goldmill
- Mr. T as Clubber Lang
- Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed
- Tony Burton as Tony "Duke" Evers
- Ian Fried as Rocky Balboa, Jr.
- Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips
In addition to the main cast several others had cameo appearances. Bill Baldwin and Stu Nahan returned as the fight commentators for the two Rocky-Lang fights. Veteran ring announcer Jimmy Lennon was the ring announcer for the first Lang fight, while boxing judge Marty Denkin was the referee. Lou Filippo returned for his third appearance as a referee during the second Lang fight. Dennis James appeared as the announcer for the Rocky-Thunderlips match, while LeRoy Neiman was the guest ring announcer.
- "Eye of the Tiger" (by Survivor) – 3:53
- "Take You Back (Tough Gym)" – 1:48
- "Pushin'" – 3:10
- "Decision" – 3:20
- "Mickey" – 4:42
- "Take You Back" – 3:37
- "Reflections" – 2:05
- "Gonna Fly Now" – 2:52
- "Adrian" – 1:42
- "Conquest" – 4:40
- Frank Stallone – vocals (2, 3, 6)
- Ray Pizzi – sax (3)
- Jerry Hey – trumpet (3)
- Vincent DeRosa – French horn (5)
- Mike Lang – piano (5)
- DeEtta Little, Nelson Pigford – vocals (8)
The version of "Eye of the Tiger" that appears in the film is actually a demo—the "finished" version is what appears on the soundtrack. Also missing from the soundtrack is the instrumental version of the song played when Rocky is training in Apollo's old gym.
Bronze statue Edit
Template:Ref improve section A bronze statue of Rocky, called "ROCKY", was commissioned by Sylvester Stallone and created by A. Thomas Schomberg in 1981. Three statues were created, and one was placed on the top of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the filming of Rocky III. After filming was complete, a furious debate erupted in Philadelphia between the Art Museum and the City's Art Commission over the meaning of "art". Claiming the statue was not "art" but rather a "movie prop" the city considered various alternate locations and settled upon the front of the Spectrum in South Philadelphia. It was later returned to the Art Museum where it was used in the filming of Rocky V, as well as Mannequin and Philadelphia. Afterward, it was again moved to the front of the Spectrum. The statue was returned to the museum's steps on September 8, 2006.
In Rocky Balboa, when Rocky told Paulie that he is going to make a comeback, Paulie suggested "you mad because they took down your statue?" which Rocky denied.
The third of the three statues was listed on eBay in early 2005, with a starting bid of $5 million. It was being auctioned to raise funds for the International Institute for Sport and Olympic History. It failed to sell and was listed again for $3 million; after receiving only one bid, which turned out to be fraudulent, it has been re-listed several times for $1 million. The statues weigh 800 pounds each and stand about 8'6" tall.
Box office performanceEdit
Rocky III was an enormous box office success. It surpassed the domestic gross of its predecessor Rocky II, and became the fourth highest grossing film of 1982. Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel attributed the film's success to the positive reaction from critics and audiences towards Rocky II and the production team's "quality control" of that film. Siskel stated "if you want a hugely successful series, make sure that second one is a winner". The film grossed $16,015,408 in its opening weekend and $125,049,125 domestically during its theatrical run.
Award wins and nominationsEdit
Rocky III was nominated for both the Award of the Japanese Academy for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Motion Picture at the Image Awards. The film's theme song Eye of the Tiger was nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards, the BAFTA Film Awards and the Golden Globes.
- Official Rocky Anthology Site
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