Rocky (film series)
Rocky is a series of American boxing drama films. The first film, Rocky, and its five sequels centered on the boxing career of the eponymous fictional character, Rocky Balboa. For the seventh and eighth spin-off-sequels Creed and Creed II, the series shifted towards Adonis Creed, the son of Rocky's deceased rival and friend Apollo Creed, as the titular boxer with the now-retired Rocky appearing as his trainer. All films in the series were written or co-written by Stallone except for Creed, which was written by Ryan Coogler and Aaron Covington. The original film and the fifth installment were directed by John G. Avildsen, Creed was directed by Coogler, Creed II was directed by Steven Caple Jr., and the rest were directed by Stallone. In July 2019, Stallone said that another sequel to the Rocky franchise is in development and there have been ongoing discussions about a prequel television series based on the early years of Rocky Balboa.
The film series has grossed more than $1.7 billion at the worldwide box office. The original film, the third and the seventh have received Academy Award nominations. The first film won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Film Editing. Stallone has received Academy Award nominations for his portrayal of Rocky, in the first and seventh film. The soundtrack of the series has also received nominations for the first and third films.
''Rocky'' (1976)Rocky Balboa 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 pay rewards, for which Rocky is mocked and told that he's nothing but a 'bum,' especially by gym trainer Mickey Goldmill. At the same time, Rocky successfully courts Adrian Pennino, a painfully shy woman with an alcoholic brother, Paulie. But when the world heavyweight champion boxer Apollo Creed chooses Rocky at random as his opponent in a title fight, Rocky realizes he now has the chance to prove that he's not worthless. With Adrian's support and Mickey becoming his trainer and manager, Rocky fights for his self-respect.
''Rocky II'' (1979)Soon after proving himself, even with a split decision 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 realizes 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 publicly taunts Rocky into a rematch, for which Rocky trains once again with Mickey. In the fifteenth round, Rocky knocks Creed to the ground, falling to the canvas 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 World Heavyweight Champion; even Apollo shows respect for him as he regains his support from fans for doing a fair fight.
''Rocky III'' (1982)After winning the heavyweight title, Rocky takes advantage of his newfound wealth and fame, appearing in multiple advertisements and television programs, and relishing his new celebrity status. After defending the title multiple times, he is prepared to retire, but the number one contender, James "Clubber" Lang, 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 former rival Apollo Creed steps in, training Rocky to fight in Creed's old style and to 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'' (1985)After winning back his title from Clubber Lang, Rocky continues to live the good life, now that he and Apollo are good friends. However, a new fighter from the USSR, Ivan Drago, has emerged and challenges Rocky to an exhibition match. Apollo fights instead, and the beating he takes from Drago ends with Apollo dying in Rocky's arms in the ring as Drago coldly watches. To avenge Apollo, Rocky challenges Drago to a match, which is to be held on 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, while Drago is seen in an advanced training facility running on treadmills, utilizing weightlifting machines and injecting steroids to boost his strength. During the fight, Rocky takes the worst beating of his life but refuses to fall. He eventually wins over the foreign crowd with his display of courage and determination, and he knocks Drago out with seconds left in the final round.
''Rocky V'' (1990)In the aftermath of his fight with Ivan Drago, Rocky Balboa is diagnosed with brain damage and is forced to retire from the ring. Additionally, the Balboa fortune is all gone due to an unscrupulous accountant. Rocky's family returns to their old neighborhood and Adrian returns to the pet store she used to work at, while Rocky Jr. deals with bullying at his school and Rocky re-opens Mickey's old gym. While training other boxers, Rocky meets a young, hungry boxer named Tommy Gunn and begins training him which results in a strained relationship with Robert. Unfortunately, as Tommy begins his rise to fame under Rocky's wing, a sleazy fight promoter named George Washington Duke convinces Tommy that Rocky is holding him back and Tommy leaves Rocky for Duke. After Tommy wins the heavyweight title, 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 by publicists as "Rocky's robot" and being told that he's "no Rocky Balboa," 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, and Tommy proceeds to punch Paulie. Rocky then challenges Tommy outside and the two proceed in a violent bare-knuckle street brawl, which Rocky wins. Rocky then proceeds to punch Duke for harassing him. In the end, Rocky and Robert reconcile as they run up the steps as father and son.
''Rocky Balboa'' (2006)In Rocky Balboa, twenty years have passed since his final fight with his former protégé, Tommy "The Machine" 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 customers. But when a computer simulated fight on ESPN depicting a bout between a young Rocky Balboa and the current champion, Mason Dixon 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 almost wins the fight but loses in a split decision just like the first film. Rocky is last seen visiting his wife's grave saying, "Yo Adrian, we did it."
''Creed'' (2015)Adonis "Donnie" Johnson, the illegitimate son of the late former heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, tracks down Rocky Balboa at Adrian's and asks Rocky to become his trainer. Rocky is reluctant, but eventually agrees. When word gets out that Donnie is Creed's illegitimate son, the handlers of world light heavyweight champion "Pretty" Ricky Conlan, who is forced into retirement by an impending prison term, offer to make Donnie the latter's final challenger—provided that he change his name to Adonis Creed. Donnie balks at first, wanting to forge his own legacy. However, he eventually agrees. While helping Donnie train, Rocky learns he has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He is initially unwilling to undergo chemotherapy because it wasn't enough to save Adrian from ovarian cancer. Donnie persuades Rocky to seek treatment and continues training while Rocky recovers. In a battle reminiscent of Apollo and Rocky's first fight, Donnie fights Conlan in Conlan's hometown of Liverpool and surprises almost everyone by going the distance and pushing Conlan to his limit. Conlan wins by split decision, but Donnie wins the respect of Conlan and the crowd, with Conlan calling Donnie the future of the light heavyweight division. Returning to Philadelphia, Donnie and a recovering Rocky both make their way up the Philadelphia Museum steps and look at the skyline.
''Creed II'' (2018)Three years after losing the fight to "Pretty" Ricky Conlan, Adonis Johnson Creed wins the World Heavyweight Championship and proposes to his girlfriend, Bianca Taylor. Meanwhile, three decades since the death of Apollo Creed and his loss to Rocky Balboa, Ivan Drago is training his son, Viktor Drago, to reclaim their honor by having Viktor publicly challenge Adonis for the World Heavyweight Title. Rocky is reluctant to train Adonis, fearing Adonis will meet the same fate as his father, but Adonis accepts the challenge without him and is badly injured during the fight. Because of Viktor's disqualification, Adonis retains the title. Viktor demands a rematch, while he is being promoted by his father's supporters who originally abandoned Drago, including Drago's ex-wife, Ludmilla. Viktor is subjected to vicious training sessions in preparation for the rematch. Rocky comes to Adonis' aid and decides to train him in the Southern California desert, with a different tactic for Adonis to take in Viktor's powerful punches. The rematch is set in Moscow, and Adonis is able to take Viktor's powerful punches, while leaving Viktor exhausted. Viktor's supporters and his mother leave during the fight with doubt that Viktor will win. Drago seeing his son taking Adonis’ punches without fighting back, throws in the towel and assures his son that he is more important to him and that he will not abandon him like he was. While Rocky later reunites with his son, Robert and meets his grandson, Adonis goes to his late father's grave, making peace with his late father and honoring his legacy.
Untitled ''Rocky'' film (TBA)In May 2019 at the Cannes Film Festival, Sylvester Stallone announced an idea he had about another story about Rocky Balboa. By July of the same year, Stallone confirmed that a sequel/follow-up to the current film series is in development. The project will be a joint-production venture between Winkler Films Production and MGM. Stallone will serve as writer in addition to starring in the film.
Conceptualized as an epilogue story, the film is said to be about Rocky befriending a young fighter who is a foreigner, stuck illegally in the United States. Stallone states: "Rocky meets a young, angry person who got stuck in this country when he comes to see his sister. He takes him into his life, and unbelievable adventures begin, and they wind up south of the border. It’s very, very timely." By May 2020, Stallone stated that he is still working on the film, though he does not know if it will be made.
''Creed III'' (TBA)In December 2018, Sylvester Stallone expressed interest in Deontay Wilder playing the son of Clubber Lang in a potential Creed III, a plot point to which Michael B. Jordan agreed to, were a sequel to be made. In February 2020, Zach Baylin was announced as screenwriter, with Jordan confirmed to reprise his role as Adonis Creed.
TelevisionIn July 2019, Sylvester Stallone announced that there are "ongoing discussions" about a Rocky prequel television series, with the project intended to premiere on a streaming service platform. Film series producer, Irwin Winkler however, is said to be hesitant in making a television series with concerns regarding how the story would translate to television. Stallone stated: "There was some conflict there, yes....so there was a big bone of contention."
Cast and crew
This table breaks down the main characters, and the actors who have portrayed them.
- An empty, dark-grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.
- An indicates an appearance through archival footage and/or photographs
- A indicates that the character appears only through the use of still-photograph.
- A indicates a role as a younger version of the character.
Additional crew and production details
Box office performance
Critical and public response
AccoladesAt the 49th Academy Awards, Rocky was nominated for ten Academy Awards. Sylvester Stallone was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay, with Talia Shire being nominated for Best Actress, and both Burgess Meredith and Burt Young being nominated for Best Supporting Actor. "Gonna Fly Now" was nominated for Best Original Song, and Rocky itself was nominated for Best Sound Editing, and won Best Picture, Best Director for John G. Avildson, and Best Film Editing.
At the 55th Academy Awards, the song "Eye of the Tiger" from Rocky III was nominated for Best Original Song.
On December 7, 2010, 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.
On January 10, 2016, Stallone won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Creed.
At the 88th Academy Awards, Stallone was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Creed, the film's only nomination.
In total, the Rocky series has received twelve Academy Awards nominations, winning three.
|Award||Rocky||Rocky II||Rocky III||Rocky IV||Rocky V||Rocky Balboa||Creed||Creed II|