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Rocky

The Italian Stallion


This character is among one of Stallone's best known characters and is often considered the role that started his film career.

The Rocky character is immortalised by a bronze statue erected near the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia recalling the famous scene from the original Rocky movie.

Rocky Balboa was named the 7th greatest movie hero by the American Film Institute on their 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains list. Additionally, he was ranked #34 on Empire Magazine's compilation of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters. Premiere magazine ranked Rocky Balboa #64 on their list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.



Rocky Balboa (2006)


​Director: Sylvester Stallone
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young, Milo Ventimiglia, Tony Burton, Antonio Tarver, Geraldine Hughes, James Francis Kelly III, Lou DiBella

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.

​Rocky V (1990)


​Director: John G. Avildsen
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Sage Stallone, Burgess Meredith, Tommy Morrison, Tony Burton

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, 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. 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 IV (1985)


​Director: Sylvester Stallone
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Brigitte Nielsen, Tony Burton, Dolph Lundgren, Michael Pataki

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 III (1982)


​Director: Sylvester Stallone
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith, Mr. T, Tony Burton

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 II (1979)


​Director: Sylvester Stallone
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith, Tony Burton

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 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 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 (1976)


​Director: John G. Avildsen
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith, Tony Burton

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 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.

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, an enforcer for a loan shark by day and a semi-pro boxer by night. He is given the chance at the heavyweight title
Talia Shire as Adrian Pennino, Rocky's love interest; a shy and quiet pet store clerk who falls in love with Rocky and supports him through his training
Burt Young as Paulie Pennino, Adrian's brother; a meat-packing plant worker by trade, Paulie permits Rocky to train in the freezer
Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed, Rocky's opponent and the heavyweight champion
Burgess Meredith as Mickey Goldmill, Rocky's manager and trainer, a former bantamweight fighter from the 1920s and the owner of the local boxing gym
Thayer David as Miles Jergens, the fight promoter who has "promoted fights all over the world"
Joe Spinell as Tony Gazzo, loan shark and Rocky's employer
Tony Burton as Tony "Duke" Evers, Apollo Creed's manager and trainer

"Early in my acting career I realized the only way I would ever prove myself was to create my own role in my own script. On my 29th birthday, I had $106 in the bank. My best birthday present was a sudden revelation that I had to write the kind of screenplay that I personally enjoyed seeing. I relished stories of heroism, great love, dignity, and courage, dramas of people rising above their stations, taking life by the throat and not letting go until they succeeded. But I had so many ideas in my head, I couldn't focus on any one. To cheer myself up, I took the last of my entertainment money and went to see the Ali-Wepner fight on closed circuit TV. Chuck Wepner, a battling, bruising club fighter who had never made the big time, was having his shot. It wasn't at all regarded as a serious battle. But as the fight progressed, this miracle unfolded. He hung in there. People went absolutely crazy. Wepner was knocked out in the 15th and final round, almost lasting the distance. We had witnessed an incredible triumph of the human spirit and we loved it.
​That night, Rocky Balboa was born. People looked on him as the all-American tragedy, a man without much mentality and few social graces. But he has deep emotion and spirituality and good patriotism. And he has a good nature, although nature has not been particularly good to him. I have always seen him as a 20th Century gladiator in a pair of sneakers. Like so many of us, he is out of sync with the times. To all this, I injected doses of my own personal life, of my frustration at not getting anywhere."
 — Sylvester Stallone


Related Pages: Rocky