Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sylvester Stallone|
|Produced by||Robert Chartoff
|Written by||Sylvester Stallone|
|Music by||Bill Conti|
|Editing by||Mark Warner
|Distributed by||MGM/UA Entertainment Company
(USA & Canada)
United International Pictures
|Running time||100 min.|
|Box office||$270 million|
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. The film also features professional wrestler Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea as the supporting character "Thunderlips".
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 five years since winning the world heavyweight title, Rocky has had a string of ten successful title defenses and has seen his fame, wealth and celebrity increase. 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 selective matchmaking by intentionally accepting challenges from lesser opponents. Lang also proceeds to question Rocky's manhood to his wife Adrian (Talia Shire) further enraging him and his challenge is vocally accepted.
Rocky's trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith) initially wants no part of it and refuses to train him for the title defense. After Rocky confronts him demanding to know why, he forces Mickey to confess about the reality of his title run. He tells Rocky that he will be beaten badly by Lang who is; younger, stronger and hungrier. Rocky, at this point believing himself to be the world's best heavyweight doesn't understand. Mickey says he has been protecting him since he won the title; picking only winnable fights thereby overextending his title reign. Rocky is upset, and clearly confused. Mickey says that Rocky could have been killed as a result of his fights with Apollo, and therefore his rationale for such managerial conduct was a feeling of obligation to keep his charge healthy and winning. Rocky can't accept retirement after Mickey's confession refusing to leave the sport knowing he was carried during his title run. He promises to live in the gym, and knowing he can't let Rocky take on Lang without him Mickey agrees to train him. There is a clear contrast between the training camps of Rocky and Lang. The challenger trains ferociously in humble conditions while Rocky puts in a questionable effort in a Las Vegas style training camp open to the public and filled with distractions (essentially the opposite of how Rocky and Apollo prepared for their big fight in the first movie). Mickey tries to get Rocky to discipline himself in fear of the upcoming fight; nevertheless, the champion can't resist the allure of his fame and indulges himself with his fans.
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. In stark contrast to his fights with Apollo in the first two films, Rocky's fight with Lang is intense and brief. Against Mickey's previous advice Rocky starts incredibly fast, he aggressively engages Lang going for an early knockout, but what is perceived as an incredible start by the commentators has no effect on the stronger and better prepared Lang. Agreeing to Rocky's approach to the fight Lang begins to trade, Lang's superior conditioning and power is obvious and he leaves Rocky staggering at the end of the round. Rocky is disoriented, scared and bloodied in the corner as he hopelessly calls out for his dying mentor. Rocky is knocked out brutally early into 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 has witnessed the fight as a guest analyst, and 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, Rocky starts as he did in the first, however, once Lang found his opening, he gained the upper hand; from here he dominated Rocky, knocking him down twice - with Rocky seemingly defeated after the second knock-down. Getting up from the second KD, Rocky now adopts an entirely different strategy that bewilders Apollo (and Lang) by intentionally taking a beating from Lang whilst taunting him for being unable to knock him out, even teasing him that his punches do not hurt. The round ends with a verbal altercation between Lang and Rocky and Lang is for the first time in the film seen to back away when he dismisses Rocky as "a fool" - Rocky is nevertheless chastised by Apollo for his "heroic" performance.
In the third round, Lang (who is used to winning fights swiftly with knockouts in the early rounds, similar to Mike Tyson who was still a few years away at the time) 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
- Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed
- Burgess Meredith as Mickey Goldmill
- Mr. T as Clubber Lang
- 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 and Jim Healy appeared as the commentators for the Rocky-Thunderlips match, while LeRoy Neiman was the guest ring announcer.
Other media 
|Soundtrack album by Bill Conti|
- "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.
|This section requires expansion. (July 2010)|
Bronze statue 
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (January 2011)|
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 alternative 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.
Critical response 
Box office 
Rocky III was an enormous box office success and surpassed the gross of its predecessor. 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, then make sure that the second one is a winner". The film grossed $16,015,408 in its opening weekend and earned $125,049,125 during its North American theatrical run, becoming the fourth highest grossing film of 1982; its worldwide box-office earnings stand at around $270 million.
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.
- Muscle & Fitness, Sept, 2004 by Michael Berg
- International Institute for Sport and Olympic History - A Non-profit, Educational Corporation under 501c3, IISOH
- "Rocky III Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- "Box Office History for Rocky Movies". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
- Siskel & Ebert - At the Movies: The Secret of Star Wars on YouTube. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- "Box Office and Business Information for Rocky III". IMDb.com. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- "Box Office Information for Rocky III". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- "1982 Domestic Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
- Scott, Vernon (November 12, 1982). "Stallone found new life in new film". The Bulletin (Bend, Oregon). Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- "Rocky III: Award Wins and Nominations". IMDb.com. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Rocky III|
- Official Rocky Anthology Site
- Rocky III at the Internet Movie Database
- Rocky III at AllRovi
- Rocky III at Box Office Mojo
- Rocky III at Rotten Tomatoes