|Created by||Sylvester Stallone|
|Original work||Rocky (1976)|
|Novel(s)||List of novelizations|
|Films and television|
|Musical(s)||Rocky the Musical (2012)|
|Video game(s)||List of video games|
|Soundtrack(s)||List of soundtracks|
|Original music||List of original songs|
|Character(s)||List of characters|
Rocky is an American media franchise consists of multi-media releases including American boxing sports-dramas, created by Sylvester Stallone. The first film, Rocky (1976), and its five sequels centered on the boxing career of the eponymous fictional character, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). For the seventh and eighth spin-off-sequels Creed (2015) and Creed II (2018), the series shifted towards Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the son of Rocky's deceased rival and friend Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), 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. A third Creed film is set to release in 2022. Also in development are another sequel to the Rocky franchise and 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, the first film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" in 2006.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Screenwriter(s)||Story by||Producer(s)|
|Rocky||December 3, 1976||John G. Avildsen||Sylvester Stallone||Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler|
|Rocky II||June 15, 1979||Sylvester Stallone|
|Rocky III||May 28, 1982|
|Rocky IV||November 27, 1985|
|Rocky V||November 16, 1990||John G. Avildsen||Sylvester Stallone|
|Rocky Balboa||December 20, 2006||Sylvester Stallone||Charles Winkler, David Winkler, William Chartoff and Kevin King-Templeton|
|Creed||November 25, 2015||Ryan Coogler||Ryan Coogler and Aaron Covington||Ryan Coogler||Sylvester Stallone, Robert Chartoff, Irwin Winkler, Charles Winkler, David Winkler, William Chartoff and Kevin King-Templeton|
|Creed II||November 21, 2018||Steven Caple Jr.||Sylvester Stallone
and Juel Taylor
and Cheo Hodari Coker
|Sylvester Stallone, Irwin Winkler, Charles Winkler, David Winkler, William Chartoff, Kevin King-Templeton and Ian Sharpless|
|Creed III||November 23, 2022||Michael B. Jordan||Zach Baylin & Keenan Coogler||Ryan Coogler||Irwin Winkler, Charles Winkler, William Chartoff, David Winkler, Kevin King-Templeton, Sylvester Stallone, Jonathan Glickman, Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler|
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 pay rewards, for 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 successfully courts Adrian Pennino (Talia Shire), a painfully shy woman with an alcoholic brother, Paulie (Burt Young). But when the world heavyweight champion boxer Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) 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, sponsorship offers with the help from Paulie, and Mickey becoming his trainer and manager, Rocky is determined to go the distance with Creed and 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 (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 dies after the fight, and former rival Apollo Creed steps in, training Rocky to fight in Creed's old style (in his old Los Angeles gym) 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 (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 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 (in a subplot) Rocky (Robert) Jr. (played by Sylvester Stallone's real son Sage) 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 (played by real-life fighter Tommy Morrison) 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 (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 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."
Adonis "Donnie" Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), 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 (Tessa Thompson). Meanwhile, three decades since the death of Apollo Creed and his loss to Rocky Balboa, Ivan Drago is training his son, Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), 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 (Brigette Nielsen). 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 (Milo Ventimiglia) and meets his grandson, Adonis goes to his late father's grave, making peace with his late father and honoring his legacy.
Creed III (2022)
In December 2018, Sylvester Stallone confirmed that there are ongoing discussions regarding a third Creed film. That same month, professional boxer Deontay Wilder announced plans to begin a career in acting, stating specifically that he wants to play James "Clubber" Lang's son in Creed III. Stallone and Michael B. Jordan expressed mutual interest in such a character featuring in the plot of the next installment, while Stallone stated that he wasn't opposed to the casting choice. In September 2019, Jordan confirmed that Creed III was officially in development. Producers expressed interest in having Jordan serve as director, with Irwin Winkler stating that he had personally offered the position to the actor.
In February 2020, Zach Baylin signed on as screenwriter with Jordan confirmed to reprise his role as Adonis "Donnie" Creed. By October of the same year, it was announced that Jordan had entered early negotiations to be the film's director in addition to his starring role. By March 2021 Jordan officially signed on as director of the project, marking the directorial debut for the star as a filmmaker, with a script co-written by Zach Baylin and Keenan Coogler, from an original story written by Ryan Coogler. Irwin Winkler, Charles Winkler, William Chartoff, David Winkler, Jonathan Glickman, Jordan and Ryan Coogler serve as co-producers. The project will be a joint-venture production between MGM, Chartoff-Winkler Productions, Proximity Media, and United Artists Releasing. Creed III is scheduled to be released on November 23, 2022. In April 2021, Stallone announced he will not appear as Balboa in the film.
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 it has not yet been officially green-lit by the studio.
In 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. As an official production start has not yet been announced, Stallone stated: "There was some conflict there, yes. ...so there was a big bone of contention."
In March 2021, Stallone revealed he had started working on the script for a prequel series that will take place during the 1960s, with intention for the show to be developed as a streaming exclusive with multiple seasons, each consisting of ten episodes. By May 2021, Stallone stated that though there are "certain complications" he would "keep punching". Despite this setback, later that month as the acquisition of MGM by Amazon for $8.45 billion had initiated, Mike Hopkins (Senior Vice President of Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Studios) identified the Rocky franchise as one of the major assets in the purchase. He also stated that the "value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM's talented team."
Main cast and characters
This section shows characters who will appear or have appeared in the franchise in main roles.
- An empty, dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film, or that the character's official presence has not yet been confirmed.
- A indicates an appearance through archival footage.
- P indicates an appearance in onscreen photographs.
- Y indicates a younger version of the character.
|Character||Original series||Spin-off series|
|Rocky||Rocky II||Rocky III||Rocky IV||Rocky V||Rocky Balboa||Creed||Creed II||Creed III|
|Robert "Rocky" Balboa||Sylvester Stallone|
|Adrian Pennino Balboa||Talia Shire||Talia ShireA|
|Paul "Paulie" Pennino||Burt Young|
|Apollo Creed||Carl Weathers||Carl WeathersA||Carl WeathersA|
|Michael "Mickey" Goldmill||Burgess Meredith||Burgess MeredithA||Burgess Meredith||Burgess MeredithA|
|Tony "Duke" Evers||Tony Burton||Tony BurtonA|
|Mary Anne Creed||Lavelle Roby||Sylvia Meals||Sylvia Meals||Phylicia Rashad|
|Tony Gazzo||Joe Spinell||Joe SpinellA|
|Spider Rico||Pedro Lovell||Pedro LovellA||Pedro Lovell|
|Marie||Jodi Letizia||Geraldine Hughes|
|Robert Balboa, Jr.||Seargeoh Stallone||Ian Fried||Rocky Krakoff||Sage Stallone||Milo Ventimiglia||Sage StalloneP||Milo Ventimiglia|
|James "Clubber" Lang||Mr. T||Mr. TA|
|Ivan Drago||Dolph Lundgren||Dolph LundgrenA||Dolph Lundgren|
|Ludmilla Drago||Brigitte Nielsen||Brigitte Nielsen|
|Tommy "The Machine" Gunn||Tommy Morrison|
|George Washington Duke||Richard Gant|
|Mason "The Line" Dixon||Antonio Tarver|
|Adonis "Donnie" Creed||Michael B. Jordan
|Michael B. Jordan|
|Bianca Taylor||Tessa Thompson|
|Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler||Andre Ward|
|Tony "Little Duke" Evers||Wood Harris|
|"Pretty" Ricky Conlan||Tony Bellew|
|Viktor Drago||Florian Munteanu|
Additional crew and production details
|Rocky||Bill Conti||James Crabe||Scott Conrad
|Chartoff-Winkler Productions||United Artists Corporation||119 minutes|
|Rocky II||Bill Butler||Janice Hampton
Stanford C. Allen
Danford B. Greene
|Rocky III||Mark Warner
|United Artists||MGM/UA Entertainment Company||100 minutes|
|Rocky IV||Vince DiCola||Don Zimmerman
John W. Wheeler
|Rocky V||Bill Conti||Steven Poster||Michael N. Knue
John G. Avildsen
Robert A. Ferreti
Star Partners III Ltd.
|Rocky Balboa||Clark Mathis||Sean Albertson||United Artists,
Columbia Pictures Corporation
|MGM Distribution Co.||102 minutes|
|Creed||Ludwig Göransson||Maryse Alberti||Claudia Castello
|New Line Cinema,
Warner Bros. Pictures,
|Warner Bros. Pictures||133 minutes|
|Creed II||Kramer Morgenthau||Paul Harb
Dana E. Glauberman
|New Line Cinema,
Warner Bros. Pictures,
|Creed III||TBA||TBA||TBA||United Artists Releasing,
Box office performance
|Film||Box office gross||Box office ranking||Budget||Ref(s)|
|Rocky V||$40,946,358||$79,000,000||$119,946,358||#2,027||$42 million|||
|Rocky Balboa||$70,269,899||$85,450,189||$155,720,088||#1,124||$24 million|||
|Creed II||$115,692,155||$97,000,000||$212,692,155||#568||#713||$50 million|||
Critical and public response
|Rocky||92% (66 reviews)||70/100 (14 reviews)||N/A|
|Rocky II||71% (31 reviews)||61/100 (9 reviews)||N/A|
|Rocky III||63% (38 reviews)||57/100 (10 reviews)||N/A|
|Rocky IV||40% (48 reviews)||40/100 (13 reviews)||N/A|
|Rocky V||31% (36 reviews)||55/100 (16 reviews)||A|
|Rocky Balboa||77% (183 reviews)||63/100 (36 reviews)||B+|
|Creed||95% (309 reviews)||82/100 (42 reviews)||A|
|Creed II||83% (307 reviews)||66/100 (45 reviews)||A|
At 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.
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.
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|
|Actor||Nominated (Sylvester Stallone)|
|Actress||Nominated (Talia Shire)|
|Supporting Actor||Nominated (Burgess Meredith)||Nominated (Sylvester Stallone)|
|Nominated (Burt Young)|
|Original Song||Nominated ("Gonna Fly Now")||Nominated ("Eye of the Tiger")|
|Title||U.S. release date||Length||Composer(s)||Label|
|Rocky: Original Motion Picture Score||November 12, 1976||31:25||Bill Conti||United Artists Records|
|Rocky II: Music by Bill Conti||August 25, 1979||35:04||United Artists Records – LP|
|Rocky III: Original Motion Picture Score||March 9, 1982||32:00||Liberty Records|
|Rocky IV: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack||November 27, 1985||39:24||Various||Scotti Brothers Records|
|Rocky V: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture||November 12, 1990||45:19||Capitol Records|
|Rocky Balboa: The Best of Rocky||December 26, 2006||60:06|
|Rocky Broadway||May 27, 2014||57:03||Stephen Flaherty||Universal Music Enterprises|
|Creed: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack||November 20, 2015||69:38||Various||Atlantic Records|
|Creed: Original Motion Picture Score||59:27||Ludwig Göransson||WaterTower Music|
|Creed II: The Album||November 16, 2018||53:52||Various||Ear Drummer Records|
|Creed II: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack||50:49||Ludwig Göransson||Sony Classical Records|
- "Gonna Fly Now"
- "Eye of the Tiger"
- "Burning Heart"
- "Heart's on Fire"
- "Living in America"
- "Shea Butter Baby"
A Broadway musical was written by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (lyrics and music), with the book by Thomas Meehan, based on the film. The musical premiered in Hamburg, Germany in October 2012. Performances commenced at the Winter Garden Theater on Broadway on February 11, 2014, and officially opened on March 13, 2014.
- Rocky: Upon the first film, a paperback novelization of the screenplay was written by Stallone and Rosalyn Drexler under the pseudonym Julia Sorel, and published by Ballantine Books in 1976.
- Rocky II: A novelization written by Sylvester Stallone, was published by Ballantine Books in 1979. The book is a first-person narrative told from the perspective of Rocky Balboa.
- Rocky III: A novelization written by Robert E. Hoban was published by Ballantine Books in 1982.
- Rocky IV: A novelization written by Sylvester Stallone, was published by Ballantine Books in 1985.
- Rocky the Musical: A script written by Thomas Meehan and Sylvester Stallone, was published by Hal Leonard in 2014.
Various licensed video games for various arcade and home console systems were released including:
- Rocky Super Action Boxing – Based on Rocky III. Released in 1983
- Rocco – Based on the Rocky franchise. Released in 1985
- Rocky – Based on Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III and Rocky IV. Released in 1987
- Rocky – Based on Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV and Rocky V. Released in 2002
- Rocky Legends – Based on Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III and Rocky IV. Released in 2004
- Rocky Balboa – Based on Rocky Balboa. Released in 2007
- ROCKY™ – Based on Rocky-Rocky V. Released in 2016
- Creed: Rise to Glory – Based on Creed. Released in 2018
- Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions – Based on Rocky-Creed II. Released in 2021
Stallone later hand-picked Johnson to direct and produce a documentary on the making of the original Rocky, entitled 40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic, which was released in 2020. The documentary features Stallone narrating behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the film.
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