Rocky (franchise)

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Rocky
Created bySylvester Stallone
Original workRocky (1976)
OwnerAmazon MGM Studios
Years1976–present
Theatrical presentations
Musical(s)Rocky the Musical (2012)
Miscellaneous
Character(s)List of characters

Rocky is an American sports drama multimedia franchise created by Sylvester Stallone, based on the life of Chuck Wepner, which began with the eponymous 1976 film and has since become a cultural phenomenon, centered on the boxing careers of Rocky Balboa and his protégé Adonis Creed.

The original film (Rocky) was written by Stallone and directed by John G. Avildsen, and was followed by the sequels Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990), and Rocky Balboa (2006). Stallone wrote and directed four of the five sequels, with Avildsen returning to direct Rocky V. All six films were distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.[1] A spin-off film series followed, with Creed (2015), Creed II (2018), and Creed III (2023). The series stars Michael B. Jordan as boxer Adonis Creed, with Stallone as his trainer in the first two films. The Creed films were directed by Ryan Coogler, Steven Caple Jr., and Jordan respectively.

The franchise will continue with a fourth Creed film, while a Drago film, a prequel television series, and various other spin-offs are in active development.

Rocky, Rocky III, and Creed were nominated for Academy Awards, with the first winning Best Picture, Best Director for Avildsen, and Best Film Editing, and is considered one of the greatest sports films of all time. Stallone was nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the first film and Creed, respectively. Rocky has influenced landmarks and popular culture; the entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art has become known as the Rocky Steps while phrases like "Yo, Adrian!" and "If he dies, he dies" have become part of lexicon or widely memed. Balboa is also considered one of the most iconic fictional characters, and the franchise is closely linked with its successful theme songs, including "Gonna Fly Now", "Eye of the Tiger", and "Burning Heart".

Films[edit]

Film U.S. release date Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producers
Rocky films
Rocky December 3, 1976 (1976-12-03) John G. Avildsen Sylvester Stallone Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff
Rocky II June 15, 1979 (1979-06-15) Sylvester Stallone
Rocky III May 28, 1982 (1982-05-28)
Rocky IV November 27, 1985 (1985-11-27)
Rocky V November 16, 1990 (1990-11-16) John G. Avildsen
Rocky Balboa December 20, 2006 (2006-12-20) Sylvester Stallone David Winkler, Charles Winkler, William Chartoff and Kevin King-Templeton
Creed films
Creed November 25, 2015 (2015-11-25) Ryan Coogler Ryan Coogler
and Aaron Covington
Ryan Coogler Irwin Winkler, David Winkler, Charles Winkler, William Chartoff, Robert Chartoff, Kevin King-Templeton and Sylvester Stallone
Creed II November 21, 2018 (2018-11-21) Steven Caple Jr. Juel Taylor
and Sylvester Stallone
Sascha Penn
and Cheo Hodari Coker
Irwin Winkler, David Winkler, Charles Winkler, William Chartoff, Kevin King-Templeton, Sylvester Stallone and Ian Sharpless
Creed III March 3, 2023 (2023-03-03) Michael B. Jordan Zach Baylin & Keenan Coogler Ryan Coogler
and Zach Baylin & Keenan Coogler
Irwin Winkler, David Winkler, Charles Winkler, William Chartoff, Kevin King-Templeton, Sylvester Stallone, Ryan Coogler, Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Glickman
Creed IV TBA TBA TBA Irwin Winkler

Rocky (1976)[edit]

Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is a small-time boxer who works as a collector for a loan shark and fights in sleazy clubs for low pay. His gym trainer, Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith), thinks little of Balboa's potential. 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 has the chance to prove his worth. 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)[edit]

Soon after proving himself, even with a split decision loss to Apollo Creed, Rocky 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 that 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)[edit]

After winning the heavyweight title, Rocky takes advantage of his newfound wealth and fame, appearing in multiple advertisements, charity and fundraisers, and television programs. After defending the title multiple times, he is prepared to retire, but the number one contender, Clubber Lang (Mr. T), challenges Rocky publicly. Rocky, after dealing with Mickey's heart attack before the fight, is knocked out by Lang in the second round. Mickey dies after the fight, and former rival Apollo Creed steps in, training Rocky to fight in Creed's old Los Angeles gym. In the rematch, Rocky outboxes Lang, 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 or media in the gym. The film ends as they each throw their first punch.

Rocky IV (1985)[edit]

After winning back his title from Clubber Lang, Rocky and Apollo are good friends. However, a new fighter from the USSR, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), 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. Rocky trains 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)[edit]

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 (Robert) Jr. (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 (real-life fighter Tommy Morrison) and begins training him which results in a strained relationship with Robert. As Tommy begins his rise to fame under Rocky's wing, fight promoter George Washington Duke convinces Tommy to leave Rocky for Duke. After Tommy wins the heavyweight title, he makes a short speech thanking Duke, and is met with jeers from the crowd. Tommy seeks out his former mentor for a final showdown. Rocky starts to walk away from the public challenge, but Paulie scolds Tommy for how he has treated Rocky, and Tommy punches Paulie. Rocky then challenges Tommy outside and the two proceed in a violent bare-knuckle street brawl, which Rocky wins. Rocky then punches Duke for harassing him. Rocky and Robert reconcile.

Rocky Balboa (2006)[edit]

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".

Creed (2015)[edit]

The official logo of the Creed films.

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 Adonis 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 Adonis the latter's final challenger—provided that he change his name to Adonis Creed. Adonis balks at first, wanting to forge his own legacy, but he eventually agrees. While helping Adonis 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. Adonis persuades Rocky to seek treatment and continues training while Rocky recovers. In a battle reminiscent of Apollo and Rocky's first fight, Adonis 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 Adonis wins the respect of Conlan and the crowd, with Conlan calling Adonis the future of the light heavyweight division. Returning to Philadelphia, Adonis and a recovering Rocky make their way up the Philadelphia Museum steps and look at the skyline.

Creed II (2018)[edit]

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 (Brigitte 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 (2023)[edit]

In December 2018, Sylvester Stallone confirmed that there were 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 wanted to play James "Clubber" Lang's son in Creed III.[2] 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.[3][4] Creed III was later officially confirmed to be in development.[5] Producers expressed interest in having Jordan serve as director, with Irwin Winkler stating that he had personally offered the position to the actor.[6]

In February 2020, Zach Baylin signed on as screenwriter with Jordan confirmed to reprise his role as Adonis "Donnie" Creed.[7] By October of the same year, Jordan entered early negotiations to be the film's director in addition to his starring role.[8][9] 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. Stallone later announced that he will not appear as Balboa in the film,[10] though he is still involved as a producer. The project is a joint-venture production between MGM, Chartoff-Winkler Productions, Proximity Media and United Artists Releasing. Creed III was released on March 3, 2023, as the first film distributed by MGM under Amazon's ownership.[11] The following day, The Hollywood Reporter reported its opening box office earnings as successful and revealed that MGM's current owner Amazon cited this in its folding of United Artists Releasing into MGM due to Amazon's optimism of the feasibility of theatrical distribution beyond their staple video on demand service, Amazon Prime Video.[12]

Future[edit]

Drago (TBA)[edit]

In November 2021, Dolph Lundgren revealed that there are developments for a film centered around his character Ivan Drago.[13] By July 2022, the project was officially announced by MGM with Robert Lawton serving as screenwriter on the project. Lawton had previously completed a spec script for a movie pitch centered around the making of the first Rocky film. Though the studio did not choose to develop that script, studio executives were impressed enough to hire the writer for the Drago film. The screenplay is stated to be centered around Ivan Drago's backstory.[14][15]

The announcement of the spin-off movie was met with criticism by franchise creator, Stallone. He stated that, while he has tried to attain part of the rights to a franchise he was instrumental in creating, the producers have been "exploiting" his characters while trying to keep him out of the creative team.[16] Following Stallone's response, Lundgren stated that he immediately reached out to his friend, explaining that when the project had been presented to him, he had been informed that Stallone would be involved as a producer, as well as appearing in the movie, having been unaware that Stallone had not yet been approached on announcing the spin-off; the actor further stated that the project had yet to be officially green-lit.[17] While Stallone's reactions were perceived as uncharacteristic to his public image, he later stated that he has since discussed the potential movie with Lundgren.[18]

In March 2023, it was reported that developments on the project are ongoing.[19] By April, Lundgren stated that the script was undergoing rewrites as the previous draft wasn't satisfactory for everyone. He expressed hopes that Stallone would be involved with the project through producing, but also was hopeful that he would appear in the movie.[20][21] In January 2024, Lundgren stated that while the studio had prioritized the Creed movies, the project is still in development. The actor revealed that the plot will center around the characters of Ivan and Viktor Drago; with the pair deciding to leave Russia after the country's invasion of Ukraine, and immigrating to the United States.[22]

Creed IV (TBA)[edit]

In February 2023, Jordan announced that a fourth Creed film was in development, in which he would be reprising the role of Adonis "Donnie" Creed.[23]

Untitled seventh Rocky film (TBA)[edit]

In May 2019, at the Cannes Film Festival, Sylvester Stallone said that he had another story about Rocky Balboa.[24] By July, 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".[25] By May 2020, Stallone said that he is still working on the film, though it has not yet been officially green-lit by the studio.[26] However, in a November 2021 Instagram post, Stallone expressed doubt about the film being greenlit, due to his souring relationship with producer Irwin Winkler.[27] In November 2022, Stallone confirmed that the studio wants another Rocky film, but that negotiations to attain part of the rights to the character from the producers stalled development. He further stated that he is writing the script and that if the studio likes his work, the film will be made.[18]

In February 2023, Stallone posted the first page of the script on a since deleted Instagram post, showing his fans a glimpse at the work he had put into the project. The filmmaker once again expressed doubt that the film will be produced, owing to his feud with Winkler over rights to the franchise.[28]

Short film[edit]

Title U.S. release date Director Screenwriters Producers
Creed: Shinjidai September 22, 2023 (2023-09-22) Yô Moriyama Katsuhiko Manabe & Kensaku Kojima Michael B. Jordan
Official logo, for the anime short film.

In May 2023, Michael B. Jordan announced that an anime-styled animated short would release in Japan at the end of the credits to Creed III. The project was directed by Yô Moriyama, with a script co-written by Katsuhiko Manabe and Kensaku Kojima. The short is a joint-venture production between TMS Animation and Outlier Society Productions. Inspired by his affection for manga and anime mediums, Jordan used the genre as inspiration for scenes in his directorial feature film, with the director/actor commissioning the animation studio to develop a short that could be attached to the end of his movie.[29][30][31][32]

The short film was released in Japan on May 26, 2023; followed by a limited theatrical release in the United States on September 22, 2023;[33] while a world-wide debut will happen at a later date.[29] Officially titled Creed: Shinjidai, the short is a sci-fi interplanetary oriented story about three young boxers in outerspace.[34]

Television[edit]

Rocky prequel series[edit]

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".[35]

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.[36] By May, Stallone said that though there are "certain complications" with developing the series, but that he would "keep punching".[37] 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".[38]

In November 2022, Stallone confirmed that his prequel script which was previously turned down by producers is once again in development for a streaming company. He stated that Amazon's new inclusion in the franchise, is responsible for the progress of the project.[18] In March 2023, it was reported that Amazon intends to expand the franchise, with various projects in development including Stallone's previously identified series. Stallone is expected to be involved with its development.[19] In April of the same year, Stallone signed a collaborative contract for his studio Balboa Productions with MGM and their parent company Amazon Studios, for various television and film projects moving forward.[39] As a part of the negotiation, a series expanding the Rocky franchise was confirmed as being in development from the associated studios.[40]

Creed spinoff projects[edit]

In March 2023, it was announced that Michael B. Jordan would be involved with expanding the franchise with additional Creed spin-offs on Amazon Prime Video. These projects in discussion include an anime series, a live-action series, and a project centered around the daughter of Adonis named Amara Creed.[19] In April of the same year, television projects expanding on Creed were confirmed as being in development.[40]

Main cast and characters[edit]

List indicator(s)

This section includes 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 or audio.
  •  P indicates an appearance in onscreen photographs.
  •  Y indicates a younger version of the character.
Character Rocky films Creed films
Rocky Rocky II Rocky III Rocky IV Rocky V Rocky Balboa Creed Creed II Creed III
1976 1979 1982 1985 1990 2006 2015 2018 2023
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 Carl WeathersP
Michael "Mickey" Goldmill Burgess Meredith Burgess MeredithA Burgess Meredith Burgess MeredithA Burgess MeredithP
Tony "Duke" Evers Tony Burton Tony BurtonA Tony BurtonP
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 Ina 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
Alex HendersonY
Michael B. Jordan Michael B. Jordan
Thaddeus J. MixsonY
Bianca Taylor-Creed Tessa Thompson
Danny "Stuntman" Wheeler Andre Ward
Tony "Little Duke" Burton Wood Harris
"Pretty" Ricky Conlan Tony Bellew Tony Bellew
Viktor Drago Florian Munteanu
Amara Creed Hendrix McDaniel Mila Davis-Kent
Damian "Dame" Anderson Jonathan Majors
Spence Moore IIY

Additional crew and production details[edit]

Film Composer Cinematographer Editor(s) Production companies Distributing company Running time
Rocky Bill Conti James Crabe Scott Conrad & Richard Halsey Chartoff-Winkler Productions United Artists Corporation 119 min
Rocky II Bill Butler Janice Hampton, Stanford C. Allen & Danford B. Greene 120 min
Rocky III Mark Warner & Don Zimmerman United Artists MGM/UA Entertainment Company 100 min
Rocky IV Vince DiCola Don Zimmerman & John W. Wheeler United Artists
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
90 min
Rocky V Bill Conti Steven Poster Michael N. Knue, John G. Avildsen & Robert A. Ferreti United Artists
Star Partners III Ltd.
104 min
Rocky Balboa Clark Mathis Sean Albertson United Artists
Revolution Studios
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Chartoff-Winkler Productions
Columbia Pictures Corporation
MGM Distribution Co. 102 min
Creed Ludwig Göransson Maryse Alberti Michael Shawver & Claudia Castello New Line Cinema
Warner Bros. Pictures
Chartoff-Winkler Productions
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures 133 min
Creed II Kramer Morgenthau Paul Harb, Saira Haider & Dana E. Glauberman New Line Cinema
Balboa Productions
Warner Bros. Pictures
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios
Annapurna Pictures
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
130 min
Creed III Joseph Shirley Tyler Nelson & Jessica Baclesse Proximity Media
Chartoff-Irwin Productions
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 116 min

Reception[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

Film Box office gross Box office ranking Budget Ref.
North America Other territories Worldwide All time North America All time worldwide
Rocky $117,235,147 $107,764,853 $225,000,000 #552
#84 (A)
$1 million [41][42]
Rocky II $85,182,160 $115,000,000 $200,182,160 #863
#253 (A)
$7 million [42][43]
Rocky III $125,049,125 $145,000,000 $270,000,000[44] #498
#160 (A)
$17 million [42][45]
Rocky IV $127,873,716 $172,600,000 $300,473,716 #471
#235 (A)
#451 $28 million [42][46]
Rocky V $40,946,358 $79,000,000 $119,946,358 #2,027 $42 million [42][47]
Rocky Balboa $70,270,943 $85,658,077 $155,929,020 #1,124 $24 million [42][48]
Creed $109,778,883 $63,800,000 $173,578,883 #610 $35 million [49]
Creed II $115,715,889 $98,500,000 $214,215,889 #568 #713 $50 million [50]
Creed III $156,196,108 $117,600,000 $273,796,108 #442 #664 $75 million [51][52]
Total $948,248,326 $984,873,805 $1,932,913,202 #26
#12 (A)
$279 million [42][53][54]
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates information is not available for the film.
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).
  • Rocky III gross includes 1983 re-releases.[55]

Critical and public response[edit]

The Rocky franchise as a whole has received mixed reviews. The Creed franchise as a whole has received positive reviews.

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore[56]
Rocky 91% (69 reviews)[57] 70/100 (14 reviews)[58]
Rocky II 72% (32 reviews)[59] 61/100 (9 reviews)[60]
Rocky III 67% (42 reviews)[61] 57/100 (10 reviews)[62] A+[63]
Rocky IV 37% (49 reviews)[64] 40/100 (13 reviews)[65]
Rocky V 29% (38 reviews)[66] 55/100 (16 reviews)[67] A
Rocky Balboa 77% (181 reviews)[68] 63/100 (36 reviews)[69] B+
Creed 95% (315 reviews)[70] 82/100 (42 reviews)[71] A
Creed II 83% (314 reviews)[72] 66/100 (45 reviews)[73] A
Creed III 88% (329 reviews)[74] 73/100 (61 reviews)[75] A–

Accolades[edit]

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 also 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. Avildsen, 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.[76] In January 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 Creed III
Picture Won
Director Won
Actor Nominated
(Sylvester Stallone)
Actress Nominated
(Talia Shire)
Supporting Actor Nominated
(Burgess Meredith)
Nominated
(Sylvester Stallone)
Nominated
(Burt Young)
Original Screenplay Nominated Ineligible
Film Editing Won
Original Song Nominated
("Gonna Fly Now")
Nominated
("Eye of the Tiger")
Sound Nominated

Music[edit]

Soundtracks[edit]

Title U.S. release date Length Composer(s) Label
Rocky: Original Motion Picture Score November 12, 1976 31:25 Bill Conti United Artists Records
EMI Records/Capitol Records (reissue)
Rocky II: Music by Bill Conti August 25, 1979 35:04 United Artists Records - LP
EMI Manhattan Records - CD
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 Lynn Ahrens
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 Interscope Records
Ear Drummer Records
Creed II: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 50:49 Ludwig Göransson Sony Classical Records
Creed III: The Soundtrack March 3, 2023 Various Dreamville Records
Creed III: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 56:37 Joseph Shirley Sony Classical Records

Singles[edit]

Other media[edit]

Musical[edit]

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.[77][78][79]

Novelizations[edit]

  • 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.[80][81]
  • 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.[82]
  • Rocky III: A novelization written by Robert E. Hoban was published by Ballantine Books in 1982.[83]
  • Rocky IV: A novelization written by Sylvester Stallone, was published by Ballantine Books in 1985.[84]
  • Rocky the Musical: A script written by Thomas Meehan and Sylvester Stallone, was published by Hal Leonard in 2014.

Comic Books[edit]

A manga adaptation of Rocky was published in May 1977 in Monthly Shonen Magazine, written and drawn by female mangaka Tamiki Noda.[85][86]

In July 2023, Boom Studios releases Creed: The Next Round, written by LaToya Morgan and Jai Jamison and illustrated by Wilton Santos, starring Amara Creed and showcasing her fighting career ten years after Creed III.[87]

Video games[edit]

Various licensed video games for various arcade and home console systems were released including:

  • Rocky Super Action Boxing – based on Rocky III and released in 1983.
  • 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 and released in 2007.
  • ROCKY™ – A mobile video game, based on Rocky-Rocky Balboa and released in 2016.
  • Creed: Rise to Glory – Based on Creed and released in 2018.
  • Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions – based on Rocky-Creed II and released in 2021.

Documentaries[edit]

Rocky is featured in the 2017 documentary John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs about Academy Award-winning Rocky director John G. Avildsen, directed and produced by Derek Wayne Johnson.[88]

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.[89]

Director's cut[edit]

A director's cut edition of Rocky IV was originally scheduled to commemorate its 35th anniversary.[90] Ongoing editing ultimately pushed the release date, with Stallone finishing his editing sometime in January 2021. In all, approximately 38 minutes of previously unreleased footage were added to the film, including significant extensions of both fight scenes and the Apollo Creed funeral scene. One reported cut was that of Paulie's robot.[91][92] Robert Doornick, founder of International Robotics and the voice of the robot, commented that Stallone cut all of the robot scenes in the director's cut to save money on royalty fees that were given to Doornick in the original cut.[93]

The cut missed its original November 27, 2020 release, though by February 2021 Stallone stated that they were in the final stages of completing the project.[94] His cut of the film was finished in April.[95] This version had a one-night limited theatrical release on November 11, 2021 and was additionally released in digital formats the following day under the title Rocky IV: Rocky vs. Drago.[96]

In popular culture[edit]

The 2016 film Chuck depicts Chuck Wepner, his 1975 title fight with the heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali, and the fight's influence on the screenplay for Rocky.

Canceled projects[edit]

In the January 2022 issue of Empire, published in November 2021, Ralph Macchio revealed that he had previously been approached about a potential Rocky and The Karate Kid crossover film in 2012, to be directed by John G. Avildsen which would follow Daniel LaRusso's daughter and Milo Ventimiglia's Rocky Balboa Jr. "get[ting] together and open[ing] a dojo". Describing the concept as "awful", Macchio declined reprising his role and the project subsequently entered development hell, before being abandoned in favor of Creed and Cobra Kai individually.[97]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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