The iconic tale of an underdog against a champion, Rocky is a pop culture icon of determination, optimism and true grit. With six movies in the series and 2 spinoffs, the Rocky movies deserve a day to binge watch the entirety of it.
Set in 1975, Apollo Creed, a world boxing champion announces a competition for the title in Philadelphia. 5 weeks prior to the big day, he receives news that his opponent is injured and it is tough to find substitutes as everyone is booked or unavailable. He decides to give a local fighter a chance. Enter, Robert Rocky Balboa hailing from an Italian neighbourhood. With Mighty Mick, a former boxer as his trainer he prepares for the battle.
At the end of “Rocky”, despite having lost the match, the Italian Stallion walks out with the respect of both his opponent and the spectators. He retires from boxing and settles down with his girlfriend Adrian, proposing to her. However, Apollo Creed, his opponent in the first movie, is obsessed with rectifying the fact that Rocky nearly beat him in the match. Fueled further into claiming that he could knock Rocky out in 2 rounds, Balboa takes up Creed’s challenge to a rematch, much to the disapproval of his wife and brother-in-law. Injuries sustained in his previous matches cause doctors to advise him to not box anymore, but with the help of his trainer Mickey, he prepares for the fight ahead, even harder than the last because Creed knows not to underestimate him now. A respectable sequel to the hit that was “Rocky”, “Rocky II” is as heart-warming and makes you root for the underdog.
The events of “Rocky II” led Rocky to embrace his newfound fame and fortune, and he is riding high with a statue of him being unveiled at Philadelphia, when he is interrupted by Clubber Lang, a boxer rapidly rising up the ranks. Lang insults and goads him into a match, where he is easily defeated due to his overconfidence and half-hearted training. To win back the title, Apollo Creed, Rocky’s former nemesis, offers to help him regain his edge and beat Lang.
After their training in “Rocky III”, Creed and Balboa are now friends. When Ivan Drago, a Russian boxer, arrives in the United States proclaiming to be the “most perfectly trained athlete ever”, Creed feels compelled to challenge him as his patriotic duty. Rocky agrees to train him for the match, but it goes horribly wrong as Apollo is battered and on the brink of death. Despite his injuries, Apollo does not want to back down. Rocky respects his wishes and does not throw in the towel, and Creed is killed in the match with a final blow. Guilt-ridden by his inability to save Apollo, Rocky challenges Drago to a match himself, and despite protests from his wife, refuses to back down.
By the end of “Rocky IV”, the protagonist has been in several matches, with constant blows to the head leading to permanent brain damage. He is unable to participate in any more fights and reluctantly retires. A financial error by his accountant leads him nearly go bankrupt. He, instead, works on restoring the gym of his former trainer, Mickey. He mentors up-and-coming boxer Tommy “The Machine” Gunn. As Gunn rises through the ranks of the boxing world, he is constantly seen trapped in Rocky’s shadow and only seen as his lesser. He leaves Rocky but is ridiculed by the media for not being a real champion as he hasn’t won the title from Balboa and that he would never be Rocky Balboa. An infuriated Gunn challenges Rocky to leave his shadow once and for all.
More than a decade after the previous movie in the franchise came “Rocky Balboa”, a proper conclusion to Rocky’s story. Retired and managing a restaurant named after his wife, who died years ago, he has left the boxing life behind him. A fighting simulation that aired on ESPN showed Rocky in his prime, fighting current champion Mason Dixon. The simulation ends with a victory for Rocky. Inspired by the outcome, Balboa agrees to a match between him and Mason. The return to boxing is not smooth; Rocky faces hostility and derision from the media and Dixon who calls him a relic, and his son who can’t understand why he would return to the sport after so long. His age has caught up to him as well, slowing him down.
A spin-off of the “Rocky” movies, “Creed” showcases the story of Adonis Creed or Donnie, the son of Apollo Creed. His dream to be a boxer is riddled with problems. Any who know his parentage beg him to reconsider so as to not die boxing like his father. Undaunted, Creed goes to his father’s friend and boxing legend Rocky Balboa to ask to train him. Heavyweight champion Ricky Conlan challenges Donnie to a match, under the condition that he change his name to Adonis Creed. Donnie is averse to the idea, as he does not want to live in his father’s shadow forever. He accepts the condition and trains under Balboa for the defining fight of his life. Many parallels emerge between the match and the match in “Rocky”; the underdog against a reigning champion.
Creed 2 is the eighth installation of the Rocky series and the sequel to Creed (2015). The legacy of Rocky Balboa lives on in this action-packed boxing movie that follows the fighting career of Adonis creed and his struggles with the ghosts of his father’s past. The new heavyweight boxing world champion, Adonis Creed is challenged by Viktor Drago, a brutal Ukrainian boxer, son of the man who killed his father in the boxing ring. As Adonis struggles to hold onto his championship title, the legendary but ageing Rocky Balboa guides him through the deadly fight masterminded by his old, scheming nemesis, Ivan Drago. Emotions, pride, respect, and glory are all tied into this single fight where Creed has everything to lose and Drago has none.