Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burgess Meredith, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Mr. T, Dolph Lundgren, Tommy Morrison and Sage Stallone

John G. Avildsen (Rocky and Rocky V) & Sylvester Stallone (Rocky II, Rocky III and Rocky IV)

"Yo Adrian"

Rocky Balboa is a struggling boxer trying to make the big time. Working in a meat factory in Philadelphia for a pittance, he also earns extra cash as a debt collector. When heavyweight champion Apollo Creed visits Philadelphia, his managers want to set up an exhibition match between Creed and a struggling boxer, touting the fight as a chance for a "nobody" to become a "somebody". The match is supposed to be easily won by Creed, but someone forgot to tell Rocky, who sees this as his only shot at the big time.

Rocky II
After club fighter Rocky Balboa (Stallone) goes the distance with heavyweight champ Apollo Creed (Weathers), boxing fans clamour for a rematch. But Rocky, having sustained massive injuries in the bout, announces his retirement. He concentrates on his relationship with Adrian (Shire), marrying her and attempting to settle into the routine of family life. But as Rocky tries to make a new start for himself, he realizes that he can't escape his true calling. The ring beckons once more, and the "Italian Stallion" must prepare for the fight of his life.

Rocky III
As Rocky Balboa (Stallone) fights his way into the hearts of millions, life couldn't be better. He scores ten consecutive wins, lands lucrative endorsement contracts, and becomes famous throughout the world. But when Clubber Lang K.O's Rocky in a humiliating defeat, it becomes apparent that the "Italian Stallion" has lost his edge. Considering hanging up his gloves, Rocky receives encouragement from an unlikely ally: his old nemesis, Apollo Creed (Weathers). With Creed's help, Rocky strives to regain the "eye of the tiger" before confronting Lang in a gruelling rematch for the world heavyweight championship.

Rocky IV
When Rocky's old friend Apollo Creed is killed during a fight with a super-fit Russian boxer, Ivan Drago, Rocky blames himself for the death when he could have thrown in the towel before the crucial moment. Fuelled by the Russian's arrogance, Rocky arranges a fight with the new champion, only this time on Christmas Day, in Russia...

Rocky V
Upon returning home from his latest triumph, Rocky (Stallone) learns that all of his money has been lost by an unscrupulous financial advisor. To make matters worse, his fight related injuries force his retirement from the ring. So, Rocky, his wife Adrian and his son Rocky Jr. (Sage Stallone) move to their old low-rent neighbourhood in South Philadelphia. There, the fighter must resolve the deep-rooted resentment held by his son, a bitterness that grows when Rocky trains Tommy Gunn (Tommy Morrison), a young boxer who soon rises to national prominence. When Tommy turns against his mentor and publicity taunts him, Rocky knows, despite the fatal danger to his health, he must fight once more...

When it comes to defining boxing movies you have many that will sparring for the title, but for every mention of 'Raging Bull' or the more modern movies like 'Cinderella Man' or 'Million Dollar Baby', one name will be chanted more than any other and that name is Rocky.

Sylvester Stallone's best and most critically acclaimed character Rocky Balboa is a cinematic icon and the embodiment of the American dream. In 1975 when everything seemed to be dark and serious, with nothing projecting any light at the end of the tunnel but then along came an extremely small budgeted film that took an everyday man and gave him the world. A low level collector for a street hoodlum who is about to be thrown of his boxing gym, he receives a chance at a shot at the Heavy Weight Championship of the World. The film hit a cord and gave people back hope and belief that good things could happen.

What made 'Rocky' different is its all round appeal. Set in Philadelphia, the film concentrated not on the boxing but on the character of Rocky and his small number of friends that pushed him to that first heavy weight shot. This is the film's real strength and all of the credit has to go to Sylvester Stallone. The writer and star of the film pours his heart and soul into the movie, making the character of Rocky and his story one of the true great Hollywood characters. At the heart of the movie is Rocky's relationship with the love of his life Adrian, played by the wonderful Talia Shire. It is their romance and love that drives the film and is the heart of the movie. There is also the relationship between Rocky and his manager Mickey, played by the brilliant Burgess Meredith. This is a father/son relationship and the drive of Rocky, his consciousness as he trains him for the most important fight of his life. After the first film went on to critical acclaim and Oscar success, the story of Rocky Balboa wasn't quite over.

In 1979 Sylvester Stallone stepped behind the camera to direct the first of four sequels. After narrowly losing to the champion, the public demand a rematch. Again the film concentrates on the characters, showing how Rocky copes with his newfound celebrity and his relationship with Adrian. In inevitable rematch happens at the climax of the movie but this is your typical fight, as Rocky and Apollo fight again until that final round.

The third film sees the newly crowned Heavy Weight Champion of the World cope with all the trappings that come with the title. As money is thrown at him and he defends his title with ease, Rocky becomes complacent thinking that he is invincible. Of course there is a new challenger in the shape of Clumber Lang, played by Mr T. who made his motion picture debut in the film. As with anybody who becomes complacent, they are bound to lose what they have gained and Rocky faces the biggest fight of his life to get everything back. This is the movie that starts Rocky down the Hollywood road, as commercialism of the franchise stars to take a hold. The fights become more outrageous and slightly far-fetched, with the impact sounds of the punches sounding more like sledgehammers hitting concrete but the entertainment factor and the sense of character is still there, only not as abundant.

The fourth film in the franchise adds a political subplot to the franchise. Set against the Cold War standoff between the US and Russia, Rocky takes on the Ivan Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren, after he kills Apollo Creed in an exhibition bout. This is a Hollywood spectacle of a movie, with a big budget and a soundtrack to accompany the many set pieces and montages that grace the film. Again the character development suffers for the grandiose message of peace and the final fight.

Rocky's fifth story takes the people's champion full circle. After losing all of his money to a fraudulent accountant, Rocky is forced to return to the Philadelphia neighbourhood where we first met him. Taking over Mickey's old gym, Rocky becomes the manager of an up and coming fighter called Tommy Gunn, played by real life fighter Tommy Morrison, who becomes the next big heavy weight hope but soon becomes consumed by the money and fame that become associated with it. While this movie tries to inject some of the character driven storylines that dominated the first three films but the performances and some of the storylines really let the film down, making it a disappointing end to the franchise (for now…)

The Rocky Anthology is a bit of a mixed bag. The first two films are very good and the third and fourth are entertaining but the fifth film doesn't really live up to the standard set by the earlier movies. All of the Rocky films are uplifting however and you can't help but enjoy them as they are knockout entertainment.

Rocky II

Rocky III
Rocky IV

Rocky V


Audio Commentary with director, producer and cast for Rocky
Director John G. Avildsen, producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, cinematographer and SteadyCam inventor Garrett Brown and stars Burt Young, Talia Shire and Carl Weathers, contribute to an intermixed commentary track. Recorded for the 25th Anniversary release in 2000, the cast and crew talk during key scenes about the characters, filming techniques and working with Burgess Meredith and Sylvester Stallone. The absence of the star and writer is a major downfall for the track but for an intermixed track, it isn't too bad.

Special Featurettes

Behind the Scenes with John Avildsen (11.53 mins)
The director of Rocky introduces 8mm footage of the makeup tests and fight rehearsals. The footage shows how Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers researched the fights and worked on making them as realistic as possible.

Tribute to Burgess Meredith (7.26 mins)
Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young and Carl Weathers talk about the great actor and what he brought to the Oscar winning movie. The group talk fondly about what it was like to work with him and remember some of the one set stories he used to tell.

Tribute to James Crabe (3.25 mins)
Director John G. Avildsen talks about Rocky's cinematographer. He reveals more about his style and what it was like working with him.


Staccato - Bill Conti: The Composer's Notebook (11.00 mins)
A new interview with composer Bill Conti, as he talks about his creation and impact of the Rocky theme. He discusses how the music enhances certain scenes, concentrating on Adrian and Rocky scenes, the training montage and the final fight.

Makeup!: The Art and Form (14.32 mins)
Makeup designer and supervisor Michael Westmore talks about working on Rocky. He takes you through the preparation and designing processes for the movie, highlighting the pieces and makeup used during the fight sequences. He also talks about his career and his work on 'Raging Bull' and 'Star Trek'.

SteadyCam: Then and Now (16.44 mins)
Rocky cameraman and SteadyCam inventor Garrett Brown talk about the development of the revolutionary device and its use on the Oscar winning motion picture. Including the original test footage of him running up the same Philadelphia Art Museum steps that were made so famous in the movie. He also talks about filming the fight and how you can actually see him in some of the distant, establishing shots during the confrontation.

Video Commentary with Sylvester Stallone (28.52 mins)
The writer and star of the Oscar winning movie reflects on Rocky and how the character has affected his life and career. Speaking passionately, he reveals how he wrote the screenplay and his influences behind it. He also discusses how he approached the role and the casting of the picture as he talks about the characters and what the actors brought to them. This is a fascinating insight into the film and an honest reflection from the now superstar.

Original Trailers
Watch the teaser and full trailers for 'Rocky' and previews of the four sequels.


The Rocky Anthology is not the ultimate edition like MGM claim. This is simply a collection of all five films and the extras disc from the 25th anniversary release of the Oscar winning original. This means there is no support material for the four sequels, which is extremely disappointing. A feature length documentary on the Rocky franchise should have been included because its absence means that this package is very lacking.


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