Ultimate Underdog Story- Ranking All 7 Rocky Movies

Ranking the Rocky Franchise

Ultimate Underdog Story- Ranking All 7 Rocky Movies

The only person who might be a bigger underdog than Rocky Balboa is the man who portrays him. When Sylvester Stallone wrote ‘Rocky’ in the early 70’s, he had no idea that it would find the success that it did. He knew it was good, but he didn’t know it was that good. He also knew that he was the only one who could actually be Rocky Balboa, and he threatened to bury the screenplay for Rocky if the studio offered the role to James Caan. For a while, it was truly Stallone vs the world and it seemed like he was the only one who truly believed that he could be Rocky. Eventually, the studio obliged and Sly proved himself in abundance. Rocky won the Academy Award for Best Picture and spawned 7ish sequels, with the most recent entry, Creed II, hitting theaters in late 2018.

Rocky, for whatever reason, captured the hearts of moviegoers over 40 years ago. When Stallone decided to revisit the world of Rocky in 2006, critics and fans scoffed. What story could possibly be left? Well, Stallone again proved his critics wrong and Rocky Balboa, the series’ 6th entry, had just as much heart as the original. It also provided a fitting end to the Rocky franchise. Or so we thought.

While no longer the series’ main character, Rocky is still fighting the good fight, this time alongside the son of his bitter enemy-turned-better friend. Again, audiences chose to doubt Stallone. But Creed, the 7th film in Rocky’s world, was a hit as well. Creed II is about to hit theaters and, if history serves as an example, it will be a knockout as well. To commemorate Creed II, we have ranked all 7 previous entries of the Rocky Franchise. Some films are better than others, but they all prove what Sylvester Stallone knew all along- Rocky was the ultimate underdog.

7) Rocky V (1990)

Ranking the Rocky Franchise

Rocky V is really the only ‘miss’ of the Rocky franchise. At first thought to be the series finale, so to speak, Rocky V missed everything that made the previous four Rocky films so good. It wasn’t inspirational. It didn’t portray Rocky as an underdog. In fact, it portrayed him as a retired, destitute, washed-up hanger-on, mentoring an entitled douchebag named Tommy Gunn. We hate Tommy Gunn. Everybody hates Tommy Gunn. For 16 years, we thought the 5th Rocky movie was the last. Thank God Rocky Balboa came along- otherwise we might have had to call Gunn Rocky’s last opponent. Mr. T, he was not.

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6) Rocky IV (1985)

Ranking the Rocky Franchise

“I must break you.” That was what Russian powerhouse Ivan Drago told Rocky in the 4th film of the franchise. He almost did, too. Drago was seen as an immovable object. Little did he know that Rocky was an irresistible force. Drago was a machine, chiseled out of granite. He had the strength, but he lacked heart. Rocky had more than enough, though. This was good because he needed anything he could get to take on the Russian Robot. Drago almost took everything from Rocky, but he couldn’t take his heart. Nobody could. Especially Tommy Gunn. We hate Tommy Gunn.

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5) Rocky III (1982)

Ranking the Rocky Franchise

We pity the fool who didn’t like Rocky 3. While not viewed as a classic, like its two predecessors, Rocky III had everything one would want in a Rocky film. It had insurmountable odds, tragedy, a comeback, and Mr. T. It also featured Hulk Hogan in a role that would directly contribute to his rise to superstardom in the then-WWF. Rocky 3 was the prototypical Rocky movie. It lacked the DIY feel of the first two films, but it gave the world Mr. T and that’s more than good enough for us. You know what’s not good for us, or anybody, for that matter? Tommy Gunn.

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4) Rocky Balboa (2006)

Ranking the Rocky Franchise

The comeback story of the 2000’s was Rocky Balboa. Initially laughed off as a vanity project used to make a quick buck off a legend’s name, Rocky Balboa was not supposed to succeed. It wasn’t supposed to be any good; certainly, it had no right to be as good as it actually was. But Rocky Balboa proved to be the series closer that Rocky V tried, and failed miserably, to be. Yes, Rocky was older but he was still the Italian Stallion that we all knew and loved. Both Rocky, and Sylvester Stallone had something left to prove. They both proved themselves tenfold and, if Rocky Balboa had been the end of the Rocky story, it would have been appropriate. Luckily, the Rocky story still wasn’t over and, while Balboa has nothing left to prove, a certain angry young man with the last name of Creed has a lot to prove, to himself, to Balboa and to Apollo. He doesn’t have to prove anything to Tommy Gunn, though. Cause nobody cares about Tommy Gunn’s opinion.

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3) Creed (2015)

Ranking the Rocky Franchise

Rocky Balboa would have been a fine ending to the Rocky saga and, in some ways, it was. Creed, along with its upcoming sequel, isn’t a Rocky movie, per say. It tells the story of Adonis Johnson (played perfectly by Michael B. Jordan), a very angry young man who never knew his biological father, the infamous Apollo Creed. Creed died before Adonis was born and that was the beginning of Adonis’ anger. Looking for a way to channel that anger without spending his life in prison, Johnson seeks out his father’s former opponent, Rocky Balboa, and asks the retired champ to train him. This film, like Rocky Balboa, was initially brushed off. Then, people actually saw it. And it was really, really good. So good, in fact, that a sequel was announced and will be released in late 2018. While Rocky is not front and center anymore, he excels at playing the trainer of Johnson, leading him on a journey to reclaim the name Creed. Any chance Tommy Gunn had a son? Cause we’d love to see Adonis knock him TF out.

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2) Rocky II (1979)

Ranking the Rocky Franchise

Viewed by some as even better than the original, Rocky II revisits Balboa immediately following his epic fight against Apollo Creed. Rocky, once an unknown underdog, is now a famous spokesperson. The only problem is, Rocky isn’t much of a public speaker. He does not excel at acting in commercials. He’s a fighter, that’s all. He was born to fight. This is something he knows, deep down, but he has to convince the love of his wife, Adrian, of this fact, despite her pleas to the contrary. Rocky didn’t win his fight against Apollo in the first film, but he didn’t lose, either. He wants a rematch. Apollo wants a rematch, too. These two were on a collision course and no amount of head injuries is going to stop them. Neither is Tommy Gunn. Because he can’t stop anybody.

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1) Rocky (1976)

Ranking the Rocky Franchise

The one that started it all, Rocky tells the story of Rocky Balboa, a small-time, working-class boxer who is plucked from obscurity and planted front and center in the spotlight. Standing across from him is Apollo Creed, the champion of, and best in, the world. Creed is looking for a fight. He wants to show off, prove that he’s a fighting champion, and maybe earn some respect from his critics. When his original opponent is injured, Creed handpicks Balboa to compete against him. This proves to be a mistake, as Rocky is more than just a jobber. He brings the fight to Creed, and he proves to the world that heart beats out brute strength. Whether Rocky wins or loses the fight is irrelevant- he took it to the champ and proved that he belonged in the ring. With this film, Stallone proved that he belonged at the top of Hollywood, unlike Tommy Gunn, who will never be at the top of anything.

We hate Tommy Gunn.

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