These Scenes Are a Knockout
“Creed II” is finally being released tomorrow which means our favorite boxer-turned-trainer Rocky Balboa is back! This time, Rocky must confront his past as he guides Apollo’s son Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) towards a vengeful and dangerous fight with the son of Ivan Drago, the man who killed Apollo in “Rocky IV”. While we wait for the bell to ring and the film to drop, let’s look back at 5 of the most iconic moments from the first seven “Rocky” movies. We’ll be ranking our picks based on the quality of the scene, its impact on the overall series, and the legacy it has left behind. Also: spoiler alert!
#5: Rocky’s Speech to His Son “Rocky Balboa” (2006)
After the… um… disappointment of “Rocky V,” it was nice to see such a return to quality with “Rocky Balboa.” One of the most notable scenes of the movie sees Robert approaching Rocky and telling him to quit because he fears that Rocky will make a fool of himself and tarnish his own reputation. This leads Rocky into a beautiful speech about determination, believing in yourself, and paving your own way in life. It perfectly encapsulates everything that the series represents in a few short minutes, and it proves to be an enormous inspiration not just for Robert, but also for everyone watching in the theatre or at home.
#4: Rocky Defeats Apollo “Rocky II” (1979)
“Rocky” was never really about actually winning the fight, but damn if it isn’t incredibly satisfying. A particularly brutal bout leaves both Apollo and Rocky completely exhausted, resulting in their collapse to the mat. What follows is pure suspense and drama, as the ref counts up while they both try to regain their footing. At nine, Apollo collapses, Rocky stands, the music swells, and the tears start flowing. The entire scene is a perfect blend of editing, acting, and music, and it warms our hearts each and every time. With this, Rocky went the distance and then some, and we couldn’t be prouder.
#3: Apollo’s Death “Rocky IV” (1985)
What better way to introduce your new villain than to have them literally kill one of the series’ most beloved characters? In what was only supposed to be a simple exhibition bout, Drago completely pummeled Apollo to his death and showed no remorse while Rocky cradled his lifeless body. It’s a devastating scene that not only portrays Drago as a heartless, unstoppable killing machine, but also is a brilliant curveball that showcases the series’ unpredictability. No one truly expected Apollo to die, especially after that ridiculous and lighthearted Living in America scene. We can’t help but feel a sense of smug satisfaction when Rocky eventually takes down Drago in front of his home crowd.
#2: Adrian! “Rocky” (1976)
Is there a more enthralling ending in movie history? Even if there is, this one is pretty darned good. Not only is the fight itself beautifully filmed and exciting, but also the moment of Rocky yelling for Adrian is now a classic piece of cinema history. We watch as Rocky ignores reporters and the results of the match, wishing only for Adrian to join him on the mat. It’s a tender and heartwarming scene that highlights the importance of determination and self-satisfaction over concrete results, and it ends the romantic story of Rocky and Adrian on a lovely note. Who amongst us hasn’t yelled “Adrian!” at least once in our lives?
#1: The Training Montage “Rocky” (1976)
While punching a slab of meat may look cool, nothing beats the sheer excitement of a genuine training montage. The training montage is easily one of the most famous scenes in cinematic history. It’s a perfect blend of character work and filmmaking, as Rocky grows as an athlete and as a character while the movie shows it to us through brilliant editing and inspirational music. It’s capped with the most iconic moment of the entire franchise – Rocky standing atop the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art overlooking his city, a brilliant metaphor for his rise in stature. The Rocky Steps have since become a major tourist destination, as well as proof of the millions of lives that this scene inspired and touched.
If you don’t see your favorite “Rocky” moment on the list above, make sure to watch the full video below and see our pick of the Top 10 Best Moments From The Rocky Franchise: