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Top 10 Best Moments From The Rocky Franchise

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp

Now this is a classic series. For this list, we’ll be looking at 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! Join WatchMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Moments from The Rocky Franchise.

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/+Top+10+Moments+From+The+Rocky+Franchise. Special thanks to our users Jedimperial96, Andrew A. Dennison, thenewjord50 and Xjx Highlights for suggesting this idea!


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Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 Moments from The Rocky Franchise

Now this is a classic series. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Moments from the Rocky Franchise.

For this list, we’ll be looking at 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!

#10: Rocky vs. Clubber Lang

“Rocky III” (1982)

The first two “Rocky” movies were primarily about overcoming adversity. The fights remained relatively grounded (despite a little Hollywood-ization in “Rocky II”) and they were more about Rocky’s pride and sense of accomplishment than the fight itself. And then “Rocky III” came along and gave us pure spectacle. Not that it was a bad thing! The Rocky/Lang rematch is arguably the most popular fight of the entire franchise, mostly due to Mr. T’s charisma, the excitement, and the shameless off-the-wall style (complete with ridiculous “whoosh” noises and punches that sound like explosions). The fight is pure cheese, and we love every minute of it.

#9: Rocky & Donnie Climb the Steps

“Creed” (2015)

If the series ended here, we would have been more than happy. Throughout “Creed,” Rocky must grapple with the passage of time and his own mortality. Almost everyone he loved –Adrian, Paulie, Apollo, and Mickey – is now dead, and he has been diagnosed with cancer. It’s fitting that the final scene of the movie sees Rocky and Donnie climbing the famous steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It’s a beautiful and symbolic way to pass the torch to a new generation of fighters and films, and it had us all secretly crying in the dark of the theater. While we love the spectacle, these are the moments that make the “Rocky” series such a classic.

#8: Skating with Adrian

“Rocky” (1976)

Despite its lack of pizzazz, this is arguably one of the cutest and most realistic depictions of a first date ever put to screen. The entire scene is simply adorable; Rocky is head-over-heels for this girl and can’t stop talking due to his excitement and nerves, and Adrian simply skates and listens due to her shyness and unease. Meanwhile, a guy awkwardly interjects to let them know how much time is remaining while Rocky becomes increasingly irritated. It’s a small, intimate scene that allows us to grow more attached to these characters and their relationship, and it makes us smile every time.

#7: Mick’s Death

“Rocky III” (1982)

Despite “Rocky III” being a little more Hollywood and grandiose than its predecessors, it still found time for deeply upsetting and personal scenes like this. Once Mickey is shoved by Clubber Lang, he suffers a heart attack and is taken to the dressing room. When Rock returns from the fight, Mickey falsely believes that Rocky won and contently dies next to his apprentice. It’s a heartbreaking scene that at once disposes of a fan favorite character and showcases Sylvester Stallone’s surprisingly solid acting chops. It’s always hard to see a tough and reserved man show such incredible emotion, and it’s not any easier here.

#6: “Win.”

“Rocky II” (1979)

Rocky is fraught with personal difficulties throughout “Rocky II.” First Adrian doesn’t approve of his return to boxing, fearing for his health. This leads his mind to wander, and his game is thrown off. Then she falls into a coma, and Rocky completely abandons his plans to watch over her instead. When she finally emerges, they celebrate their new baby and Adrian finally gives him her approval by looking him dead in the eyes and telling him to “win.” The music swells, Mick gets super pumped, and the famous training montage begins. Rocky is back, baby. If this scene doesn’t give you goosebumps, then nothing will.

#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 theater 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?

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Rocky Downs the Eggs

“Rocky” (1976)

Donnie’s Training Montage

“Creed” (2015)

The Mickey Flashback

“Rocky V” (1990)

#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.


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