When it's over, six films and 634 minutes later, Rocky Balboa’s story continued to be inspiring. It was a journey worth taking and especially special since I watched these films with my two boys, who are both fans of boxing. I grew up watching Slyvester Stallone write, direct, and star in the series that spanned a decade. The first film remained the best, about a no name small time boxer named Rocky (Stallone), who gets a chance at the championship against the reigning champion, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). There was so much emotional power to the first film, that each film that followed built on the characters and after the 6th film, I saw Rocky come full circle as a man and a boxing legend. This was why I wanted to write this review as a series, rather than individual films. It was one of the better rags to riches then back to rags story in film history. The series was a testament of self-endurance and preservation, about fighting for what Rocky believed in and about what was meaningful to him. It touched on family, friendship, loyalty, and even revenge (Rocky IV) against Russian champion, Drago (Dolph Lundgren). The cast remained the same, which lent to the consistency of the films, and truly, an important element to their success. Talia Shire as Rocky’s wife, Adrian, could have been cast differently, but eventually, I could not see another actress portraying Adrian. Adrian was Rocky’s foundation, his rock, and Shire brought the necessary sensitivity and strength to make her character a champion's wife. Burt Young as Paulie, Adrian’s brother, proved to be a thorn in Rocky’s side as well as a confidant, bringing a mixture of frustration, laughs, and admiration. Burgess Meredith as Mickey, Rocky’s coach, served to be the nuts and bolts Rocky needed to succeed as a man and a boxer. My children really liked Apollo and were sad to see the character’s death. Weathers brought attitude and flare to a character that would have otherwise been annoying. Stand out scenes, memorable music, and flawed characters made the Rocky franchise a winning saga, a firm reminder to fight the good fight and never lose sight of what you believe in.
My rating: 5 out of 5