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  • Writer's pictureThomas Duncan

Rocky II (1979)

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: Identity; what are you after your 15 minutes of fame?

Plot Summary: After losing the heavyweight title fight, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) attempts to find a life after boxing. He marries his girlfriend, Adrian (Talia Shire) and starts a family. However, when he realizes that he has little skill other than boxing, he decides to relent and fight Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) again. Opposed by Adrian because of his health, Rocky struggles to train and meet Apollo’s challenge. With Micky (Burgess Meredith) as his trainer and confidant, Rocky must determine his future and whether he will summon the inner strength to defeat Creed this time around.


  • Sylvester Stallone as Robert "Rocky" Balboa/Writer/Director

  • Talia Shire as Adrian Balboa

  • Burt Young as Paulie Pennino

  • Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed

  • Burgess Meredith as Michael "Mickey" Goldmill

  • Tony Burton as Tony "Duke" Evers

  • Sylvia Meals as Mary Anne Creed

  • Joe Spinell as Tony Gazzo


  • Rocky II opened on June 15, 1979. It is a direct sequel to the Best Picture winning film of 1976.

  • In the United States and Canada, the film grossed $6,390,537 during its opening weekend, and $8.1 million in four days. It went on to gross $85,182,160 at the North American box office, and $200,182,160 worldwide. It would finish in the top three highest-grossing films of 1979, in both the North American market and worldwide.

  • Just as in the previous installment, Bill Conti composed the film's music. A soundtrack album containing Conti's score was released on August 25, 1979, and charted on the Billboard 200 for five consecutive weeks.

  • Rocky II holds a 72% among critics on RT, a 61 score on Metacritic, and a 3.6 out of 5 on Letterboxd.

Did You Know:

  • Chuck Wepner, the real-life inspiration for Rocky (1976), was offered the part of a trainer named "Chink Weber". According to Wepner, he read for Sylvester Stallone but did very poorly. The character was deleted from the script. The name "Chink Weber" ended up being used for Sonny Landham's character in Stallone's movie Lock Up (1989).

  • When Rocky is training for the fight, he is sparring with a smaller quicker fighter. The sparring partner is played by real life Champion Roberto Durán.

  • In one version of the screenplay, there is a flashback scene that shows Rocky first meeting Mickey and we learn Rocky's real first name: Robert.

  • In the first draft of the script, the fight took place at the Roman Colosseum.

  • 800 local schoolchildren were used as extras for the scene depicting Rocky's run through Philadelphia.

  • Analysis by Philadelphia locals tracked the route Rocky took through the city during his training run when all the children ended up running with him. If he took this actual route from his South Philly house to the top of the Art Museum steps he would've run approximately 30.2 miles in one day - 4 miles more than a marathon.

  • During his preparation for the film, Sylvester Stallone was bench-pressing 220 pounds, when the weight fell and tore his right pectoral muscle. This was shortly before the fight scene was to be filmed, and ultimately, the scene was shot with Stallone still badly injured.

  • After the bell rings, signaling the end of the second round, Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers are seen pushing, shoving, taunting, and ultimately being pulled apart by their respective cornermen. They continue to taunt each other before returning to their corners. Stallone revealed later they were actually angry with each other and were not acting at that point, several blows that were supposed to miss him landed and the carefully choreographed fight, which they spent months meticulously planning out, went off-track during that scene, but he liked the reaction the scene produced. He decided to leave their momentary breaking of character in and the viewing audience never realized the two actors were in reality quite livid with each other.

  • It took Sylvester Stallone and editors Danford B. Greene and Stanford C. Allen over eight months to edit the climatic fight scene so as to meet Stallone's approval.

Best Performance: Burgess Meredith (Mick)/Sylvester Stallone (Rocky)

Best Secondary Performance: Burgess Meredith (Mick)/Talia Shire (Adrian)/Carl Weathers (Apollo)

Most Charismatic Award: Carl Weathers (Apollo)/Sylvester Stallone (Rocky)

Best Scene:

  • Flashback Opening

  • 15 Minutes of Fame

  • Rocky Does Commercials

  • Rocky at the Packing Plant and the Gym

  • Creed Calls Out Rocky

  • Chicken Chase

  • Adrian Falls Ill

  • Gonna Fly Now

  • First Rounds

  • I'm Not Going Down Again

  • Final Round

Favorite Scene: Gonna Fly Now/Chicken Chase

Most Indelible Moment: "Win!"/Boxing Sequences

In Memorium:

  • Gray Fredrickson, 85, American Film Producer (The Godfather: Part II and Apocalypse Now) - "the Godfather of Oklahoma Film".

  • Mickey Kuhn, 90, American actor (Gone with the Wind and Red River).

  • Jason David Frank, 49, American actor (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Sweet Valley High, The Junior Defenders) and mixed martial artist.

  • James Winburn, 85, American stuntman (Halloween, The Stunt Man, Pale Rider), actor and film director (1988's Evil Altar, 1991's The Death Merchant, and 1993's Miami Beach Cops). Was the original Michael Myers stuntman from Halloween (1979), and worked on over 70 films throughout his career.

  • Nicki Aycox, 47, American actress (Dark Blue, Jeepers Creepers 2, Cold Case). After she retired from acting in 2014, she acquired a following through her healthy eating and vegan lifestyle website Cashews and Olives.

  • Robert Clary, 96, French-American actor (Hogan's Heroes, Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful). A Parisian Jew who survived the Holocaust after losing 10 of 13 siblings and his parents to it. A longtime mostly TV actor who found a second life in Soap Operas after his fame in Hogan's Heroes.

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Gazo: How's about investing in condominiums? It's safe.

Rocky Balboa: Condominiums?

Gazo: Yeah, condominiums.

Rocky Balboa: I never use 'em.

Interviewer: Do you have a criminal record?

Rocky Balboa: Nothin' worth braggin' about.

Rocky Balboa: I feel like a Kentucky Fried idiot.

Rocky Balboa: I was wonderin' if, uh, you wouldn't mind marryin' me very much.

Mickey: Why do you have to wear that stinkin' sweatsuit?

Rocky Balboa: It brings me luck, you know?

Mickey: Brings you luck! I'll tell you what it brings, it brings flies!

Rocky: Yo, Adrian...I did it!

Adrian: There's one thing I want you to do for me.

Rocky Balboa: What's that?

Adrian: Win...Win!

Mickey: You're gonna eat lightnin'; you're gonna crap thunder.

Reporter: Rocky, what did you think going into the last round?

Rocky Balboa: I don't know. That I should have stayed in school or something.

The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 5.33

Impact/Significance: 8.17

Novelty: 6

Classic-ness: 7.33

Rewatchability: 7.5

Audience Score: 8.6 (90% Google, 82% RT)

Total: 42.93

Remaining Questions:

  • Before Rocky's famous run as well as driving to the match, Rocky has his Trans Am again that he sold to Paulie; how did he get it back?

  • Why doesn't Rocky ever cover his face up if his biggest concern is protecting his eye?

  • How does Rocky win the fight if he never actually confirms with the referee that he's ok to continue; he immediately falls into someone's arms after the fight is called?

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