After Rocky loses the title to vicious boxer Clubber Lang, he loses faith
in himself and is given a second chance by his old rival Apollo Creed.
Rocky III (1982)
Written and Directed by Sylvester Stallone
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Carl Weathers,
Burt Young, Burgess Meredith, Mr. T, Tony Burton, Hulk Hogan
Sequel to 1979's Rocky II
Oscar Nominations - Best Original Song (Eye of the Tiger)
Very few franchises are consistently uplifting, but the Rocky movies have a special kind of heart that only comes from watching a former bum from Philly knock someone's block off. Rocky III is another great entry in this franchise, with the Italian Stallion receiving his first knockout from a vicious maniac who causes him to lose all faith in himself. Coupled with the death of his longtime friend and manager Mickey (Burgess Meredith), Rocky doesn't see a way out. That is, until an old rival agrees to teach him how to box like a champ.
The best part of this film is the budding friendship between former enemies Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). Apollo teaches Rocky how to become a boxer instead of a brawler, which helps him defeat Clubber Lang (Mr. T) in one of the most exciting boxing matches in film. Also, blasting Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" gave the film some pretty badass credentials to begin with. I could have gone without the bizarre charity wrestling event with a scantily clad Hulk Hogan. I'll have that unsettling image seared into my brain for the rest of my life.
Rocky III continues the franchise's reputation of balancing drama and boxing, though there was a lot more corniness this time around. I enjoyed Rocky's transformation into a full-fledged boxer and his partnership with Apollo gave the character some much-needed closure with the most important fight of his life. This franchise has finally given me a reason to watch sports movies or, at the very least, movies about boxing.