By Florence Waters
1:15PM GMT 21 Nov 2011
Rocky, 1976 The then-unknown Sylvester Stallone wrote and starred in the low budget feature film about second-rate club boxer Rocky Balboa who must take on a heavyweight champion. The story was inspired by a real 1975 fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner. The film was famously shot in just 28 days, and was the highest grossing film of its release year (1977) after winning the Oscar for Best Picture. Directed by John G. Avildsen, the film propelled Stallone to stardom, and became a classic of American cinema.
Rocky 2, 1979 Stallone’s directed the first sequel about Rocky’s demise after a brief period of fame. It suffered classic sequel fever; critics complained about its predictable story line, and felt that it did not live up to its predecessor. While the film featured a great final fight scene, the work as a whole is a cruder piece of filmmaking.
Rocky 3, 1982 Stallone managed to keep the character development interesting in the third film, which sees Rocky sink into depression after losing his title. The fighting continues but feels like crowd-pleasing fare. The Rocky vehicle is still in the ring at this point. “Bigger but not better,” was the critics’ consensus.
Rocky 4, 1985 Rocky fans began to drop off here as the Stallone wallows in melodrama and Cold War patriotism. Rocky is invited to the Soviet Union where he vows to take revenge on his friend Apollo Creed’s killer.
Rocky 5, 1990 With Oscar-winning director John G. Avildsen back at the helm, surely Rocky’s fate would begin to improve? Not so. In this, the sloppiest of the sequels, Rocky becomes a trainer in a working-class Philadelphia neighbourhood. He becomes a mentor to a young talent, which sparks a father-son drama at home for Rocky. The BBC’s critic said the film was “like watching some favourite relative die”.
This was touted as the final film in the franchise. But, thankfully, true to his fictional character, Stallone proved he was not prepared to throw in the towel when things hit a low.
Rocky Balboa (Rocky 6), 2006 Critically-speaking, this 2006 sequel is regarded as the best of the follow-up films. Stallone wrote, directed and starred in the film which sees Rocky come out of retirement to face much younger opponent, Mason Dixon.
Rocky the musical, 2012 It was Stallone’s idea to commission this musical show, which has been written by Tony Award-winning Ragtime songwriters Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and Tony-winning librettist Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) wrote the musical. The show is expected to include the original film's popular, Oscar-nominated song Gonna Fly Now, as well as the Oscar-nominated Eye of the Tiger from Rocky III. It will premiere in Hamburg next year and then Broadway in 2013.
Orignal From: Previous productions of Rocky