[[caption-width-right:350:[[TrainingMontage Gonna fly now!]]]]
->'''Rocky Balboa:''' There ain't nothin' over till it's over.\\
'''Mason Dixon:''' Where's that from, the '80s?\\
'''Rocky Balboa:''' That's probably the '70s.
-->-- ''Film/RockyBalboa''

A series of six movies set around boxing's favorite {{underdog|sNeverLose}}, "The Italian Stallion" Rocky Balboa.

The idea for the first film was inspired when Creator/SylvesterStallone, then a down-on-his-luck-actor, went to see a Muhammad Ali bout against Chuck Wepner. Wepner was a tough fighter with a lot of heart but little skill and a bad record, and he was most famous for frequently bleeding profusely during his bouts. The bout was intended to be a breather -- an exhibition for Ali after his [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome unbelievable (and hardfought) victory]] over George Foreman less than six months earlier -- but to the astonishment of all, Wepner managed to knock Ali down in the ninth round (video replays showed it was actually more of a trip; Wepner happened to be standing on Ali's foot when the blow landed, which caused Ali to lose his balance when he tried to move).

Although an incensed Ali made Wepner pay dearly for that -- and eventually knocked Wepner down and out for the only time in his career -- the roar of the crowd as an [[TheEveryman Everyman]] knocked down the greatest athlete in his sport inspired Stallone, who went home and spent the next few days writing furiously nearly around the clock. The end result? '''''Rocky''''' was born. (Though that's slightly mythologized too. When Stallone was asked how he managed to write the screenplay in three days, he replied "I didn't write the screenplay in three days, I wrote ''a'' screenplay in three days," the shooting script was heavily workshopped.)

The films in the series are:

* ''Film/{{Rocky}}'' (1976)
* ''Film/RockyII'' (1979)
* ''Film/RockyIII'' (1982)
* ''Film/RockyIV'' (1985)
* ''Film/RockyV'' (1990)
* ''Film/RockyBalboa'' (2006)

There were also a handful of video games that were made based on the series. The most notable, and faithful is ''Rocky Legends'' on the UsefulNotes/{{PlayStation 2}} and UsefulNotes/{{Xbox}}, and the last game so far is ''Rocky Balboa'' for the UsefulNotes/{{PlayStation Portable}}.

The franchise has also led to a SpinOff titled ''Film/{{Creed}}''. The film focuses on Apollo Creed's son, Adonis Johnson, who becomes a fighter against the wishes of his family, eventually seeking out Rocky (Sylvester Stallone once again) to be his trainer. Ryan Coogler wrote and directed the film, and his ''Film/FruitvaleStation'' star Creator/MichaelBJordan plays Adonis. The film was released on November 25th, 2015 to great success and promises to be a noted film series of its own.

!!This film series contains examples of:

* AdaptationExpansion: ''Rocky Legends'' on Xbox and [=PS2=] makes light on the smaller details for Apollo, Lang, and Drago. Apollo fought Duke right before he decided to retire and train him. Lang was in prison when they held a boxing match prison event, before Lang would be released to pursue his own boxing career. Drago was a USSR soldier before being hand picked to become a fighter.
** Also, depending on which version of the game you get, the [=PS2=] version has Paulie as a playable character, and the Xbox version gives us Ludmilla Drago as a playable character as well.
* AlternateContinuity: In ''Rocky Legends'', it is possible to play through Ivan Drago's campaign and [[spoiler: defeat Rocky in the exhibition match.]]
** Apollo Creed's campaign ends with him confident of his victory over ''Rocky'' and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahwy__XwZQ4 indifferent to the idea of a rematch]], negating the premise of ''Rocky II'' and the subsequent sequels. It's entirely possible for Apollo to win this fight with an early knockout, denying Rocky the chance to "go the distance".
** Averted with the other two campaigns. Rocky's matches with Apollo Creed and Clubber Lang go straight to the rematch, and the final fight with [[spoiler: Tommy Gunn]] takes place on the streets, like the fifth movie. Respectively, Apollo and Clubber's campaigns end with their first match against Rocky.
* AlwaysSomeoneBetter: Rocky is this for Apollo.
* ArtisticLicenseSports: In both rules (fighting after the bell) and tactics.
** Rocky and his opponents usually have massively swollen eyes or are badly cut and pouring buckets of blood by the end of a fight. In real-life boxing, if swelling or a cut interferes with a boxer's sight and isn't able to be controlled by the boxer's cornermen, then, depending on the severity, it may well result in a technical knockout. That said, the decision to stop the fight is often made by the referee and/or ring doctor, and some will let the action go for longer than others.
** Then there's the actual boxing, which is less of a boxing match (they might want to try keeping the gloves up, for a change) and more of a take-turns-getting-clean-roundhouses-to-the-face matches. (Aside from the final film, which does strive for realism.)
** The fighting after the bell type mayhem which may even involve the cornermen of both fighters does happen on occasion when things get too heated or a referee loses control of the fight. See the mid-fight skirmish during the Floyd Mayweather/Zab Judah fight for an example. That said, you're generally less likely to see it in a high profile real life bout than what one would assume from watching Rocky fights, and in real life it will generally result in the boxers being penalized and losing points. Losing said points can cost a fighter a match that goes the distance, or result in a disqualification.
* AttackAttackAttack: Rocky's boxing style.
* AutobotsRockOut: "Going the Distance" from the first film, "Eye of the Tiger" from Rocky III, and "War" from Rocky IV all count. "Going the Distance" mixes in OrchestralBombing, while "War" plays this trope [[UpToEleven bombastically straight]].
* AwesomeMcCoolName: Apollo Creed.
** Gotta give props to Adonis Creed as a badass name too.
* BookEnds: The series begins and ends with [[spoiler:Rocky technically losing, but still winning a moral victory]].
** Now, Rocky is going to help a Creed, the son of his original rival turned friend, to have his own shot at boxing greatness (and ''his'' fight goes the same way as Rocky's first bout against Apollo).
* BroadStrokes: ''Rocky V'' is the only film not referred to in ''Rocky Balboa'', but some light elements such as concern over Rocky's health and his return to poverty remained.
** Except for the brief, almost too fast to see flash on "Get up, you son of a bitch, 'cause Mickey loves ya!"
** And there's the reference to Rocky and his son being the "home team", which is the only explicit CallBack to ''Rocky V''.
** Both ''Rocky V'' and ''Rocky Balboa'' have a joke where Rocky and Robert play fight, only for Rocky to make a joke about being brittle.
** Paulie is missing a tooth in ''Rocky Balboa'', likely because it was knocked out when Tommy Gunn decked him in ''Rocky V''.
* TheCameo: There are a truly astounding number of cameos from boxers or people involved in boxing. Just a few examples include Joe Frazier being introduced before the fight in ''Rocky'' (and he and Apollo trade insults and threats just as Frazier and Ali did), the legendary Roberto Duran having a brief appearance as a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFG6Do4IcuQ sparring partner in Rocky II]] (where he seems to thoroughly enjoy pushing around and bullying Stallone), sports announcer [[AsHimself Brent Mussberger]] in Rocky II, artists known for painting boxing pictures have appearances as ring announcers, boxing commentators play well, boxing commentators, and nearly all of Stallone's family have had at least cameos, and sometimes actual roles. Mike Tyson even got a cameo before the climactic fight in ''Rocky Balboa''!
* CaptainErsatz[=/=]NoCelebritiesWereHarmed:
** Rocky Balboa = Rocky Marciano mixed with Joe Frazier and inspired by Chuck Wepner.
** Apollo Creed = Muhammad Ali. The real Ali even [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3g7kclmm0I appeared on stage with Stallone at the Oscars]], and once said he wished he had thought of Creed's nickname, "The Master of Disaster".
** Clubber Lang = A much more verbose and trash talking version of the young George Foreman. He is sometimes viewed as a Mike Tyson analogue by contemporary audiences, given the similar personalities, but the third movie hit theaters several years before Tyson first turned pro.
** Mason Dixon = Has elements of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Mike Tyson, and Middleweight/Light Heavyweight/Heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr. Stallone tried to convince Jones himself to play Dixon, but negotiations with Jones fell through. Eventually Stallone enlisted Antonio Tarver, another boxer and a Light Heavyweight champion. Funnily enough, Tarver also defeated Jones in real life when Jones returned to fighting as a Light Heavyweight after capturing the Heavyweight title.
** George Washington Duke = Don King.
** Tommy Gunn = Mike Tyson. Both were young and talented fighters who came from rough upbringings and abandoned the men who made them successes in favor of greedy businessmen. Although in Tyson's case, Cus D'Amato died instead of being abandoned.
** Ivan Drago = Max Schmeling. Schmeling was a German boxer who fought Joe Louis in two fights that were seen as conflicts between the United States and Nazi Germany, the same way Drago's fights with Apollo and Rocky were Cold War conflicts. And like Schmeling, Drago dramatically won the first fight and received a vicious beating in the second, the major difference being Joe Louis was avenging his previous loss instead of the death of a friend. Max Baer, another fighter from the same era as Louis and Schmeling, may have been another influence, as Baer killed a man in the ring in a rather similar manner to how [[spoiler: Drago killed Apollo]].
** Union Cane (the guy Tommy beat for the title in ''Rocky V'') may be one for Michael Spinks. Spinks was a light heavyweight champion who in 1985 became the first light heavyweight champion to win the heavyweight championship since Tommy Burns did it in 1908. Afterwards, Spinks rarely fought and went into semi-retirement, abandoning the title. During that period of semi-retirement Tyson destroyed all other competition until Spinks was the only conceivable obstacle left, much as Tommy cut a swath through the heavyweight ranks until Cane seemed the only obstacle left. Both Tommy Gun and Mike Tyson eliminated any doubts about who was the champion by easily knocking out their respective opponent in the first round.
* CareerEndingInjury: Rocky's eye injury in ''Rocky II'' and his brain damage in ''Rocky V''. Both injuries were supposed to retire him, but were ignored by subsequent movies.
** It's implied that with a 10-15 year gap between ''V'' and ''Rocky Balboa'', Rocky's concussion syndrome either recovered during his retirement, or that he was misdiagnosed to begin with by the medical technology at the time.
* ChampionsOnTheInside: Despite his losses, Rocky is still shown to be a moral champion, which earns him respect from his opponents and allies alike.
* ContrivedCoincidence: How Apollo decided to give Rocky a shot instead of any other fighter in the world: when reading a list of local fighters, he decided that he liked Rocky's ring nickname.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: Apollo Creed after the end of ''Rocky II''.
** Also in ''Rocky V'', the bullies that Robert eventually stood up to.
* {{Determinator}}:
** The essence of Rocky's fighting style.
** Apollo and Clubber are this in II and III, respectively, as both are obsessed with beating Rocky.
* FightingSeries: A series of boxing flicks.
* GeniusBruiser:
** Rocky himself, though not particularly well-educated, is extremely streetwise (he wouldn't have lasted long as Gazzo's collector otherwise) and has a natural talent for assessing a boxer's strengths and weaknesses during a bout. He's able to successfully throw off Apollo's rhythm to win the title in ''II'' by switching from right to left-handed punches; and in ''III'' he notes that Clubber, while more physically powerful than Rocky, tires quickly and can't go more than a few rounds. These achievements are even more remarkable considering that ''Rocky is usually getting the crap knocked out of him'' when he's making these assessments.
** Mickey also qualifies. Although we never see Mickey actually fight, he is a good judge of boxing talent and has enough business savvy to recognize when Rocky is getting played (or when he's been able to seize the main chance).
** Apollo Creed can sniff out a chance to sell an event like a shark can smell blood. He's more than savvy enough to grab every chance to make himself a dollar and can play a crowd like a fiddle. While not the strongest fighter, he was also clearly the most skilled.
* HeroicResolve: Rocky fights for his honor and to put food on his family's table.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Rocky and Paulie's relationship grows into this over the course of the series. By the final movie, each one is really the only person left whom the other can truly open up to.
* HollywoodHealing: One moment there's blood on the boxer's face, the next it's completely gone.
* HotBlooded: Apollo, Duke, and Clubber.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Apollo Creed. Though cocky and arrogant, he's also an awesome {{badass}} and gradually becomes more likable and protagonistic throughout the series without losing his edge, [[spoiler:culminating in a sympathetic tragic death]].
* KingpinInHisGym: Rocky's major opponents got their own {{Training Montage}}s, which often told viewers something about their character: Clubber Lang's dungeon-like basement emphasized his monstrosity while Ivan Drago's almost clinical routines (and his steroid use) showed his lack of "heart."
* LightningBruiser: Most of the boxers are this from a realistic standard, but Apollo Creed really stands out, as prior to his first bout with Rocky he had knocked out every man he'd faced and has the best hand and foot speed in the series. What's more, when Rocky trains under Apollo in ''Rocky III'', he goes from an UnskilledButStrong hard puncher to a fast LightningBruiser himself, and he shows the result of his training by dancing circles around Clubber Lang, despite being a smaller man with a shorter reach than Lang.
* LoanShark: Gazzo, who Rocky works for as an enforcer in the first movie and Paulie works for in the second.
* MadeOfIron: Rocky himself can take loads of punishment, and still dish a lot in return.
** Surprisingly, even Paulie himself can take a few good hits.
* MasterApprenticeChain: Mickey Goldmill > Rocky Balboa > Tommy Gunn [[spoiler: (who later turns on Rocky in one of the classic plotlines associated with this trope)]].
** Ignoring Rocky V, we've now got Mickey Goldmill > Rocky Balboa > Adonis Creed.
* {{Meganekko}}: Adrian, Rocky's love interest. Even after she loses the glasses and starts doing her hair, she retains the sweet shyness inherent in the character type.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Clubber Lang and Ivan Drago.
* OldMaster: Mickey is the boxing equivalent of the classic martial arts film ''sensei'' to Rocky.
** [[spoiler: Once Mickey dies,]] Apollo steps in as the BigBrotherMentor version for ''Rocky III'' and ''IV''. Apollo may or may not be older than Rocky (Carl Weathers is actually about a year and a half ''younger'' than Sylvester Stallone), but he is certainly more experienced as a professional-level boxer, so the trope holds.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted. Tony "Duke" Evers and George Washing Duke are two unrelated characters.
* OpposingSportsTeam: All of Rocky's opponents except Apollo Creed and Mason Dixon fall into this -- and even Creed seems to show some of the traits in ''Rocky II'' and ''Rocky IV'' (towards Drago).
* PintSizedPowerhouse: Rocky regularly gets pitted against opponents who tower over him.
* PowerOfLove: "Adrian!"
* ProtagonistTitle: Rocky is the protagonist of the first six films.
* PunnyName: Tommy Gunn, Mason "The Line" Dixon.
* RatedMForManly
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: Stallone has generally said that every film was written to parallel some period of his life, just with acting switched out for boxing.
* ReCut: There exist a workprint cut of ''Rocky V'' online, with some key differences.
** A few key things in the final scene
*** [[spoiler: Rocky was more reluctant to fight Tommy, despite instigating the fight, only because he still cares for the guy.]]
*** [[spoiler: After Rocky gives Tommy quite a beat down, he offers him his hand, where Tommy practically [[GracefulLoser accepted his defeat]] and [[HeelFaceTurn ended the fight on good terms with Rocky.]] He even starts getting the respect he always wanted.]]
*** [[spoiler: Rocky doesn't punch Duke in the face. However, he still denied him the satisfaction of profiting off a fight with him when taking Tommy on. It's also safe to say that Tommy knew better by this point.]]
* RedemptionQuest: The premise of both Rocky and Apollo in numerous films. [[spoiler:Apollo's own quest ends with his ''[[RedemptionEqualsDeath death]]'' after his match with Drago.]]
** In a sense, the first three films are Mickey's quest as well: he was a good fighter, but not good enough to win a title in his own right. He sees Rocky's natural boxing talent and feels Rocky is throwing away a gift Mickey never had by not pushing hard enough. Rocky [[RageAgainstTheMentor doesn't take too well to Mickey's criticism]] but ultimately comes around and fulfills his mentor and father figure's quest:
-->'''Rocky''' (to Mickey): "At least you ''had'' a prime! I never had no prime!"
* RetiredBadass:
** Mickey at first, Rocky in later pictures.
** Apollo becomes one after losing the title; his trainer, Duke, is also a retired boxer.
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: The franchise has never been shy about borrowing from real life boxing and translating it to the screen. Almost every film has some aspect to its plot that is heavily inspired by events that took place in real life boxing. See each individual film for further details.
* SheCleansUpNicely: Adrian in the sequels, who goes from {{Meganekko}} to a more traditional beauty as the Balboas live the good life.
* ShoutOut: Numerous ones to real boxing, including various boxers (including Roberto Duran) being part of various training sessions or having cameos.
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: The Xbox version of ''Rocky Legends'' features Ludmilla Drago as a playable character, making her the only female boxer in the Rocky universe (at least in the video game adaptation).
* TantrumThrowing: In a fit of anger, Rocky throws a helmet at his statue. Paulie impotently throws a liquor bottle at a [[Pinball/{{Rocky}} "ROCKY" pinball machine]] during an drunken fit of resentment, feeling like Rocky has left him out in the midst of his success.
* ThemeMusicPowerUp
* TimeCompressionMontage: The birth of the famous training montage that stretched over the course of a week.
* TradeYourPassionForGlory: The TropeNamer.
* TrainingFromHell: The films are some of the most famous users of the training montage of all time, so it's natural there'd be elements of this. Most notable are Rocky IV, where Rocky toughens up doing heavy work in a rural Russian winter, and Rocky III, where Lang is shown to do his training alone in a dim, slightly-hellish basement, using his own rage to increase his drive.
* TrainingMontage: Former TropeNamer when under the name "Gonna Fly Now Montage".
** It's pretty much the TropeCodifier for this too (and possibly the TropeMaker as well).
* UnderdogsNeverLose: [[spoiler: Averted in the first and last movies where a moral victory is deemed to be more significant (in the first, Rocky going the distance with Apollo, in the last, Rocky ridding himself of his demons), but aside from that,]] if you're an in-story underdog, it's physically impossible for you to lose in the Rocky universe. Even the antagonist benefits from this in ''Rocky III''.
** No such luck for the challengers Rocky knocks out before meeting Lang; they also avert the trope.
** Apollo vs. Drago arguably plays it straight and subverts it at the same time. Drago had imposing height & reach and was clearly in better shape than the long-retired Apollo, so any objective viewer would back him to win the match. Most Americans, though, (including Apollo himself) would instead peg the beloved ex-champion for an easy win against the amateur foreigner.
** Whenever someone tells Rocky in a movie "You can't win!", he's going to win. Sometimes not the first fight (as the case in III), but he will.
* WearingAFlagOnYourHead: Apollo's trademark ring getup, and the one he's wearing [[spoiler: when slain by the Russkie from Hell, Drago. Rocky wears his friend's boxing shorts to symbolically avenge him -- and the U.S.A.]]
--> '''Rocky''' (upon seeing Apollo's outfit for the first time): "He looks like a flag!"
* WellDoneSonGuy: Robert feels that Rocky sees him this way and resents his father; in reality (ultimately acknowledged by both men), it's a consequence of Rocky's difficulties in communicating with his son (possibly as a consequence of Rocky's [[AbusiveParents less-than-desirable]] upbringing, hinted at in the first movie).
* WhateverHappenedToTheMouse: Tony Gazzo, the LoanShark from ''Rocky I and II'', is never seen again after the second film. Though in ''Rocky III'', Paulie is unemployed, and Gazzo is briefly mentioned in ''Rocky V'', and in a deleted scene of ''Rocky Balboa''.
** Rocky might consider working for Gazzo an OldShame that he'd rather not have anything to do with, especially after Mickey's death considering how strongly Mickey disapproved of it. Rocky's past association with loan sharking killed his commercial endorsements and wouldn't do his restaurant any favors either.
** For that matter, what about Apollo Creed's family? Despite [[spoiler: Apollo dying in ''Rocky IV'']], they never had any more significant screen time past ''Rocky II''.
*** Although the spin off film in the works may finally give them the spotlight.
** In ''Rocky'', Rocky befriends a dog named Butkus in the pet store and actually adopts Butkus in ''Rocky II''. Butkus is never seen or mentioned again for the rest of the movie, or the rest of the series.
*** If the films occur in real-time, and given that the average age of a bull mastiff is 8-9 years, it's pretty clear why we don't see him in Part III or beyond.
* WhoopiEpiphanySpeech

-->''"We need '''''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis GREASY! FAST! SPEED!!!]]'''''"''