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Played by: Sylvester StalloneThe primary protagonist of the series, Rocky begins as a part-time boxer, part-time mob enforcer, and debt collector. Despite his violent occupations, however, Rocky is ultimately well meaning and doesn't want to hurt people, he just happens to be good at it. When world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed plans to have a major match on the bicentennial, (America's 200th birthday) and his opponent pulls out due to an injury, Creed decides to give a local fighter a shot at the title, and picks Rocky. This begins a long roller coaster ride for Rocky, as he goes from the gutter to local, then national hero and back again.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Becomes a brick joke when Mickie tells Rocky to consider retiring in the first movie. He ends up doing just that in the beginning of Rocky II, only to come out of retirement when he's down on his luck, again. He attempts to retire in the third movie, only to be put into yet another fight, before officially retiring in Rocky V. GW Duke attempts to enforce this trope on Rocky to no success even when he convinced Tommy Gunn to try to do it for him, only to prove unsuccessful when they fight it out in the alley.
- Action Dad: Becomes a father halfway through Rocky II, and will gladly carry fights to support his family.
- Adorkable: Talks to his pets, awkwardly courts his best friend's sister, tells his coach about her like a lovesick teenager, and starts dancing and posing after running up a flight of stairs. And that's just the first movie!
- A Hero to His Hometown: In Rocky V and in Rocky Balboa, rich or not, Rocky is well respected by just about everyone in Philadelphia. In Rocky V, it gets to the point where some of his fans ended up trying to defend him from Tommy Gunn.
- All There in the Manual: Rocky's official fight record is 82 fights. 57 Wins (54 via knockout), 24 Losses, and 1 Draw.
- Always Someone Better: Clubber Lang in Rocky III, who is stronger and a lot meaner than Rocky.
- Badass: Oh he's filled multiple roles of Badass-ery.
- Badass Beard: In the fourth film training montage.
- Badass Boast: A few great highlights.
"YOU AIN'T SO BAD. YOU AIN'T SO BAD!"]
- Against Clubber Lang in the rematch.
Duke: He's not a machine! HE IS A MAN!
- Half way into the match against Drago, he's taunting him!
Rocky: Yo! Tommy! I don't hear no bell!
- In Rocky V, Rocky took a rather brutal beating to the head, which seemed to have nearly killed him. Then he stands up after hearing Mickey's words and tells Tommy:
- Badass Grandpa: How else can you describe a boxer in his 60s who is able to carry a heavy weight champion in his 20s?
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted. Rocky explains in the first film that despite all the fights he went through, his nose never got busted, only for him to has his face quite ruined in the end of the first film and on ward. His nose is mentioned again in Rocky II, which gets busted immediately at the start of the match.
- Berserk Button:
Rocky: "You knocked him down, why don't you try knockin' me down now?"
- Want to get on his bad side? Say anything bad about Adrian. Clubber Lang said something bad alright. He was offering her sex back at his crib, at the time that Rocky was just announcing his retirement!
- But while anger will draw him back into the ring its repeatedly shown to not be enough to make him train or fight to his fullest. He always needs something more positive than that.
- His friends being harassed is another good way to get him angry, especially at Paulie.
- In Rocky V, Tommy Gunn should not have punched Paulie.
- In Rocky Balboa, some punks were harassing him and Marie. Just a dose of Rocky's aggression, and that got them to shut up.
- Want to get on his bad side? Say anything bad about Adrian. Clubber Lang said something bad alright. He was offering her sex back at his crib, at the time that Rocky was just announcing his retirement!
- Boisterous Bruiser: He's a pretty jovial guy, and rarely fights with any real aggression.
- Book Dumb: Although by the end of II he's writing poetry for a comatose Adrian and by III he's clearly come far in his acting ability, as is evidenced by the many successful commercials he appears in.
- Break the Badass: Even Rocky is prone to this, as he goes through this phase in Rocky III.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: In Rocky V, he suffers from brain damage after fighting Drago. Worse still, this forces him to retire from boxing at the worst possible time.
- Bruiser with a Soft Center
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Said word for word in Rocky II, albeit in a much more lighter context.
- Captain Ersatz: Half Rocky Marciano, half Joe Frazier, and inspired by a Chuck Wepner fight. Pretty funny on the Joe Frazier part considering that he makes a cameo in the first film. The Rocky Marciano part is also lampshaded by a poster hanging in Rocky's apartment, and Micky pointing it out in the same film.
- Catch Phrase: "Absolutely."
- Character Development: Rocky becomes better in personality, with some other flaws to iron out in each film.
- Rocky had him going from a poor enforcer for a Loan Shark who got his shot at the title.
- Rocky II has him enjoying his spoils and taking on responsibility for maintaining a home and keeping him and Adrian fed, until he has to fight again.
- Rocky III has Rocky's acting greatly improved to where he can star in commercials, and after his downturn phase, has gained so much skill to the point of properly applying strategy in his rematch.
- Rocky IV has him at such a high point in his life and career, where he's willing to throw it away if it meant avenging the very man that got him there to begin with.
- Rocky V goes a little backwards (possibly due to brain damage) as it is an upsetting transition between being rich to going back to rags, as he tries to pass on his talents to Tommy Gunn, but eventually accepts his new life style and lets go his shot back to the ring.
- Rocky Balboa has Rocky in his 60s, Older and Wiser, running a restaurant, owning many pets, and still being his humble self, with the only flaw being that he's holding onto the past too tightly.
- Creed has Rocky pretty much out of the boxing game, barring old friends he made along the way, until Donny convinces him to help the young fighter train. When Rocky finds out that he has cancer, it's Donny who rekindles his will the fight on.
- Determinator: As seen in the numerous examples below, this is practically the core of his entire style — he might not be the strongest offensively, but he can take infinitely more punishment than seems humanly possible, which lets him ride out fights up to the double digit rounds that most of his opponents have never needed to go into. By the final film, Rocky himself (as well as his coach, former bud of Apollo) realize this and utilize it to its fullest to capitalize on what he has left, since at his more advanced age, his raw determination is really all he's got.
- Determined Defeatist: In the first film, he knows that he will lose, but decided that he'll go the distance so at least he won't be seen as a bum.
- Expy: of Chuck Wepner.
- Fighting Dirty: When Spider Rico pushes him into Unstoppable Rage at the start of the first movie. Most seem to forget that Rocky isn't just a trained champion boxer... he was a former enforcer and knows how to throw down in a street fight. Also against Tommy Gunn in Rocky V.
- Friend to All Living Things: He loves visiting the pet shop in Rocky I. He even has his own pet turtles, goldfish, and finally a dog. By the time of Rocky Balboa he's feeding the birds, keeping numerous pets, and adopting a new dog."I love almost everybody" (Rocky V)
- Friend to All Children: In Rocky II, he's playing stick ball with the children on the streets. He was also being chased by an army of children while going for a run.
- Game-Breaking Injury: In Rocky V, he was forced to retire from boxing after suffering brain damage from Drago.
- Genius Bruiser: During the fight with Clubber Lang, Rocky uncovers Clubber's weakness (i.e. he burns out quickly) and gets Clubber to throw everything at him in the second round by taunting him excessively. It works rather well to Rocky's advantage and is the shortest climax fight in all the films, closing out in the third round.
- The Gloves Come Off: In Rocky III, Rocky had to go bare-fists in order to really bring down Thunderlips. Also in Rocky V, where Rocky and Tommy are in a street brawl. In Rocky Legends, the first fight in career mode is a bare-fist street brawl.
- Gradual Grinder: He'll be in the fight for the long haul. You better be able to handle it. Averted in Rocky III where the first match with Lang ended in two rounds, and the next ended in three.
- Handicapped Badass:
- Rocky II had Rocky being forced to fight right-handed due to his bad right eye, and the possibility of going blind or even killed.
- Again in Rocky V. Despite sustaining brain damage, he can still brawl down with a heavy weight champion of the world. In the back alley. Barehanded!
- Happily Married: To Adrian. They're consistently shown to have a very close and loving marriage that lasts through all the difficulties thrown at them.
- Heroic BSOD: Has gone through a few of these
- In Rocky II, he was doing poorly in his training, until he flat out stops after hearing about Adrian going into a coma. He doesn't say a word, and only stays to her side and read stories to her until she recovers.
- In Rocky III with a bad case of Break the Badass, where he suffered from the triple whammy of Mickie's revelation that the ten title defenses Rocky is so proud of were all handpicked opponents while Mickey carefully steered Rocky away from anybody that could actually be dangerous, his crushing loss to Clubber Lang, and Mickey's death. This sends Rocky into a tailspin of depression and questioning not just whether he'll ever be capable of beating Clubber, but whether he was ever any good and his worth as a fighter in the first place.
- Goes through another in Rocky V. See My God, What Have I Done? below.
- Honor Before Reason:
- In Rocky IV, Rocky feels like he has to fight Ivan Drago, even an unsanctioned match for no money, all to avenge Apollo's honor.
- There are times where despite being told to stay down, or to throw the fight, he berates the idea of that and presses on.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: In Rocky V, after finding out him and his family is heading from Riches to Rags, he decides that he will accept a match again Union Cane, until Adrian convinces him to see a doctor, in which they confirmed that he has brain damage from his match against Ivan Drago. It takes further convincing from Adrian to finally talk Rocky out of fighting any further, if only to protect himself.
- Made of Iron: How else do you describe a guy who goes for 15 rounds with a World Champion and still comes out strong? Drago said it best:"He's not human. He's like a piece of iron."
- The Mentor:
- In Rocky V, he is this to Tommy Gunn who later betrays him.
- In Rocky Balboa, he employs Steps as his personal assistant, practically being a mentor to him.
- In Creed, he becomes one to Apollo's son.
- Mighty Glacier: What he logically becomes to an extent by the time of his final fight. There's no way he can out-hit or even bother outmaneuvering Dixon at his age, so he trains to outlast and deal as much damage as he can with any hit he does get in.Mason Dixon: *to his trainer* He's got bricks in his gloves...
- The Mourning After: In Rocky Balboa, Rocky cuts short any potential romance with Marie because his reverence for Adrian. Which makes his promises to Adrian in Rocky II thru IV all the more powerful.
- Mr. Fanservice: Rocky V especially treats their audience with a side body shot of Balboa in the shower.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In Rocky V, he spent most of the movie training Tommy Gunn, and never really paid much attention to his own son, who was trying to win his approval. Adrian and Paulie noticed this, but when Robert disowns Rocky, and when Tommy Gunn disowns him as well, Rocky goes through a Heroic BSOD, having realized that he nearly lost his own son because of his own desire for another chance.
- Nice Guy: In spite of spending most of his adult life beating people up for a living, Rocky is incredibly sweet and kind to everyone. It's especially evident in Rocky Balboa where he puts up with having his picture taken with Robert's boss despite overhearing him berate him earlier, gives former rival Spider Rico free meals at his restaurant, and responds kindly to every single person who says "Hey, Rock!" or "Hi Champ!" on the street.
- In Rocky Balboa, after catching up with Marie, Rocky learned that her son, Steps, is without a job, and decided to employ him as his personal assistant. He eventually gives Marie a job as well since one of his waitresses will be on pregnant leave.
- Even when he was collecting for Loan Shark Gazzo in the first movie, Rocky went out of his way to avert the Evil Debt Collector trope as much as humanly possible under the circumstances: his first scene with Gazzo has Gazzo berating him for not breaking a someone's thumbs for being behind on payment. He doesn't buy Rocky's reasoning that the guy won't be able to work (and therefore pay up) if he's injured.
- Rocky V has a case where Rocky can be too nice. Adrian had to stop him in the end.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Rocky V, Rocky formed a brotherly alliance with Tommy Gunn, helping to develop him. However, he ends up practically ignoring his own son, despite his bully problems, leading him to take matters into his own hands (although it ended quickly due to a Defeat Equals Friendship moment), and even that didn't get Rocky's attention. Paulie notices this is happening, and noticing that Tommy is in the process of being bought by GW Duke, and tried to warn Rocky that the boat's sinking. Unfortunately, Rocky's son disowns him, and Tommy disowns Rocky as well. He did manage to fix things with Robert, thankfully.
- The Obi-Wan: Becomes this to Apollo's son, Adonis.
- Older and Wiser: In Rocky Balboa, he is in his 60s, and is able to maintain a restaurant successfully, and has gotten more intelligent by then.
- Rags to Riches: Takes this trope on a roller coaster ride. In I, it's rags. He does better for a while in part II, but quickly goes through the money from fighting Apollo and doesn't catch on doing other things. After winning the rematch with Apollo, he's solidly rich through III and IV. V sees him going back to rags, and by the 6th movie he seems to have found a happy medium, making a decent living as a successful restaurateur.
- Red Baron: The "Italian Stallion."
- Retired Badass: Briefly in Rocky II, and definitely in Rocky V. Also in Rocky Balboa. Fully cemented by Creed.
- Revenge: His main motive in Rocky IV is to avenge Apollo's death at Drago's hands.
- Smoking Is Not Cool: Played with in the first movie. Rocky was a smoker, and then he lectures young Marie about hanging out with the wrong crowd and smoking. However, he drops the habit when he has to train for the match against Apollo, and seemed to have never picked it up since. Unless you count ''Rocky V'' in which he picks the habit back up. However, he appears to put it back down when he trains Tommy Gunn.
- Tranquil Fury:
- Rocky's fight with Drago after Apollo's death.
- On full display in Rocky V. A punch to Paulie's face had Rocky try to open Tommy's head.
- In Rocky Balboa, he gives a punk a dose of his fury when he insults Marie.
- Unskilled, but Strong: He has a cast iron jaw and a real talent for the sport, but for most of his history, that was all he had going for him. He couldn't even defend himself and allowed himself to be punched in the head repeatedly. Then first Mickie and later Apollo trained him and converted all of that raw talent into true skill and ability, transforming him into The Ace.Mickey: "Ya got a lot of heart, but you fight like a goddamn ape!"
- Warrior Therapist: On full display by the time of CreedRocky: (points to Adonis' reflection) This guy right here is the hardest opponent you'll ever have to face. That's true in the ring and I think that's true in life too.
Played by: Talia Shire (1976-1990)
Paulie's sister, a painfully shy woman who runs a local pet store and that Rocky has had a crush on for years, although she has never responded to his flirting and such. They begin to connect romantically during the build up to Rocky's first fight with Apollo, as Adrian also begins dealing with her own issues and putting her overbearing brother in his place.
- Beautiful All Along: Even before the end of the first film, it turns out that the mousy and shy Girl Next Door had been a beautiful woman all along.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
Rocky: When did you get so tough.Adrian: I married a fighter.
- While not a fighter like her husband, thanks to a confidence boost by Rocky she is often considered very tough. Rocky even lampshades it in III.
- In Rocky V, she does this again, fed up with how Rocky is practically giving a lot to Tommy, while leaving his own son out of the equation. Rocky finally snaps out of it shortly after.
- Changed My Mind, Kid: Adrian spent a good chunk of the film, refusing Rocky to take up the rematch against Apollo. She was quite unsupportive at first until her water broke and she gave birth to Rocky Jr. After waking up from a short-term coma and spending a heart warming moment with Rocky, she is suddenly supportive of him, motivating him to train at full force.
- Happily Married: Despite she and Rocky being very different people, the sequels make it clear that their marriage is a deeply loving one.
- Morality Chain: In Rocky II, Adrian's unsupportive attitude about Rocky fighting was apparently linked to Rocky's poor performance in training. When Paulie realizes this, he tries to get Adrian to support Rocky.
- Not Afraid of You Anymore: For a good chunk of the first movie, Paulie will throw her around (figuratively, never physically) and ridicule her for being too shy. Halfway in, after spending the night with Rocky, she stands up to her brother the moment he starts getting aggressive.
- Power of Love: Rocky's love for her can make him accomplish miracles. Adrian!
- Progressively Prettier: Goes from dressing and styling herself in frumpy, unattractive ways to more and more flattering styles with each passing movie.
- Shrinking Violet: At first, she was a painfully shy woman, used to being domineered and controlled by her brother. That didn't last long.
- Women Are Wiser: Often portrayed this way.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: As well as Beautiful All Along, Adrian does this trope to a T. She starts out as a shy, meek woman who constantly keeps her appearance covered. But after her first date with Rocky, she gets a big boost of confidence and stands up to Paulie. In later films, she becomes the voice of reason.
Played by: Burt Young
Adrian's older brother and Rocky's long time friend, he begins the films as a drunken, overbearing lout who tries to lord over his sister and hopes to use Rocky in order to make connections with Rocky's mob boss. At first he is resentful of Rocky due to Rocky's greater success and popularity, but eventually Rocky always being there for him make him become a true friend.
- Adaptational Badass: He is a secret character in Rocky Legends.
- The Alcoholic: Peaks at the start of the third film, afterward focus on it dies away.
- Big Brother Mentor: Shows up in Rocky V, where he is this to Robert (Rocky Jr.) when helping him with his bully problem.
- Blood Brothers: Paulie and Rocky's relationship gets better with each film, with a brief hiccup here and there. Rocky Balboa solidifies this, with Paulie and Rocky confine to each other despite some differences.
- Catch Phrase: "I don't sweat you!"
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He made an attempt to fight Rocky, who had defended his title several times, for making him mad. While he never really landed a hit and Rocky said on the defensive, Rocky told him that he fought good. Attempting to take on Thunderlips in Rocky III while trying to get him to let Rocky go is another great moment. And another moment in Rocky V. See Shut Up, Hannibal! below.
- Follow the Leader: In the PS2 version of Rocky Legends, he is a playable character, hoping to emulate Rocky's fame.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: A look at the counter in the first movie shows Paulie wearing some sort of an officer's uniform. Possibly an Actor Allusion, since Burt Young served in the Marines in Real Life.
- Hidden Depths: He can be a total jerk, but he can also be a genuinely good guy, as each film progressively shows. It's also implied (thanks to the Freeze-Frame Bonus above) that he may have been an officer of a sort once, though that was never elaborated on.
- Jerkass: He uses Rocky just so he can get work from a loan shark collector, and later profits off of his match with Apollo, not to mention calling for a news interview with Rocky without his consent. It works, until the third movie where he is just a bum now, that is until he confronts Rocky, where Rocky lets him in his home with open arms.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: However, after going through an emotional breakdown with both Rocky and Adrian, he decided to be a little nicer to Rocky the next day, and (to be fair about him making money off of Rocky) asked him to advertise the meat factory on Rocky's name. He also becomes like any other good friend to Rocky beginning at Rocky II. He shows further shades of this when he attempts to rescue Rocky from Thunderlips. Then he flat out admits it in Rocky IV.
- Made of Iron: Takes a shot to the head from Tommy Gunn (the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion) and just shakes it off. He also took quite a punch to the head by Thunderlips, a heavy weight wrestler, and he can still stand up afterward.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Subverted. Paulie encourages Rocky to take his sister out, despite her resistance, but is quite surprised when he learned implicitly (based on her Not Afraid of You Anymore moment) that he had sex with her, and bursts into tears.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Rocky V, Adrian and Paulie got into an heated argument early in the film about Paulie signing power to attorney to their accountant. It turns out he thought he was signing a tax form. It can be assumed that he was simply tricked into signing something he shouldn't have.
- Noodle Incident: Between Rocky II and III, there is no mention of Gazzo, and Paulie is down on his luck as he descended into alcoholism, and he suddenly resents Rocky.
- The Resenter: To Rocky in Rocky III. Like his alcoholism, it reaches a peak at the start of the third movie and dies away when the two bond after that. In the deleted scenes of Rocky Balboa, he fully resents what kind of a person Paulie himself had become and wishes he would have died in Adrian's place.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: In Rocky V, he gives this, full force, to Tommy Gunn, when he insulted Rocky's honor. This resulted in getting punched.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Paulie (and Adrian's) surname was finally revealed officially in "Rocky Balboa". It was Paulie Panina. However, for years it was said their surname was "Pennino", based on Talia Shire's grandmother's surname. This is why you see "Paulie Pennino" all over the net, especially on IMDB. But sorry, 'Net, if Tony Duke is now suddenly Tony "Duke" Evers (thanks to RB), then Paulie is Paulie Panina.
- You Owe Me: Paulie sees himself as giving a lot to Rocky, and felt like he wasn't given the same care that he gave to Adrian and Mickey, gets mad at Rocky, and tried to fight him because Rocky tells him, straight up that no body owes him anything. He got better after asking Rocky for a job.Paulie: ...can I have a job?Rocky: ...all you had to do was ask me.
- "You're gonna eat lightning and crap thunder!"
Played by: Burgess Meredith (1976-82, 1990) note
The owner of the local boxing gym where Rocky trains during the first movie, he begins the first film unsympathetic, and even antagonistic towards Rocky, angry at Rocky squandering his talent and working for the mob. He has to eat crow later when Rocky is picked as Apollo's opponent, and begs Rocky to let him be Rocky's trainer, because he knows he can turn Rocky into a dangerous opponent instead of no hope challenger. Rocky, remembering all of Mickie's slights, almost turns him down, but accepts in the end, and a deep relationship forms between the two as Mickie becomes mentor, trainer, and even to a degree a father figure for Rocky.
- Brooklyn Rage: He's certainly got the accent, and the old man grouchiness and sudden bursts of anger (see Suddenly Shouting below) certainly covers the rage part.
- Cool Old Guy: He's been part of the boxing world for decades, and still has that certain something that inspires youngsters and makes them love him like a father.
- Cynical Mentor: He starts the first film, all but openly antagonistic towards Rocky and all but kicking Rocky out of his gym because of Rocky's mob ties and loan sharking. The sequels turn this into a subversion, as he and Rocky become very close.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mickey makes quite a number of witticisms mixed with the occasional Stealth Insult.
- Informed Judaism: There are no real clues about him being Jewish until he receives a proper Jewish funeral.
- I Was Quite a Looker: In Rocky Legends, his young self, while in his prime, is a playable character. Not a bad looking guy for his time. Although averted in the Rocky game for PS2, where it's his old self as a playable character.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He doesn't like how Rocky is a collector, and makes it known, but when he caught wind of Rocky facing Apollo, he offers to train him, where he makes that known that he is worried for him.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: In the third movie he shows signs of heart trouble and failing health and then suffers a heart attack just before Rocky's first fight with Clubber Lang.
- The Obi-Wan: Older, wiser figure who knows better than the protagonist, has become too old for the sport and imparts skills and knowledge that allow the protagonist to become The Hero and fulfill his destiny? A big check to everything.
- Papa Wolf:
"I say we bash his his head in."
- He becomes protective of Rocky in Rocky II like a father would. He even decides to train Rocky again after getting fed up with Apollo giving him a bad name.
- In Rocky III, he revealed that in Rocky's rise to fame, he went so far as to ensure he picked fighters he knows Rocky can beat, in order to secure Rocky's successful future. This is because he believes that Rocky's prime as a fighter is in danger of passing quickly, and he wants to make sure Rocky makes the money he'll need for the rest of his life without being badly hurt before his career is over.
- Retirony: Mickey plans to retire from being Rocky's manager after his fight with Clubber Lang. Lang just so happen to accidentally and indirectly cause cardiac arrest, which later claimed Mickey's life.
- Sour Supporter: Despite letting Rocky use that one locker for six years, he has another fighter take it over and practically abandons Rocky due to his affiliation with Gazzo. Then he swings right back to him the moment he learned about his match with Apollo Creed.
- Spirit Advisor: Not emphasized, but he does appear in a flashback, and says a line near the end of Rocky V where he says to Rocky "Get up you sonavabitch! Because Mickey loves you!"
- Suddenly Shouting: His normally gravelly low voice often blows up into extremely loud outbursts.
Robert "Rocky" Balboa, Jr. (sometimes called Rocky Jr.)
Played by Seargeoh Stallone (II, 1979), Ian Fried (III, 1982), Rocky Krakoff (IV, 1985), Sage Stallone (V, 1990), and Milo Ventimiglia (Balboa, 2006)
The son of Rocky and Adrian who was born in the second film. He has an expanded role in Rocky V where he was close to Rocky until Tommy Gunn came into their lives, drifting them apart. Robert attempted to win his father back, even decided to learn how to fight (with Paulie's help) so he can stand up for himself against bullies, but gave up when even THAT didn't get his father's attention. In the end, Rocky makes up to Robert, and the two get close again. Until Rocky Balboa where they both are quite distant from each other, with Robert pursuing a career in business, and attempting to separate himself from Rocky so he can build his own life.
- Always Someone Better:
- In Rocky V, Robert resents Rocky when he was training Tommy Gunn, giving him more attention than Robert.
- In Rocky Balboa, he is always compared to his father, causing him to resent him (again if you count V).
- Defeat Equals Friendship: Despite beating one bully and watching the other run off, he asks him to be friends with him so they both don't have any more problems. He agreed, and the other one comes through as well.
- The Dog Bites Back: In Rocky V, after getting beaten up by a pair of bullies, twice, he takes up training and beats them both to the ground.
- A Friend in Need: To his father, where he decided to quit his job after taking his dad's words to heart, he came to him to support him for his exhibition match.
- Genius Bruiser: In Rocky V, he is said by Rocky to be really smart. When bullying becomes a problem to him, he takes up training, and can punch as good as he is smart.
- I Am Not My Father: Then in Rocky Balboa, he blames his father for having it easy in life, and yet never really being able to make a name for himself, and even went so far as to give Rocky "The Reason You Suck" Speech, only for Rocky to turn it around on him, telling him that he's looking for someone to blame because he couldn't try to make a name for himself. He comes through and proceeds to respect his father again.
- Like Father, Like Son: Shown in Rocky V. Robert can be as humble as Rocky, but when he gets picked on by bullies, he takes up fighting just to beat them up. But thankfully, his humble side shined through, so they became friends afterward.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: He comes to feel this way about his father, as his father's legend will always be hanging over him and he'll always be compared to his dad and, he's sure, found wanting. These issues finally appear to be dealt with in Rocky Balboa, and healing begins between father and son.
- Plot-Relevant Age-Up: He was a little boy in Rocky IV. He suddenly ages a year or two by the time of Rocky V. Somewhat justified since the actors changed. Again. But still...
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In Rocky V, he gives one to his dad, fed up with him spending all of his time with Tommy Gunn. This leads into a Random Smoking Scene when Rocky finds him. Thankfully, it doesn't become a habit after him and Rocky reconcile.
- Training Montage: In Rocky V, even Robert gets one.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: In Rocky V, he appeals to his dad, surprising him with a trophy collection stand he set up, drawings, and even tried to talk to him about how he reclaimed his stolen coat, but Rocky never really returned a meaningful affection.
- Who's Laughing Now?: A non-villainous example. Near the end, Robert gives Rocky a prep talk before the final round, telling him that people thought of both of them as a joke, but nobody is laughing now.
Played by: Carl Weathers (1976-85)Rocky's opponent in the first two films and friend in the following two films. Creed begins the series as the reigning heavyweight champion, and between his dazzling skills, speed, and power, no one has ever managed to go the distance with him. When an opponent pulls out a fight set for January 1, 1976, Creed, realizing no other top level contender will be free to fight by then, and unwilling to change the date, instead comes up with a gimmick: to give an unheralded local fighter an opportunity to reach the top ala The American Dream by fighting him. He then picked Rocky as his opponent, and the rest was history...In the third film after Rocky loses to Clubber Lang and Mickie dies, Apollo trains Rocky for the rematch with Lang, beginning what fans have called "an epic bromance" with Rocky that lasts through the end of the third film and into the fourth, until Drago kills Apollo in an exhibition bout.
- All American Face: Taken to a hilariously awesome and ridiculous extreme in IV.
- Awesome Mc Cool Name: APOLLO CREED, can't do more awesome than that.
- Badass: Well, he's the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world until Rocky comes along...
- Bash Brothers: After seeing Rocky suffer a humiliating defeat, and a lot of emotional turmoil, he goes to his aid and helps him become badass again.
- Big Brother Mentor: Becomes this to Rocky in the third film.
- Captain Ersatz: Of Muhammad Ali. Ali himself suggested to Stallone that Apollo would also be called the Master of Disaster. An announcer says just that in Rocky II.
- Casualty in the Ring: Takes a fatal beating from Drago.
- Defeat Means Friendship: After being defeated in II, he befriends Rocky and co. in III.
- Expy: of Muhammad Ali.
- Fatal Flaw: Pride. Which leads to his death after he seriously underestimated Drago.
- Genius Bruiser: Emphasized more in the novelization and other background materials, but Apollo isn't just a boxer, he also entirely runs, markets, and manages an entire business empire based around himself.
- Heel–Face Turn: A mild example, as he was never really a villain, just Rocky's opponent, before becoming Rocky's trainer in the third film.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: After their relationship had previously consisted of considering each other a Worthy Opponent, the time they spend together in the third film upgrades it to a true, close friendship and this trope.
- Honor Before Reason: A fatal example from part 4. Even sadder after seeing the salute he gives his wife; Apollo knows damn well what's coming.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Cocky and arrogant, and even goes as far as to berate Rocky publicly to goad him into a rematch, but underneath it all he's not really a bad guy.
- Hot-Blooded: "It's time to go to SCHOOL!"
- Large Ham: Actively cultivates this as part of his image.
- Let's Get Dangerous: While it's understood that Apollo is far, far out of Rocky's league, Apollo treats the fight very much as a joke and spends his entire entrance showboating to the crowd. In the first round Rocky actually manages to knock him down (first time this has ever happened to him) and get him literally on the ropes. Apollo decides to quit playing around and easily breaks Rocky's nose."He doesn't know it's a damn show. He thinks it's a damn fight."
- Lightning Bruiser: Faster and more skilled than Rocky, but doesn't have Rocky's legendary endurance.
- Manipulative Bastard: In the second film. Frustrated by the fan response to his first fight with Rocky, he decides to provoke Rocky into getting back to the ring for a rematch by playing the role of the Heel in the media and angering him. It works.
- Only in It for the Money: His main reason for promoting the first match with Balboa. Averted for the rematch, when it's more personal.
- Papa Wolf: He's somewhat okay when the fans give hatemail to him, he's even willing to risk it as a means to get Rocky back in the ring. However, what really pissed him off over the whole thing was when he finds out his kids are getting picked on over the aftermath of his first fight with Balboa.Apollo: There's a lot of people out there accusing me of having the fight fixed, accusing me of being a fake, and insulting my kids at school.
- Pride: Apollo put on quite a show in the first match, but felt his pride seriously injured in the next movie to the point where he changes his mind about the no-rematch and wanted an immediate rematch with Rocky. Sometime later, the hate-mail started to pour in and he gets obsessed over fighting Rocky. The next time they're in the ring, he's not putting on a show then.
- Red Baron: "The King of Sting, the Doctor of Destruction, the Count of Monte Fisto, the Master of Disaster, the One, the Only... Apollo Creed!" That last one (The Master of Disaster) deserves extra credit... the man who inspired the character's creation, Ali himself, noted that that was something he should've used in his heyday.
- Sacrificial Lion: Killed in the ring by Drago in IV.
- Scary Black Man: Averted. While Apollo obviously could kick the ass of 99% of the population, he's a friendly, charismatic guy who even when he does play the Heel is almost entirely putting on a show.
- Underestimating Badassery: Was guilty of this against both Rocky and Drago.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: His trademark shorts.
- Worthy Opponent: More than any other opponent, he has this relationship going on with Rocky.
- Your Cheating Heart: Cheated on his wife, resulting in Adonis' birth.
Tony "Duke" Evers
Played by: Tony Burton
Apollo's trainer and friend, he also trains Rocky for the bout with Drago in the fourth movie following Drago killing Apollo in the ring and returns to train Rocky again in Rocky Balboa.
- Badass Boast:
- In IV: "No pain. No pain. NO PAIN.
- In Balboa: "Let's build some hurting bombs!"
- Bald of Awesome: Very wise, very cool, and very bald.
- Blue Oni: To Apollo's red.
- The Bus Came Back: In Balboa, he may have returned half way in, but man does he leave an impression.
- Cool Old Guy: His moustache has turned grey by the time of Balboa, and he retains his sage awesomeness.
- Defeat Means Friendship: In the video game: Rocky Legends, Duke is the first opponent Apollo fights. Winning has Duke telling Apollo that he plans to retire, but is willing to train him all the way through.
- Honest Advisor: To both Apollo, and to Rocky in III, IV, and Balboa.
- Like a Son to Me: Duke confines with Rocky in IV that Apollo was like a son to him.
- Older and Wiser: In Rocky Balboa.
- Only Sane Man: In both Rocky I and II. While neither Apollo nor anyone on his team is insane, Duke is the only one who sees how dangerous Rocky is. He's trying to do his job as Apollo's manager (protect Apollo and plan his schedule very carefully so that there are no surprises). The problem is that Apollo is not letting him do his job. Duke warns Apollo to stay away from left-handed fighters ("he's a southpaw. I don't want you messing with no southpaw. They do everything backwards"). Apollo dismisses his concerns. When he sees Rocky on TV using a side of beef as a punching bag and breaking the ribs, he's clearly disturbed, but even more disturbed that Apollo dismisses his concerns again and does not even want to take a moment to watch a man that he's going to step into the ring with. In the fight, he's has to scream into Apollo's face that Rocky is taking this fight seriously ("This guy doesn't know it's all one big show! He thinks this is a fight!"). When he's yelling this at Apollo, Apollo is barely holding back a BSOD, and starts taking the fight seriously. In Rocky II, Duke again warns Apollo to just let things go and walk away from a rematch, but Apollo's pride and ego just won't let him do it. In the final round, Duke screams at Apollo that he has the fight won on points, all he has to do is jab and move and stay away from Rocky, and he's won. Again, Apollo refuses to listen, goes for the knockout, but in doing so he gives up his reach advantage (which Duke had just warned him not to do) and has to get close enough for Rocky to brutally wear him down and win by knockout.
- Put on a Bus: He hasn't been seen in Rocky V after the beginning scene, and has practically disappeared from existence then (probably so that the name "Duke" is mentioned to a new character, and not to him).
- Retired Badass: Former professional boxer turned trainer.
- Training from Hell: In IV, he acknowledges to Rocky that his training will be tougher than ever, and is happy to provide such.
Played by: Mr. T (1982)
The antagonist of the third film, he is a brutal jerkass of a fighter shaped by the streets into a fearsome opponent. While Rocky enjoys the high life as champion, Lang cuts a swath through the heavyweight ranks, mercilessly knocking out anyone he faces. Mickie quickly becomes aware of what a dangerous man he is, and desperately wants to avoid a bout between him and Rocky.
- Animal Motifs: Numerous. His bizarre haircut, leather jacket, and feather earrings make him look like an animal, he roars when he .throws a punch, and during the intro, a tiger's roar is played several times while the camera is on him.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: His arrogance is off the charts, and he seems to truly believe that no one can possibly defeat him.
- Ax-Crazy: He wanted to tear Rocky apart, and you better hope he's in a good mood if you get in his way.
- Badass Beard/Beard of Evil: He's plenty badass and a major jerkass, and that beard only enhances both of those traits.
- Berserk Button: Being stared at.
- The Brute: Much like Rocky, except much stronger and very relentless.
- Catch Phrase: "I pity the fool." Mr. T would keep using this long after Clubber Lang
- Captain Ersatz: Of a young George Foreman. To an extent the first bout between him and Rocky is an a fictionalization of the bout where Foreman defeated Joe Frazier (one of the inspirations for Rocky Balboa) to become world heavyweight champion. In that bout Foreman knocked out Frazier in two rounds and knocked Frazier down six times during those two rounds. Like the film there was a rematch, unlike the film while Frazier did better and lasted longer, Foreman once again knocked him out.
- Crippling Overspecialization: He is focused solely on getting fast knock-outs with hard hooks (he rarely uses any other punch and doesn't throw a single jab). His style seems to be keyed solely on destroying Rocky and once Rocky starts outfighting, Clubber is outclassed and decimated in three rounds. It's very likely that the retired Apollo Creed, who specialized in outfighting and was much better at it than Rocky, and whom Clubber repeatedly insulted, threatened, and even attacked, would have beaten or even humiliated him in the ring. (Which would also correspond to the inspirations for the 3 characters. Rocky primarily borrows from Rocky Marciano and Joe Frazier, Creed from Muhammad Ali, and Lang from George Foreman. In real life Frazier won his first bout Ali, then was brutally destroyed by Foreman in two rounds, and Foreman was then outclassed, knocked out, and demolished mentally, physically and psychologically by Ali.)
- Curbstomp Battle: The first fight between Rocky and Clubber is one, as Clubber demolishes an overconfident and ill-prepared Rocky in two rounds, although Rocky does manage to get a few good blows. The rematch is also one, this time with Rocky defeating Clubber, although like the first bout Clubber does have his moments and gives both Rocky and the audience some scares.
- Evil Counterpart: To Rocky in the first two films. Both are hard hitting southpaw brawlers from the streets and expanded materials give Clubber a criminal past. Clubber just takes it all Up to Eleven and has a Jerkass personality.
- Evil Virtues: Clubber is not a pleasant fellow to be sure, but the film makes it clear that he took his training seriously for his first bout with Rocky, while his overconfident opponent squandered his preparation with a glorified circus with endless distractions.
- Glass Cannon: Kinda. Stamina is more his weakness than an inability to take a punch, but still, he's the only one of Rocky's challengers to suffer an early KO.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: A Mohawk.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Consistently angry and violent.
- Heel–Faith Turn: According to Stallone he became an evangelist in the aftermath of his defeat. He would have mentioned this had he appeared in Rocky Balboa as planned.
- Large Ham: "I'm gonna crucify him! Real bad."
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: CLUBBER LANG! He also has quite a personality to match. Even Mickey doesn't want to mess with him.
- Nothing Personal: While he is an all out Jerkass to Rocky, he doesn't really hate him.Clubber: I don't hate Balboa, but I pity the fool. And I will destroy anyone who tries to take what I got.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: He has this when he keeps clubbing Rocky but can't knock him down.
- Scary Black Man: Absolutely plays this role to the hilt, as an ex street fight turned ruthless, knockout machine of a boxer who trash talks and attacks anyone around him on a moment's notice.
- Trash Talker: Par excellence. In fact, it was his trash talking that got him a shot at the title, since Mickey made sure the match wouldn't be made and Rocky was about to retire before Clubber's trash talking caused Rocky to lose his cool and make the match.
- Sincerity Mode: During an interview with the upcoming rematch against Rocky, Lang admits that he doesn't hate the guy, but he "pities the fool!" When he was asked about his prediction for the match, without any personal bias, he tones down his usual attitude and simply responded with "pain."
- The Unfought: Would have been this for Rocky had Rocky retired as planned.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Fittingly enough as an Evil Counterpart and foil for Rocky, he also starts as this, but never progresses further, whereas Rocky does.
- Villain Forgot to Level Grind: How he got outclassed in the rematch. See Unskilled, but Strong and especially Crippling Overspecialization above.
Played by: Dolph Lundgren (1985)
A Soviet amateur fighter who, due to being unable to compete as a professional, (Eastern Bloc athletes of the time did not compete in professional leagues, only in the Olympics and other amateur leagues) is being touted as a potentially awesome but unproven boxer. Apollo sees this and is sure he knows better, and challenges Drago to exhibition fight. After Apollo loses and dies from his injuries, Rocky challenges Drago to an unlicensed bout in Russia that will not be recognized as legitimate by boxing authorities.
- All There in the Manual: According to Rocky: The Ultimate Guide, Drago's career stalls until the fall of the USSR five years later, and he turns pro, winning one of the World Title belts, its not specified which one, and amassing a record of 31 straight wins by KO. He never unifies the World titles or fights the top contenders of the early 90s due to promotion politics. His only loss in his entire career was against Rocky.
- Alternate Ending: In Rocky Legends, Drago defeats Rocky, and has his own national anthem going on afterwards.
- Badass: His punching strength is over two times the average psi for a boxer, and close to three at tops. Rocky seemingly takes his blows way easier than Apollo's or Lang's, despite the fact that Drago's blows should theoretically make his head explode. And Rocky does this for a whole fifteen rounds. If you're willing to ignore Stallone calling ''Rocky V'' non-canon, it does cause Rocky brain damage in that movie.
- Badass Boast:
- To Apollo: "You will lose."
- And the most famous of them all, towards Rocky: "I must break you."
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Not exactly evil, but very intimidating.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: He absolutely pounds Apollo in the first two rounds, actually killing him. He initially has the better of Rocky during the first round of their match, but Rocky manages to turn the tables in the second round.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: The reason why Drago's training to go beyond his usual 1850 PSI punch is because he and his trainers are well aware that Rocky can take alot of inhuman abuse. It still doesn't beat Rocky.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He's married to Ludmilla Drago.
- Heel–Face Turn: When he starts fighting Rocky, he becomes arrogant and dominant in the rounds, but when Rocky manages to fight back, he is impressed by his skill and determination. ("He's not human, he's like a piece of iron.") While he did still fight Rocky, he turns against his trainers (and to an extent, his own country) with the following words.Drago: I fight to win, FOR ME!!! FOR ME!!!!
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With his wife. Until you remember that Bridgitte Nielsen is about 6 feet tall, to give you an idea about how huge he really is.
- Husky Russkie: Standing at 6'5, which almost lost Lundgren the part because he was just too tall.
- Jerkass: Though he shows a bit of honor in the end.
- Kick the Dog: Shows no remorse for killing Apollo, what prevented him from crossing the Moral Event Horizon is that he's doing it all for his country and that he shows respect to Rocky in the end of the fight.
- Lack of Empathy: "If he dies, he dies."
- Made of Iron: Until Rocky managed to cut him.
- Mother Russia Makes You Strong: This is the Soviet PR about him, but it's not just Mother Russia at work, judging by the syringes he's injected with during training...
- Not So Invincible After All: He initially has the better of Rocky during the first round of their match, seeming unfazed by Rocky's punches... until the second round, when Rocky lands a punch that cuts him below his left eye, after which things even out.
- Playing with Syringes: With lots of steroids... possibly.
- Punch Clock Villain: Despite his Jerkass qualities, he's a pawn of the Soviet government rather than deliberately vicious (unlike, say, Clubber Lang or the villains in Rocky V).
- The Quiet One: His handler and wife do the talking. He does the punching. It's established that while he does speak and understand English, he's just a man of few (if any) words.
- Silent Snarker: During the prefight trash talk with Creed. He's the only one to catch on that the argument between his handler and Creed is simple trash talk to psych each other out and simply pushes Creed as his own way of snarking back.
- The Stoic: until he's in the ring.
- Super Soldier: His intense super-sciencey training mixed with heavily implied steroid use.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Major subversion. Apollo thinks he is this, due to the limited number of Drago bouts that Apollo can view footage from. Apparently, Drago's skill and form had improved by leaps and bounds since his last bout that Apollo saw.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: According to Stallone, while making Rocky Balboa, Drago would have been consumed by alcoholism or long-term steroid abuse.
- Worthy Opponent: He quickly comes to respect Rocky's toughness and determination during their bout, ("He's not human. He is like a piece of iron") and shows that respect near the end of their bout.
Ludmilla Vobet Drago
Played by: Brigitte Nielsen (1985)
Ivan Drago's wife, who doesn't play a big role, but is supportive of her husband's career.
- Adaptational Badass: It says something when being a playable fighter in Rocky Legends means she can take on Rocky or her own husband in a fair fight. See for yourself.
- Ascended Extra: In the X-Box version of Rocky Legends, she is a playable character, making her the only female boxer in the game.
- Even Evil Has Standards: While it was a clear lie and that Ivan did take steroids, Ludmilla does encourage healthy eating to become strong. Even making a joke about Popeye with it.
- Happily Married: Whatever else, she and Drago appear to care for each other.
- Informed Ability: She is labeled early on as an Olympic Swimmer.
- Voice for the Voiceless: Not that Ivan never speaks, but she speaks for him when she needs to, mostly when in front of the press.
George Washington Duke
Played by: Richard Gant (1990)
Appeared in Rocky V. A powerful and extremely unprincipled boxing promoter who is trying to capitalize on getting current Heavy Weight Champion, Union Cane, in a match with the legendary ex-champion, Rocky Balboa. Unfortunately, due to Rocky's injuries, both he and Adrian decline to make the match, but Duke tries anything, and everything, he can to coerce Rocky into a match.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Duke wanted a sanctioned fight between Rocky and Union Cane. When he didn't get that, he tries to get one for Rocky and Tommy Gunn. He got it, but it wasn't sanctioned...
- The Chessmaster: The man has schemes on top of schemes, and there's always a fall back option when one of those schemes doesn't work out. Until his attempts to get Rocky and Tommy so angry at each other that they'll do anything to fight each other winds up in them getting into a street fight rather than a boxing match.
- The Determinator: He tries everything he can think of to get Rocky back into the ring. Get him to lose all his money? Check. Try to convince him that he doesn't have brain damage? Check. Steals away Tommy Gunn for a more elaborate scheme later? Check. Bribes Rocky and his family with birthday gifts before rubbing in his face that Tommy Gunn is now with him? Check. Finally has Tommy humiliated just so he can personally force Rocky out of retirement? Ccccheck!
- Didn't Think This Through: He intended Tommy to force Rocky out of retirement for a prize fight. He never counted on Rocky to say "my ring's outside."
- Evil Mentor: He steals Tommy Gunn away from Rocky, with promises of fame and fortune. He even intentionally staged the champion fight just so Tommy can get ridiculed and convinces him to challenge Rocky, seeming that master versus apprentice is much more profitable than a regular title match.
- Faux Affably Evil: He acts friendly but it's all an act.
- Jerk Ass: And how!
- Large Ham: A larger than life attitude is all part of the game for a fight promoter.
- Laser-Guided Karma: He's willing to ruin the lives and careers of fighters by ignoring pesky issues like "health risks". At the end of the movie he gets a little taste of what fighters go through, and all his wealth and legal maneuvering didn't help him much. Doubly so if you believe the theory that he was responsible for Rocky losing his fortune, which is exactly what makes his threat to sue Rocky ineffective.Duke: Touch me and I'll sue.Rocky: *uppercuts Duke, launching him onto his car* Sue me for what?!
- Only in It for the Money: He doesn't care if one match with Rocky could possibly disable him, or even kill him. What matters to him is that he profits from the match, and he'll do anything to make that happen.
- Riches to Rags: It's implied that he was the cause of Rocky losing his fortune.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: As far as he's concerned, money is more powerful than rules any day, and he assumes that everyone else thinks this way too.
- Smug Snake: Cocky enough to threaten Rocky to sue if he gets hurt, Rocky wiped his grin off his face.
Tommy "The Machine" Gunn
Played by: Tommy Morrison (1990)
Appeared in Rocky V. A poor young man seeking to become a professional fighter, he has left his home in hopes of being trained by the legendary Rocky. At first Rocky refuses, but eventually agrees. Tommy proves a talented student, but eventually becomes frustrated at the slow pace with which Rocky insists on developing his professional career, believing that he's ready to be champion. This provides an opportunity for unethical promoter George Washingtion Duke to first sign Tommy, then turn him against Rocky.
- Always Someone Better/Overshadowed by Awesome: At first he is delighted at being Rocky's pupil and the two become quite friendly, but when he finds Rocky getting more attention than he does and the media always compares the two, he begins to resent Rocky... see also Dude, Where's My Respect? below.
- Ascended Fanboy: Tommy has been a big fan of Rocky when he was younger. He took a trip to Philadelphia, with risks included, just so he could ask Rocky if he can be trained. He sure is gleeful when he accepts.
- Corrupt the Cutie: He may be aggressive, but at one time he was a genuinely nice guy who just had some personal issues that needed to be ironed out. Then GW Duke got ahold of him. Paulie even saw this coming.Paulie: The ship's sinking, Rocko.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: The news media loves to make Tommy Gunn out to be as if he's Rocky's puppet. Even when he won the title match, everyone berated him for a variety of reasons, almost all of which are related to Rocky (he can never measure up to being like Rocky, AND he is berated for leaving Rocky for GW Duke), eventually fueling his need to take Rocky on.
- Face–Heel Turn: From humble, eager, and mindful with Rocky, to mean, angry, and irrational with Duke.
- Freudian Excuse: Tommy definitely has Daddy issues, as he elaborates early on. He may have projected some of them onto Rocky by the end of the movie."My dad was the first guy I punched out. Every time I go into the ring, I see him again."
- From Nobody to Nightmare: From a poor kid with daddy issues alone on the streets of an unfamiliar city to World Heavyweight Champion to a crazy aggressive punk willing to attack his former father figure, (and anybody that tries to help said father figure) in public.
- Lonely at the Top: Thanks to Rocky, he's made it up to become a contender for the heavy weight belt, but dumps Rocky for GW Duke just so he can get the fame and money he wanted. He got his belt, but he gained no respect from anybody, especially because he abandoned Rocky. When he takes on Rocky in the street fight and loses, he may still be the champion, but only on paper to many, MANY people as an aging Rocky can still beat him down. Being arrested and having Duke disown him afterward also didn't help his case.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Duke encouraged Tommy to get angry and get Rocky to fight him. Punching Paulie in the face got Rocky angry too, angry enough to get a street brawl going on. Not the type of fight Duke had in mind...
- Only in It for the Money: A big reason why Don King ersatz George Washington Duke convinces him to dump Rocky as his manager is because Duke can get Tommy much more cash than Rocky.
- Passing the Torch: Rocky provides Tommy the same shorts Apollo gave him later in his career.
- Pyrrhic Villainy: Tommy casting Rocky aside in favor of sleazy promoter George Washington Duke gets him fame, the heavyweight title, and presumably money, (although considering that the man Duke is an analogue of is absolutely notorious for cheating and ripping off his fighters, that last one probably shouldn't be automatically assumed) but Tommy's fame is short lived, because he betrayed Rocky the press and fans alike turn on him, and getting arrested after losing to an aging Rocky in a street fight probably means that Tommy won't profit from his actions nearly as much as he expected to, if at all.
- Punny Name: All referring to the Thompson submachine gun, or tommy gun as it's often called.
- A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Starts the film pleading with Rocky to have Rocky train and teach him, eventually sells out and throws Rocky aside. He even refused to thank Balboa for his success at getting the title belt.
- True Final Boss: In Rocky Legends, Career mode for Rocky went on and on until he takes on Tommy in a street brawl match, much like how career mode started.
- Ungrateful Bastard: To be fair, the media hasn't been making this easy on him...
- Unskilled, but Strong: His natural approach is to simply brute force his way through fights, though he gets a bit more skilled after Rocky starts training and managing him.
- Unstoppable Rage: The first time we see him fight, he is shown as overly aggressive and give a sparring partner a nasty beating. Thanks to Rocky, he's managed to control it until the street fight scene where the press, GW Duke's speech to him, and Paulie calling him off all lead to him wanting to draw Rocky's blood.
- Walking Spoiler There's only so much you can say about him without spoiling his Face–Heel Turn, and subsequent actions.
Played by: Michael Anthony Williams (1990)Appeared in Rocky V. A heavy weight champion who claimed the belt shortly after Rocky retired. He is eager to challenge Rocky, but the fight never happened due to the health problems Rocky developed after the fight with Drago in Rocky IV. He eventually takes on Tommy Gunn, only to be knocked out in the first round.
- Adaptational Badass: In Rocky Legends, he is a playable character, and predictably, can last much longer in the ring then he did in the movie.
- Flat Character: If you thought Ivan Drago was a flat character, just see Union Cane. This guy barely has any screen time or characteristics shown.
- Paper Tiger: He became a top contender for the world championship before Rocky retired and became champion once Rocky was no longer in the way, so you'd think he'd be able to put up a fight. Tommy Gunn floored him in the first round after dominating him. (This could be a bonus intended for boxing fans, as Duke's real life counterpart Don King frequently used his influence to get his fighters titles and spots as contenders ahead of more deserving fighters.) The reporters lampshade this when they're deriding Tommy's achievements in the ring."The guy's a paper champion!"
- Red Herring: The next villain in the Rocky film? Nope.
- The Unfought: Rocky never got to fight him, leaving the title belt his for the taking.
- Applies even in Rocky Legends, where none of the characters in career mode gets to face him. Ouch.
Mason "The Line" Dixon
Played by: Antonio Tarver (2006)
A successful and dominant heavyweight champion from the 2000s, he has everything (money, friends, women, etc) except the respect of the people, who see him constantly winning his fights with such ease that they assume his opponents must be hopeless bums. As a result, the only people who seem a fair match for Dixon are the greats of the past, and when a computer simulation shows Dixon losing by KO to a prime Rocky Balboa, Dixon's management sees it as an interesting chance for an exhibition just as Rocky is looking at getting his boxing license back.
- The Ace: He's the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, meaning that he either defeated all the world champions before him and unified the belts or defeated the guy who did it. He's so good that nobody takes him seriously because he doesn't appear to have faced any real challenges.
- Boring Invincible Hero: At the start, he's unpopular with fans due to a string of easy, quick wins.
- Captain Ersatz: Of Roy Jones Jr and Floyd "Money" Mayweather. And his penchant for first-round knockouts brings a little bit of Mike Tyson into the character, too.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Despite being the current Heavyweight champion and undefeated, he didn't got any respect from the crowd. He did get it after his fight with Balboa. There's a bit of Truth in Television here. There have been many fighters who didn't get the respect they deserve because the guys around are nowhere near their level. Therefore, it creates the illusion that a dominant champion is fighting nothing but bums. In contrast, Muhammad Ali receives platitudes not just because of his tremendous skills, but because of the high level of the other heavyweights around, nearly all of whom Ali fought and beat.
- Lonely at the Top: Heavyweight Champion and undefeated, but is anything but loved by the crowds. Not because he's a bad guy, but because his fights are too easy. It doesn't help that his managers also don't respect him very much as they're more motivated by money than gaining him respect.
- Jerkass: Averted. He's actually a fairly nice guy as the film portrays. He's just disgruntled by the lack of respect from the press, especially considering that he agreed to a match where some of the proceeds will go to charity.
- Only in It for the Money: Averted. He may be rich, but he doesn't have the respect he wanted. He also clearly misses his old manager, Marvin, and decided to recruit him back since he's the only guy who really respects him. Not to mention firing him wasn't even his decision.Marvin: You came back after you let me go?Mason: C'mon Marvin, you know I ain't got nothing to do with that.
- Punny Name: For those who don't get the joke, the Mason-Dixon line was the result of a compromise in 19th century American Politics on where slavery would be legal. South of the line it was legal, north of the line it was not.
- Villains Out Shopping: Not really a villain, but we first see him playing basketball with some friends.
- Worthy Opponent: Mason treated the idea of fighting an old Rocky as a joke, but he does respect him on a personal level, and later respects him as a great fighter during the match.
Played by Hulk Hogan (1982)
A wrestler who participates in a charity event boxer vs wrestler match. He puts on quite a show against Rocky, and by extension, the immediate crowd that participated. In the end of it, he compliments Rocky and his pals and has a photo shoot with him.
- The Ace: He IS the wrestling world champion at the time of Rocky III
- Atrocious Alias: His lips are made of thunder? Does he emit thunder when he kisses? A reference to his trash talking, bombastic personality? Whatever the truth might be, there were better names out there.
- The Big Guy: In the mid-ring staredown, Rocky is at eye level with his nipples.
- Large Ham: Par of the course, and Hogan doesn't disappoint. He's also this In-Universe, since he adopts a completely different, over the top persona for his matches and in hyping up the crowd.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: A total jerk that will attack anyone who tries to stop him in the ring. An utterly kind gentleman outside of the ring. He just loves to put on a good show.Rocky: Yo why were you so rough out there?Thunderlips: That's the name of the game.
- Red Baron: The Ultimate Male, A Mountain Of Molten Lust.
- Wrestling Monster: Oh hell yeah.
Played by Jodi Letizia (I, 1976), and Geraldine Hughes (Balboa, 2006)Marie is that young girl who appeared in Rocky I, who has been hanging out with other juvenile delinquents, whom Rocky tried to convince her away, which seemed unsuccessful at first. A long time later, Marie is working at a bar, supporting herself and her son, without her husband, but becomes friends with Rocky and catches up on old times. She eventually becomes his moral support.
- Progressively Prettier: In Rocky Balboa, she becomes less shy and a little more prettier as the movie progresses.
- Random Smoking Scene: The first and last time we saw her in a Rocky movie, til 30 years later...
- Shrinking Violet: In a deleted scene, she is implied to be one towards Rocky until the guy in the wheelchair (only present in this scene) convinces her to go with Rocky for a safe ride home.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Rocky, in a show of his own inner goodness, convinces Marie to quit smoking and seek out better friends and to stay in school, and he even walks her home. Her response? "Screw you, creepo!" Becomes funny, and tragic when you see her in Rocky Balboa...
Played by James Francis Kelly III (2006)Marie's son, whom she had to raise in the slums, alone. He is a nice guy who stays out of trouble, and is glad to work for Rocky as his personal assistant. He also helps him train when Rocky decides to fight Mason.
- Disappeared Dad: His dad left him when he was younger.
Played by Pedro Lovell (I, 1976; Balboa, 2006)
The first opponent we see Rocky take on in the first movie. We don't see him again until Rocky Balboa, who is seen as Rocky's friend.
- Ascended Extra: He went from being an uncredited, irrelevant to the story fighter, to being Rocky's old friend.
- Cool Old Guy: Even though Rocky beat him before hand, he's the only fighter to back talk Rocky without getting hit.Spider: Don't make me fight you again. Last time you got lucky.
- Real Men Love Jesus: By Rocky Balboa, he appears to be a devoted Christian and prays with Balboa before his match with Mason.
Played by Joe Spinell (1976)
The Loan Shark who has Rocky under his employ in the first movie. He orders Rocky around to collect for him, but he's also a nice guy.
- Benevolent Boss: Despite conducting illegal business, he's not entirely immoral, and he'll even give Rocky extra cash when he felt that Rocky could need it, no strings attached.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Gazzo is never seen again after Rocky II, although he gets a passing mention in Rocky V. Even with Paulie down on his luck in Rocky III, Gazzo has not been mentioned once. In a deleted scene of Rocky Balboa, he does get mentioned again.
- Nice Guy: To Rocky. He's also nice enough to allow Paulie to take Rocky's place in the second film.
Adonis "Donnie" Johnson-Creed
Played by Michael B. Jordan
The son of Apollo, who Rocky takes under his wing in his golden years.
- The Ace: Slowly shaping himself to becoming one, despite his youth and lack of experience. He has his father's speed and Rocky's tenacity, which makes for a potent combination.
- Is more of a Jack-of-All-Stats. He lacks his father's size and reach, which made Apollo (what Rocky called) 'a perfect fighter', and while he can take a punishment, he doesn't have Rocky's Megaton Punch, which Rocky could use when his cast-iron jaw allowed him to close the distance with his opponent.
- Berserk Button: Using his father's name against him is a surefire way to introduce his fist to your face.
- The Determinator: Just like Rocky and Apollo, nothing will put this kid down in the final fight. His recovery from the biggest hit he receives is compared in film to "a man possessed."
- Composite Character: Has shades of both Rocky and Apollo, not just in character, but also in fighting styles. Adonis can tank blows and go to the body like his mentor, but he also has the agility of his father, and can just as easily go for the head.
- He can also has shades of Rocky's own son, Robert. Both of them struggle to make a name for themselves because of their fathers' legacies, and Adonis eventually comes to see Rocky as a father figure, and when they're not training in a fight, Adonis and Rocky's relationship are practically family-like.
- Contrasting Spin-Off Main Character: Pretty much the anti-thesis of Rocky Balboa in many aspects: Rocky was a poor, uneducated neighborhood bum in Philly making ends meet by prizefighting and working as a loan shark. Donnie, after being legally adopted by Apollo's wife, grew up comfortable in Los Angeles, was able to obtain a college degree, and worked a nine-to-five desk job in finance before quitting it to pursue boxing full-time. Both, however, wanted nothing more than to prove themselves to the world: Rocky proving that he's more than a poor ne'er do-well, Donnie proving that there is more to him than just his father's name and legacy.
- Rocky is an All-Loving Hero, and makes a lot friends, even with his opponents. Donnie, in contrast, has no friends due to his legacy and his combative attitude, and is close only to Rocky, Bianca, and his adopted mother.
- Mickey treated Rocky like a bum because the old coach felt Rock was wasting his talent. Lil' Duke refuses to train Donnie at his father's old gym partly to protect him, but mostly because of the perception that Donnie comes from wealth and doesn't deserve to be in the ring.
- Disappeared Dad: Apollo's death in the fourth film left him to grow up without a father, and he denies that his name has anything to do with why he wants to box himself.
- Genius Bruiser: Adonis, having been adopted by Apollo's wife and raised well by her, has apparently been promoted to a fairly prestigious position in his white collar job before he quits to pursue boxing, trains himself to box well enough to take on Olympic-level boxers, and has a "stat vision," showing he's memorized the records and stats for all his opponents.
- Happily Adopted: Even though he was the result of Apollo having an affair, Mary Ann treats him like her own child and Donnie clearly loves her.
- He also calls Rocky 'family'.
- Made of Iron: Getting knocked down and his face turned into hamburger give him momentary pause, but he picks his pace right back where he left it.
- Meaningful Name: Adonis is a Greek dying-and-rising god. This fits how many people in-universe start to see Adonis Creed as Apollo reincarnate.
- Theme Naming: Both Adonis and Apollo are Greek deities.
- Nom de Mom: Is initially reluctant to use his father's surname, going by Johnson rather than Creed, because he's afraid of besmirching his father's name with a humiliating loss. He's initially dismayed by HBO and Conlin's promoter wanting him to change his name to Creed for promotional reasons and even spends a night in prison after one of Bianca's fellow musicians friendlily calls him "Little Creed", which he escalated into a brawl. In the end, however, he learns to accept both names, with his new shorts having the name "CREED" on the front of the waistband and "JOHNSON" on the back.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Eventually, he wears the classic American flag shorts made iconic by his father.
Played by: Tessa ThompsonA singer-songwriter who lives below Adonis' new apartment, and later becomes his girlfriend.
- Adult Fear: Bianca is a musician, but wears hearing aids because she's suffering from progressive hearing loss, which means one day she will be totally deaf.
- Brutal Honesty: Sees right through Donnie's insistence that he wants to make it on his own as a fighter, and gently tells him that he sought out Rocky as a trainer for a reason.
- Deaf Composer: Suffers from progressive hearing loss, and so she tries to make as much music as possible before she loses her hearing completely.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Thankfully averted, even though she's a musician. Bianca is level-headed, calm, and supportive of Adonis, and is even more mature than he is.
- Morality Chain: Convinces Donnie to take up his father's name.
- The Power of Love: Adonis feels like he's known her his whole life, and she is one of the few rocks in his life.
- Satellite Love Interest: Defied. She has her own life and dreams outside of Donnie, and she works hard to achieve those dreams. When Donnie screws it up, she hits back hard.
- Second-Act Breakup: Does this twice. First when she learns that Donnie is actually the son of Apollo Creed (although that doesn't last long), the second when Donnie punches out a rapper who insulted him at Bianca's show. This time the breakup sticks longer.
"Pretty" Ricky Conlan
Adonis' main rival in Creed. Conlan is the undefeated light heavyweight champion from Liverpool, whose run-ins with the law will see him in jail soon, giving him a need for one more fight to support his family.
- Arrogant Kungfu Guy: Insults and mocks Adonis out and inside the ring. When Adonis lands his first punch, all Conlan does is smile.
- Call Back: Several of his crucial characterization elements are this to previous opponents in the series:
- Like Drago, Pretty Ricky is a taller, stronger, and just all-around more powerful champion from outside the US who ends up fighting the protagonist on his home court.
- Like Clubber Lang, Pretty Ricky had a rough youth that becomes apparent in his fighting style and personality, as well as a tendency to trash talk.
- And most ironically, Pretty Ricky is a family man moved to fight the protagonist at least in part for the sake of his kids, wins the protagonist's major fight by split decision, and comes to see Adonis as a Worthy Opponent, just like Apollo Creed.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Punches and breaks his original opponent's jaw during the weigh-in after some trash talking. Doesn't really calm down until Adonis earns his respect.
- Heel–Face Turn
- Jerkass: If breaking his opponents' jaw during the weigh-in wasn't enough, he goes right for the throat during the panel and wastes no time before viciously provoking Adonis (and seemed eager to come to blows with him, even). However...
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:...He comes to respect Adonis by the end of their fights, and endorses him as the next champion. He also cares enough for his family that his coach mentioning their welfare is enough to immediately persuade him to accept the fight.
- Worthy Opponent: Adonis slowly earns this from Pretty Ricky, and you can see his opinion of Adonis rising throughout the fight, ending with him giving Adonis his endorsement as the next likely champion.