Note: Since Rocky V
is not considered canon, any tropes exclusive to that movie are indicated to have been applied in Rocky V
. Any characters who only appeared in Rocky V
are also indicated.
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The 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 half way in 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.
- Against Clubber Lang in the rematch.
"YOU AIN'T SO BAD. YOU AIN'T SO BAD!"]
- Half way into the match against Drago, he's taunting him!
Duke: He's not a machine! HE IS A MAN!
- 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:
Rocky: Yo! Tommy! I don't hear no bell!
- 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:
- 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.
"You knocked him down, why don't you try knockin' me down now?"
- In Rocky Balboa, some punks were harassing him and Marie. Just a dose of Rocky's aggression, and that got them to shut up.
- 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.
- 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.
- Red Baron: The "Italian Stallion."
- Retired Badass: Briefly in Rocky II, and definitely in Rocky V. Also in Rocky Balboa.
- 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.
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.
- 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. Half way 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
"I don't sweat you."
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.
- The Cast Showoff: By Rocky Balboa, Paulie has been painting while on the job.
- 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.
"You're gonna eat lightning and crap thunder!"
Played by: Burgess Meredith (1976-82, 1990) note
"You're going to eat lightning, and you're gonna crap thunder!"
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.
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)
As he appeared in Rocky Balboa
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 July 4, 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 ridiculous extreme in IV.
- 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. Muhammad 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.
- 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 and 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.
- 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.
- 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 fight with Balboa.
- 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.
Tony "Duke" Evers
Played by: Tony Burton
"No pain. No pain."
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!"
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
"I want Balboa!"
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."
- 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.
- 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.
- Jerkass Fašade: While he is an all out Jerkass to Rocky, he doesn't really hate him.
I don't hate Balboa, but I pity the fool.
And I will destroy anyone who tries to take what I got.
- 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.
- 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.
"I must break you".
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.
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.
George Washington Duke
Played by: Richard Gant (1990)
Appeared in Rocky V
. The boxing promoter who is trying to capitalize on getting current Heavy Weight Champion, Union Cane, in a match with the legendary: Rocky Balboa. Unfortunately, due to Rocky's injuries, both him and Adrian decline, but Duke tries anything, and everything he can, just to coherence Rocky into a rematch.
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: How Don King ersatz George Washington Duke convinces him to dump Rocky as his manager.
- Passing the Torch: Rocky provides Tommy the same shorts Apollo gave him later in his career.
- 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: He brute-forces his way into fights, though he's gotten a bit more skilled after Rocky has been managing him.
- Unstoppable Rage: The first time we see him fight, he is shown as overly aggressive and give a sparring partner a near-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.
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 him, but was constantly declined to. He eventually takes on Tommy Gunn, only to be downed in the first round.
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: To the point where 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.
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 wheel chair (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.
Played by Pedro Lovell (I, 1976; Balboa, 2006)
Left: Rocky Balboa. Right: Rocky I
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.
- Real Men Love Jesus: By Rocky Balboa, he appears to be a devoted Christian and prays with Balboa before his match with Mason.
- Ungrateful Bastard: A sort of heart warming example: He receives free meals from Rocky in the sixth film. The only thing he's ungrateful about is that he was never told to pay him back, and decided to force himself into Rocky's kitchen so he can help around and earn his meals instead.
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.