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  • Accidental Innuendo: Rocky's special training routine in the first film consists of him "beating his meat."
  • 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! Not to mention his proposal to Adrian. That goes down in history as one of the most sweet and awkward "Will you marry me"s in a movie.
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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Rocky can come across as quite a pushy jerk towards Adrian in the movie's first half. First of all, his complaints to Paulie about getting no response to his bad jokes. Then she only goes on a date with him because Paulie bullies her into it, which Rocky has no problem going along with. Finally, she repeatedly tries to beg off going into his apartment, only for Rocky to refuse to take no for an answer and keep badgering her until she gives in (and also, failing her entering, was apparently planning to let her walk home alone in a rough neighborhood). This is supposedly all justified by her being shy, and Rocky just wanting to bring her out of her shell for what she really wants, which he somehow knows.
  • Awesome Ego: Creed is one of the best boxers in the world and knows it, his fights are always given hype like you wouldn't believe (see Big-Lipped Alligator Moment). His ego winds up biting him in the ass twice though; first when he plays around with Rocky at the start of the first movie instead of really preparing, and secondly in Rocky IV when he challenges Drago in spite of being much older and assuming Drago was less skilled than he turned out to be.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: THE EYE OF THE TIIIIIIIIIGERRRRRR!
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Apollo Creed's nameless trainer in the first film gets an expanded role in all the subsequent ones, including getting a name (Duke). He ends up being the only character/actor other than Stallone and Burt Young to appear in all six films.
  • First Installment Wins: While quite good in their own rights (IV and V generally excepted), none of the seven sequels are anywhere near as iconic or critically adored as the original Rocky. It's the only film in the series to be preserved by the Library of Congress, for instance.
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  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Watching the growing relationship between Rocky and Apollo takes on a whole new dimension knowing Rocky will end up mentoring Apollo's son.
  • He Really Can Act: A lot of younger viewers who only know Stallone from action movies, where he (competently) plays very similar archetypes, are rather surprised at his brilliant performance in Rocky.
  • Ho Yay/Foe Yay: Apollo and Rocky. The third film's training montage includes them hugging while splashing through the ocean, and Apollo lends Rocky his old shorts.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the first movie, Rocky walks lil' Marie home. What was one thing he asks her? "Do you have a boyfriend?" Granted, it was in the context of him encouraging her to stick with only good people, but it's funny when you see how Marie and Rocky interact in Rocky Balboa, including her pecking a kiss on the lips.
    • During Apollo’s showboating before the fight, Rocky says "Is he talking to me?", sounding quite similar to Robert De Niro’s rather more famous delivery of "Are you talking to me?" in the film’s Best Picture opponent Taxi Driver.
    • Rocky explaining why he became a boxer with "Because I can't sing or dance" became pretty ironic when the story was made into a Broadway musical. And yes, that line was included.
    • The plot of the first movie concerns a club fighter who no one expected to put up a fight being matched against a champion way above his level, and managing to both hurt the champ (despite a near thirty pound weight disadvantage) and go the distance, partly due to said champ being a bit past his prime in his mid 30s, and partly due to the champ also not taking his opponent seriously and thus showing up somewhat out of shape. The underdog loses, but it's in a split decision much closer than anyone thought it was going to be. Two years later, Muhammad Ali (one of the main inspirations for Apollo Creed) would match himself against club fighter Leon Spinks, expecting an easy victory since the guy had only six professional fights to his name at that point. Instead, the past his prime Ali showed up somewhat out of shape while Spinks (like Rocky) trained like a demon for his big shot, and the result was that he not only hurt Ali (despite a near thirty pound weight disadvantage) and went the distance, but won the bout in a split decision.note 
    • At the end of the fight, an exhausted Apollo Creed and Rocky tell each other, "Ain't gonna be no rematch." "Don't want one." Rocky had a sequel building up to just that, and went on to be a notorious case of a franchise that seemingly had no end.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Paulie, Paulie, Paulie. Best summarised by Rocky in Creed.
    Rocky: "Paulie was my best friend, but he wasn't so friendly."
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Any big, strong, Russian character with a mean streak (or just a flat-out desire to win) will have Ivan Drago's famous line "I must break you" tied to them at one point or another.
    • I PITY THE FOOL!
    • "ADRIAAAAAAAAAN!" (And let's not forget the smaller meme: YO ADRIAN, I DID IT!!!)
    • Yer a BUM Rakkko.
    • IF I CAN CHANGE, THEN YOU CAN CHANGE... THAT MEANS EVERYBODY CAN CHANGE!!!
    • The steps. Just,...just the steps.
    • He'll kill ya Rock! He's a wwwrrrrecking machine!
    • You're gonna eat lightning and crap thunder!
    • Rocky's Training Montage, especially the one from the first film, is often copied in format by other serious Sports Stories and parodied by more comedic works.
    • The concept of the movie itself. Calling anything a Rocky moment, a Rocky story, or what have you, is pretty much synonymous with an underdog story. Rocky is a Trope Codifier for the underdog.
    • A heartwarming example. Rocky's speech to his son in the sixth film. People have been known to send it to a friend or family member that's feeling down, anxiety, or going through some kind of depression. The scene's been reputed to be a good motivation starter.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: There are a variety of different Rocky games. Some mediocre, and some that just scream this trope.
    • No Problem with Licensed Games: Although many would agree that Rocky on PS2 and X-Box is a worthy attempt, and Rocky Legends is a Surprisingly Improved Sequel. It helps that it offers a story mode where you follow Rocky and three other main characters, with at least one unique training game for each.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Back when the films were new, when Rocky trained to "Gonna Fly Now" and "Eye of the Tiger" it was electric and inspiring. A million parodies later, the music has become a cliche. Ditto for the oft-parodied stairs scene.
  • Sequelitis: The franchise was widely accused of this, becoming a frequent source of mockery as the series progressed. Averted by Rocky Balboa and even more averted by Creed, which has a Tomatometer score of 95%, the highest in the series.
  • Signature Scene: Rocky's run through the streets of Philadelphia, with "Gonna Fly Now" playing in the background and ending with running up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps, is the film's most famous scene.
  • Squick: The eggs.
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • A retrospective of the entire series points out how it can get pretty disturbing how you're asked over and over to root for a white guy to beat up various black guys. One would need to ignore the ''Creed'' films for this take to work, however.
    • The franchise has sometimes also been criticized for appropriating the life story of real life Philadelphia heavyweight legend Smokin' Joe Frazier without paying him any financial compensation (The Rocky films broke box office record at the same speed Philadelphia's real life Rocky Joe Frazier struggled to keep his gym open in one of Philly's poorest districts), having the unfortunate side-effect of the public (and even Philadelphia itself) honoring more a fictional white champion than a real life black one, to the point of building a statue to Rocky a full decade before even considering building one for Joe Frazier. The result has been linked to cultural appropriation and erasure of a black sporting icon.
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