Rocky Balboa

  • Directors: Sylvester Stallone
  • Producers: Charles Winkler, Billy Chartoff, David Winkler, Kevin King
  • Writers: Sylvester Stallone
  • Genres: Action, Sport
  • Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young, Milo Ventimiglia, Tony Burton, Antonio Tarver, Geraldine Hughes, James Francis Kelly III, Lou DiBella

In present-day Philadelphia, Rocky, now retired from boxing for roughly 20 years, is living in a row house in Kensington (a deleted scene reveals that his brother-in-law has been living with him). His wife Adrian has died (due to what Rocky ambiguously describes as “woman cancer”) in 2002, his son Robert has moved out on his own, and Rocky has retired to become owner of a small but successful Italian restaurant named Adrian’s. He charms his patrons with stories of his past.

Rocky visits his late wife’s grave site regularly, and embarks on an annual tour of Philadelphia landmarks that held importance to him and Adrian, including his old apartment on 1818 East Tusculum Street, the pet shop where Adrian worked, and the remains of the torn-down ice skating rink where Rocky took Adrian on their first date. Paulie (Burt Young) joins him on this tour, but does so at great personal pain because, in his opinion, he did not treat Adrian well during her life. Rocky counters this claim by reminding Paulie that Adrian loved him as well.

Rocky’s son, Robert (Milo Ventimiglia), is the total opposite of his fighter father and that of himself as a fighter kid– a buttoned-down, corporate-minded businessman who is trying to carve out his own place in a very different world. Rocky’s relationship with Robert is strained because Robert has always had to live under the champ’s shadow; he even believes that the only reason he was hired for his latest job was because of his last name. But through the course of the movie we see the relationship mend itself through Rocky’s admonishment to his son that his life is his own and he must be willing to take chances to succeed.

As the film (and series) concludes, the final image shows Rocky in the distance, waving to Adrian’s grave and, in effect, to the audience, before finally fading out himself. The credits roll next to real-life footage of individuals–among them the Phillie Phanatic–running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, ending with Rocky himself ascending them one last time.

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