Rocky Balboa is the fictional boxer created by Sylvester Stallone in the 1976 film Rocky. The film tells the story of a down-and-out Philadelphia boxer who gets a long-shot title fight with heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. Rocky was a tremendous hit, winning the Academy Award as best picture and making Stallone a major Hollywood force. (The actor had been nearly unknown before writing the script and convincing producers to let him play the lead.) Rocky appeared in four numbered sequels, battling a series of pugilistic villains while winning and losing championships and fortunes: Rocky II (1978, featuring a rematch with Creed), Rocky III (1982, with Mr. T as opponent Clubber Lang), Rocky IV (1985, with Dolph Lundgren as Russian nemesis Ivan Drago), and Rocky V (1990, with Stallone's real-life son Sage as Rocky Balboa, Jr.). In 2006 Stallone brought the character back for a fifth sequel, Rocky Balboa, in which a much older Rocky comes out of retirement to fight an exhibition against a champion named Mason Dixon (played by real-life boxer Antonio Tarver).
Rocky?s nickname is ?the Italian Stallion?? The original Rocky also won Oscars for best director (John Avildsen) and best editing (Richard Halsey and Scott Conrad). The theme song ?Gonna Fly Now? was nominated for an Oscar and remains an iconic Hollywood tune? Stallone directed sequels II, III, IV, and Rocky Balboa. Avildsen returned to direct Rocky V? Avildsen also directed another underdog sports flick, The Karate Kid (1984)? The films defeated by Rocky in the best picture competition were Taxi Driver, All the President?s Men, Bound for Glory and Network? Tommy Morrison, the nephew of John Wayne, appeared in Rocky V as Rocky?s ungrateful proteg Tommy ?Machine? Gunn? Stallone has often said he was inspired to write the first film after seeing Chuck Wepner fight Muhammad Ali in 1975. Wepner sued Stallone in 2003, saying he had not received payments promised by Stallone; the two settled the suit out of court in 2006.
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