With ‘Creed’, the latest film in the Rocky franchise out this week, we round up 10 reasons the legendary boxing films hold a special place in our hearts.
Well of course he has to be the main reason. He’s been the constant in the series and whether he wins or loses, or doesn’t even fight at all, he’s heroic.
One of the delights of Creed is that it pulls from all of Rocky’s past to make a richly emotional future. You feel for Rocky because you know all he’s been through. You feel for Adonis because you know where he’s come from.
As soon as you hear the opening bars from ‘Gonna Fly Now’ by Party Singers, also known as the Rocky theme, you want to get up and start punching the air. It’s the greatest work out song in history.
Rocky’s hometown is a vital part of the film, his life lived in the grittier parts of the neighbourhood.
You couldn’t have a Rocky movie without boxing. It would be like The Lord of the Rings without a ring. In the best matches in the series you feel every punch.
Have we reached the point in the film at which the hero finally has some belief in himself and decides he’s going to buckle down and do his best? Time for a montage!
Whether it’s the charismatic Apollo Creed, who would ultimately become his friend, or the villainous Ivan Drogo, the opponents in Rocky are always great characters. In Creed, real champion boxer Tony Bellew adds to the classic rival roster as world light heavyweight champion ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan.
The Rocky series has made the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art into one of the most recognisable places in film. They’ve been used for emotional resonance at Rocky’s highest and lowest points.
The love Rocky has for Adrian has been at the heart of his story. Even now she’s gone she’s still a constant presence in his life.
It’s one of the great underdog stories
Unlike a lot of sports movies, Rocky isn’t about winning, it’s about the underdog proving himself. Several of the films end with defeat, but the point is about overcoming expectations. That doesn’t require a big gold belt, it just means doing more than you thought you ever could. That’s heroism. That’s why you always root for Rocky.
Sign up for the newsletter
Creed is released in the UK on January 15th.