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Rocky V

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Rocky V is the fifth film in the Rocky series. It was released on November 16, 1990. The film stars Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Stallone's real life son Sage Stallone and real life boxer Tommy Morrison as boxer Tommy Gunn, a talented yet raw boxer, who only uses Rocky for his connections and to try to win the World Heavyweight title. Sage Stallone played Rocky Jr., whose relationship with his famous father is explored. After Stallone directed the second through fourth films in the series, Rocky V saw the return of director John G. Avildsen, whose direction of the first film won him an Academy Award for Best Director. The film earned $14 million on its opening weekend and $40 million in total U.S. box-office sales, about one-third of its predecessor's take. It was both a critical and financial bomb, and it wasn't until 2006 that Stallone decided to close the series out with Rocky Balboa.

Plot synopsisEdit

Template:Plot Rocky V begins with Rocky in his dressing room after the Drago fight, with him and his trainer: Tony "Duke" Evers, who is praising Rocky for his victory. Rocky however, seen to be in some form of physical discomfort, calls for Tony to find his wife Adrian because something is wrong with him. His hands are shaking, and he can't make them stop. In addition to that, he keeps calling Adrian "Mick", the name of his deceased former trainer.

Rocky returns home from the Soviet Union, and is greeted by his son, Robert. At the following press conference, a crooked promoter named George Washington Duke (a parody of boxing promoter Don King) tries to goad Rocky into fighting the new #1 contender to his championship, Union Cane, in Tokyo. With Adrian insisting on her husband's retirement, Rocky decides, at least for the time being, not to take the fight with Cane.

Rocky, Adrian, and Adrian's brother Paulie return to their Philadelphia home to find out that Paulie had signed 'power of attorney' over to Balboa's accountant, who had, in turn, squandered most of his money on real estate flipping. Now bankrupt, Rocky immediately decides that he needs to take the fight against Cane. However, years of fighting have taken their toll on Rocky's health, especially the last one with Drago, and after a physical evaluation, it is determined that Rocky has suffered significant brain damage, and that he can no longer fight without further risking his health. Rocky is forced to give up the championship and move back into his old Philadelphia neighborhood, where he, Adrian, Paulie and Robert must try to start their lives over again.

Things start to look up for the family when Rocky meets a hungry young fighter from Oklahoma named Tommy Gunn and takes him under his wing. Training the young fighter gives Rocky a sense of purpose, and he slowly helps Tommy fight his way up the ladder to become a top contender. Meanwhile, the new friendship results in Rocky paying little attention to Robert, who becomes withdrawn and angry. He eventually falls in with the wrong crowd at school, and as a result he begins acting out at home.

Tommy's rapid rise through the ranks catches the eye of Duke, who uses the promise of a title shot and Tommy's own resentment at being compared to his trainer to lure him away from Rocky. Duke pulls up outside the Balboa house with Tommy in tow, who has now been brainwashed into thinking that Rocky doesn't have his best interests in mind. When Rocky tries to convince his friend otherwise, an ungrateful Tommy drives off in a huff, leaving Rocky for good.

As he watches Tommy’s car speed off into the night, his head suddenly pounds with nightmarish flashbacks of his fight with Drago. When Adrian attempts to comfort him, Rocky's frustrations finally boil over. He confesses that his life had meaning again when he was able to live vicariously through Tommy’s success. She reasons with him, telling him that Tommy never had his heart and spirit – that it was something he could never learn. When this realization hits him, an emotional Rocky embraces his wife and they begin to pick up the pieces. After having found Robert hanging out on a street corner, Rocky apologizes to his son, and they mend their broken relationship.

Under Duke, Tommy does indeed win the heavyweight title by knocking out Union Cane out in the first round. However, it is an empty victory for Tommy as the angry crowd chants Rocky's name instead, much to Tommy's bemusement. Afterward, the press tells Tommy that Cane was nothing more than a "second-rate fighter" and that even as champion, he could never live up to Balboa's great legacy. Duke himself later admits to Tommy that the public will never consider him the real champion because he never fought Balboa.

Tommy decides to settle the matter once and for all by going to Rocky's neighborhood and challenging him to a fight in the ring. Accompanied by a small camera crew, Tommy and Duke lay down their challenge, which Rocky declines. Tommy follows him into the bar and the two argue, Rocky telling him Duke was only using him to get what he wants. Tommy then proceeds to taunt Rocky, leading Paulie to step in and criticize Tommy for betraying his former mentor. Tommy loses his temper and punches Paulie in the face. Finally, Rocky decides he has seen enough and challenges Tommy to a street fight. Despite Duke's protests, Tommy accepts and the fight is on. As Tommy approaches, Rocky unloads a barrage of punches, sending him reeling back into a pile of garbage. After lamenting their fractured relationship, Balboa turns and walks away, but Tommy quickly jumps him from behind. The bar patrons attempt to aid Rocky, but Tommy fights them off and tackles Rocky into the street.

Rocky is initially beaten down by Tommy and is seemingly out for the count, bleeding profusely. His head once again pounds with hellish visions of the fight with Drago, and with visions of Mickey’s burial. It is then that he hears his old mentor’s voice urging him to go one last round. Remarkably, Rocky finds the strength to get back up for "one more round" with Tommy. With Robert, Adrian, Paulie, and the whole neighborhood cheering him on, Rocky utilizes his vast street smarts to defeat Tommy, knocking his former protege into the grill of a bus with his final blow. After the fight, Duke commends Rocky and tries to appeal to him, but Rocky has heard enough. Duke threatens to sue him if Rocky touches him, but after a brief hesitation, Rocky punches him in the gut, knocking him onto the hood of a car. The crowd erupts as the bankrupt Rocky shrugs and asks, "Sue me for what?"

Rocky and Robert meet up the next day at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Rocky gives Robert the cuff-link given to him as a gift from Mickey. They make their way to the museum, and the film ends with a shot of Rocky's statue looking out over Philadelphia. Template:Copyedit

Critical reactionEdit

In addition to its disappointing numbers at the box office, this segment in the Rocky series left a sour taste in some fans' mouths as it left the hero back where he started, arguably with nothing to show for it, Rotten Tomatoes gives Rocky V a 21% "rotten" rating on their site. The film departed from the standard Rocky formula on display in the previous four films and that made it extremely unpopular with the audience that was drawn to sequels. Sylvester Stallone himself had gone on record in saying he wasn't satisfied with the finished product, saying "I wanted to finish the series on a high and emotional note and Rocky V didn't do that."[1]However, Sylvester Stallone was praised for his performance and the film, oddly enough, received some positive feedback from some fans, similar to the second and third Rambo installments.

ESPN's Bill Simmons, a noted fan of the Rocky movies, has said on record that he does not consider Rocky V a true part of the series and that as far as he is concerned, it "never happened.[2]"

As a result of, and in response to, Rocky V's poor box office performance (and the general dissatisfaction with the end of the franchise), Sylvester Stallone wrote, directed, and starred in Rocky Balboa, the sixth and final chapter to the saga released 16 years after this movie, in an attempt to redeem the character for a final chance to come back as a hero again, and do the story justice by bringing it full circle. It succeeded by grossing over $70 million at the U.S. box office as well and $85 million abroad and getting largely positive reviews from both fans and critics.

On February 15, 2008 in an interview with Jonathan Ross on the BBC, Stallone was asked by Ross what marks out of ten he would give each of the Rocky films. When he came to Rocky V, Stallone instantly replied that he would give the film zero, and reiterated that this was part of his motivation in making Rocky Balboa.


This soundtrack is not an original motion picture score, but rather has music from and inspired by the film. This soundtrack features Joey B. Ellis, Elton John, MC Hammer, 7A3, MC Tab, Rob Base, and Bill Conti. Most of the soundtrack is rap music, rather than Bill Conti tunes. Also, two of the scores from Rocky IV were featured in this film's trailer, but were not present in the actual film. [3]


The film contains cameos by several sportswriters and boxing analysts, most notably Al Bernstein, Stan Hochman and Al Meltzer. Sportscaster Stu Nahan makes his fifth appearance in the Rocky series, this time as a sports journalist.

Rocky's priest friend Father Carmine (Paul Micale) makes his second of two appearances in the Rocky series, the first being in Rocky II.

The character "Tommy Gunn" was played by real-life boxer Tommy Morrison. Morrison's nickname in boxing was "The Duke" similar to George Washington Duke who becomes his manager in the movie. Morrison is also the grand-nephew of John "The Duke" Wayne.

Michael Williams (III), who plays Union Cane, was also a real-life boxer. He and Morrison were to have an actual match about a month after Rocky V was released, but had to be canceled when Williams was hurt. The match was being hyped as "The Real Cane vs. Gunn Match."

George Washington Duke (Richard Gant) is based on Don King.

Tony Burton briefly reprises his role as Duke at the beginning of the film. However, during his scenes, Rocky refers to him as "Tony." In the credits, Burton is credited as playing "Tony," as opposed to "Duke" (perhaps to avoid confusion with the George Washington Duke character) Rocky V is the second time in the series to do so, with the first being Rocky II as Apollo asked "What are you afraid of Tony?" Rocky Balboa names Burton's character, "Duke Evers." Most fans take this to imply that his name is Tony 'Duke' Evers.

Scenes with Mickey, played by Burgess Meredith, were trimmed in the final film when Rocky fights Tommy. Mickey appeared in ghost form on top of the railway bridge, giving words of encouragement. In the final film, this was made into flashbacks. The speech Mickey gives to Rocky in the flashback sequence is based on an interview with Cus D'Amato given in 1985, shortly after Mike Tyson's first professional bout.

Jodi Letizia, who played street kid Marie in the original Rocky (1976), was supposed to reprise her role here. Her character was shown to have ended up as Rocky predicted she would: a whore, but the scene ended up on the cutting room floor. The character would eventually reappear in Rocky Balboa (2006), as a bartender and confidante to the aging Rocky. Actress Geraldine Hughes took over the role.

Kevin Connolly, who gained success as Eric Murphy on HBO's Entourage, was in his first acting role as neighborhood bully Chickie.

Production notesEdit

Some of the fight sequences were filmed at the The Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, a venue which was a mecca for boxing in the city during the 1970s.

The image of Gunn's first professional fight, the pullback from the mural of Jesus over the boxing ring, mirrors the opening shot of the first Rocky movie. Adrian goes back to working at the pet shop she first worked at in the original Rocky.

The golden glove necklace featured so prominently in this film was first seen in Rocky II(worn by Apollo Creed), then again throughout Rocky IV. As a promotional gimmick, replicas of the necklace were distributed to moviegoers at the Hollywood premiere of Rocky V at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. The famous red, white and blue boxing trunks first worn by Apollo Creed in his fight with Rocky in the first film make their fifth and final appearance in this film. Rocky's leather coat introduced in Rocky IV makes its second and final appearance in the franchise at the start of the movie. The Ring Magazine belt in Rocky's basement and the identical belt Morrison wins in the ring have changed slightly from the previous movies; they are missing the four side panels showing famous champions George Foreman, James J. Corbett, James J. Braddock, and Jersey Joe Walcott.

According to Sylvester Stallone, pro wrestling legend Terry Funk helped choreograph much of the street fight between Rocky and Tommy Gunn. Sylvester Stallone originally intended for Rocky to die after defeating Tommy Gunn in their streetfight, however according to him, the director, and the studio they had second thoughts and eventually, Stallone rewrote the ending.


A workprint has been circulating on the internet recently of John G. Avildsen's "Director's Cut" of Rocky V. The opening credits are a lot different, using a different score. The music in the workprint is extremely different than the final version's music with many of the workprint's soundtrack consisting of Bill Conti's original themes as well as other songs in place of the hip-hop and rap themes in the final cut. Many alternate and deleted scenes exist, such as the same scenes in the final cut, but with different dialogue, as well as cut scenes such as Rocky getting drunk at the bar, Little Marie seen grown up as Rocky predicted--a whore--as well as an all 'new' street fight with an alternate scene with Mickey's last encouraging words. The copies of the workprint went on sale on Ebay.


  • When Rocky goes off to the Soviet Union to fight Drago, his son is under 10 years old. However, when he returns to America a few weeks/months later, his son appears to suddenly be about 13.
  • During the montage where Tommy Gunn rises through the ranks, we see the name Jeff Langton in the marquee. It says Tommy Gunn vs Jeff Langton but when the fight sequence ensues the actor who is portrayed as Jeff Langton is not Jeff Langton. Jeff Langton (who is a real boxing trainer and trained Tommy Morrison for the movie) is the opponent who gets hit by a left hook to the body and knocked out by a right hand to the head.
  • when Rocky returns from Russia the band breaks the fourth wall by playing the Rocky theme song "Gonna Fly Now".

During the final fight seen, Rocky's son appears in the crowd on his own and then being held back by 'Uncle Paulie' but then who in the next scene when the camera spans out, is standing opposite the son and watching Rocky fight.Returning to the scene he is once again holding him back and then once again he is not holding him back.

References in popular cultureEdit

In the TV show, Full House, Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) refers to Rocky saying "...I'd also like to say we've seen the last Rocky movie."

In the TV series The Simpsons, Bart refers to Rocky V in the episode "Lemon of Troy". Bart is in a place where every door has Roman numerals. All the doors have man eating tigers except door number 7. Having walked out of the class when that subject was taught earlier in the episode, Bart says to himself, "Where have you seen Roman numerals? Wait a minute! I know! Rocky V! That was the fifth one. So Rocky V + Rocky II...equals...Rocky VII: Adrian's Revenge!"

In the show Heroes, Peter Petrelli has a Rocky V poster on his bedroom wall, possibly a reference to Milo Ventimiglia's appearance in Rocky Balboa.

U.S. box officeEdit

  • Rocky V: US$40.9 million

Anticipated to be one of the big hits of the 1990 holiday season, Rocky V finished second in its opening weekend to Home Alone and never recovered.

Rocky V made almost twice as much overseas and thereby a total of $119.9 million worldwide.


External linksEdit


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