Rocky Balboa is a fictional American boxer who made his screen debut in 1976's Rocky. The movie was written by then unknown Sylvester Stallone who also played the title role. Rocky was once a promising boxer but never got his shot. Now he is a part time loan shark although he still trains in Mickey's gym. The heavyweight champion of the world, Apollo Creed, played by Carl Weathers, needs to find a matchup for a bicentennial fight. Out of obscurity they pick the Italian Stallion and Rocky finally gets his chance. Talia Shire also stars as the incredibly shy Adrian, Rocky's love interest. Paulie Pennino, played by Burt Young, is Adrian's brother and Rocky's best friend. Rocky's long time trainer, Mickey Goldmill, is played by Burgess Meredith.
In the final fight Rocky defies all expectations and gives Apollo Creed the fight of his life. Although Creed wins the points decision, in the sequel, Rocky 2, he receives a lot of criticism from fans and journalists about the fight. He eventually taunts Rocky into a rematch. Rocky accepts after he struggles to find work in the real world. However, Adrian cannot bring herself to support his efforts as she is too scared of him getting hurt. She eventually comes around and with her support Rocky becomes the champion of the world.
In the third Rocky movie, 1982's Rocky 3, Rocky Balboa is an established heavy weight champion. When a young tyro emerges on the boxing scene accusing Rocky of being too scared to fight him, Rocky realizes Mickey has been cherry picking his fights. Clubber Lang, unforgettably played by Mr T, finally gets to fight Rocky and destroys him in the ring. The stress gives Mickey a heart attack, killing him. Rocky once again finds his hunger and beats the young fighter in a rematch.
In Rocky 4 a super human Russian boxer, Ivan Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren, kills Apollo Creed in an exhibition match. Rocky seeks his revenge and fights Drago in front of a hostile crowd in Russia. He takes a beating but eventually gets the better of his bigger opponent, knocking him out.
The injuries from his career, particularly those of the Drago fight force Rocky to retire. Unfortunately a crooked accountant has stolen his fortune and Rocky has to move back to Philadelphia. Working in Mickey's old gym, a young boxer named Tommy Gunn convinces Rocky to train him. However, Gunn soon becomes jealous of Rocky and the pair have a brutal street fight that Rocky wins.
In the final Rocky movie, Rocky Balboa (2005), Rocky has lost his wife Adrian to cancer and he owns and runs a restaurant in her name. He is convinced to come out of retirement to fight an exhibition match with the heavy weight champ Mason Dixon. Fortunately for the much older fighter, Dixon suffers a hand injury, which hampers him for the fight. Rocky gets the opportunity to exorcise some of his inner demons and Dixon gets to prove himself to all of his critics. While Dixon wins with a points decision, they both get to leave the ring with their heads held high.