Rocky ranked

Before the ranking, I want to mention that I think this is the best movie franchise of all time. While it doesn’t have movies other than the original “Rocky” that are as great as “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” or “The Empire Strikes Back,” it is by far the most consistent franchise. There is only ONE movie in the “Rocky” franchise that is bad, and that is a true accomplishment. The fact that a franchise that’s been around for almost 45 years has made 7 good to amazing movies and only one bad film is mind-blowing. I adore the franchise, and Sylvester Stallone should be extremely proud that he has largely maintained quality through these movies. With that stated, here’s my ranking:

rocky V ranking

8. Rocky V – Not only is this film the worst Rocky movie, but it is one of the worst big franchise movies ever made. It is boring, overly sad, lacking of any likeable characters (yes, not even Rocky is likeable here), full of weak performances, and devoid of what made the movies preceding it so special. Grade: F

7. Rocky II – This film is far better than the last movie mentioned on this list, but it still has problems. It’s basically a remake of the first film with a few twists, and that is never good for a sequel. While the rest of the Rocky movies have a similar formula, none of them have the copy/paste feel that this one does. This film is also a little boring at times. However, the movie still overcomes those flaws through its excellent boxing fights, Stallone & Carl Weathers’ (Apollo Creed) charismatic performances, the catchy score, and the inspiring tone. Grade: B

6. Creed II – I really like “Creed II.” It’s a little too formulaic, but it still works. Adonis and Rocky’s relationship was strong, the performances were really good, the direction and boxing choreography were solid, and Dolph Lundgren’s return as Ivan Drago was really satisfying for fans to see. I just wish the film was a little more memorable. Grade: B+

Rocky III ranking

5. Rocky III – While “Rocky” and “Rocky II” were more dramatic, this film was just really silly and fun, a risk that paid off. This is a super enjoyable 90 minutes with a fantastic villain in Mr. T’s Clubber Lang. The introduction of the now infamous “Eye of the Tiger” provided one of the best original songs in cinema history. Despite its goofy tone, there was still some decent drama, specifically with Mickey’s death, which was really powerful. My main problem with the film is that it moves too quickly; since it is only 90 minutes, certain scenes and events feel very rushed. Grade: A-

Rocky IV ranking

4. Rocky IV – Like Rocky III, this film is incredibly silly. It even has a talking robot! But besides the enjoyable goofiness, there are some very touching moments. Apollo Creed’s death, while a bit rushed, was well done and very emotional. Ivan Drago was an awesome and intimidating villain, and you can really feel his strength and power over Rocky. Stallone was once again great, and the montage in Russia might be the best in the franchise. Grade: A-

Rocky Balboa ranking

3. Rocky Balboa – After the disgustingly awful “Rocky V,” fans were skeptical of this film, many believing it would be another bad entry into the franchise. Thankfully, Stallone (who wrote and directed the film) knew this, and he didn’t disappoint. This movie made fans care about Rocky again. Seeing how lonely he was without Adrian and his dying relationship with his son created drama almost up to par with that of the original film. “Rocky Balboa” took the franchise back to its roots without being a soft reboot, and that’s impressive nowadays. Plus, this movie, especially through Rocky’s great speech to his son, remembered what the franchise is all about: perseverance. Grade: A

Creed ranking

2. Creed – Like “Rocky Balboa,” “Creed” did a great job of rejuvenating the franchise. Ryan Coogler’s direction was great, especially in the amazing one-take boxing match, and the acting was good across the board. Michael B. Jordan was extremely likeable and easy to root for, and Stallone gave what might have been the best performance of his career. Grade: A

Rocky movie ranking

1. Rocky – What else would be at the top of this list? The original film from 1976 is still the greatest. Rocky Balboa was such an effortlessly likeable character. His struggle to financially get by while pursuing his dreams of becoming a great boxer and marrying Adrian was super investing. The score is magnificent, as is the direction, acting, Stallone’s script, and the technical achievements made during the production of the film. “Rocky” will hold up for the rest of time, and for a million reasons, this best picture winner is at the top of the list. Grade: A+

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