Rocky IV
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Rocky IV (1985) More at IMDbPro »

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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Rocky IV can be found here.

When ex-Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), former nemesis, trainer, and now a good friend to current Heavyweight Champ Rocky "The Italian Stallion" Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), is killed during an exhibition match with 6-foot 5-inch, 261-pound Russian boxer Ivan "The Siberian Express" Drago (Dolph Lundgren), Rocky blames himself and accepts Drago's challenge to fight him. With Creed's former manager Tony "Duke" Evers (Tony Burton), Rocky travels to Siberia to train for the upcoming bout in Moscow.

Yes. Like Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), and Rocky III (1982) before it, Rocky IV was written and directed by Stallone. Rocky IV was followed by Rocky V (1990) and Rocky Balboa (2006). A novelization of Rocky IV credited to Sylvester Stallone was released in 1985.

It seems that many fans assume that when Rocky arrives at his house at the start of the film, he is returning from the sparring session with Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) which ended Rocky III, and therefore, no time passes between Rocky III and Rocky IV. However, this cannot be so. Early on in the film, Rocky mentions to Adrian (Talia Shire) that it is nearly their ninth anniversary. They got married early in Rocky II, which was set in 1976 between January 1st and November 25th. As such, their ninth anniversary would occur in early 1985. This places the events in Rocky IV roughly five years after the end of Rocky III (which was set in 1979 and '80), and approximately 10 years after the original Rocky. Furthermore, we know that Rocky and Adrian were married in early 1976 and we know that the match with Drago takes place on Christmas Day. As such, the time frame of the film is from early 1985 to December 25th, 1985.

Rocky (1976): November 25th, 1975 – January 1st, 1976

Rocky II (1979): January 1st, 1976 – November 25th, 1976

Rocky III (1982): early 1979 – early 1980

Rocky IV (1985): early 1985 – December 25th, 1985

We know that Rocky was 30 in Rocky and 34 in Rocky III, placing his date of birth sometime in 1945. If we accept that Rocky IV takes place in 1985, it means he is roughly 40 years old.

"Superman vs. Superhype". After the fight, it is dubbed "Death From Above".

No, Rocky is not superhuman, and there are numerous explanations for how he achieves the seemingly impossible and beats Drago. A practical explanation is simply that Rocky can take tremendous amounts of punishment without being defeated. Throughout Rocky, Rocky II and Rocky III, it is emphasized time and again that one of his greatest assets in the ring is his ability to take a severe beating, and still be able to fight. In Rocky, there is the famous scene where Apollo is sure he has won, even Mick thinks Rocky is done for, but Rocky is somehow able to get back to his feet and continue the fight. In Rocky II, Duke points out to Apollo that he saw Rocky get beaten as bad as any man he's ever seen, but nothing would keep him down. In Rocky III, Mick says that the beating Rocky took from Apollo in Rocky II should have killed him, but it didn't. Then at the end of Rocky III, Rocky dares Clubber Lang to punch him as hard as he can as often as he can, so as to tire him out, because he knows he can withstand Lang's power. As Drago himself says in Rocky IV, "He's not human, he's like a piece of iron". This is also emphasized continually throughout Rocky Balboa; for example, one of the commentators mentions that Rocky now has a restaurant, and he speculates that the special might be "pounded chicken". So Rocky simply has an above average capacity for taking a beating without giving up. As he himself says in Rocky Balboa, "It's not about how hard you can hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep on going." Rocky can get hit very, very hard and keep on going!

Another part of the practical explanation for how Rocky survives Drago's punch is that Drago would not be able to punch him that hard in active competition. The strongest punch Drago registers is 2,150 PSI. This is more than a shotgun has at point-blank range, and were he to actually punch Rocky that hard, he would literally kill him. However, Drago registers that punch in a sterile, non-competitive environment against a stationary, undefended target; in an actual match, he would never be able to punch with that degree of severity and precision. So the answer to the question of how Rocky is able to survive such a massive punch is that he is never punched that hard.

Even taking this into consideration, however, it would posit Rocky is capable of taking a significant portion of a shotgun blast to the face hundreds of times over 15 rounds, which pushes the bounds of realism to an extreme. As such, a more symbolic explanation of how Rocky defeats Drago, despite Drago's seemingly overwhelming strength advantage, is tied up in the theme of the film. Rocky IV is largely a metaphor for the tensions between America and Russia which existed in the Cold War. Stallone himself has stated (in the famous Ain't It Cool public Q&A; see here) that the film isn't one to be viewed entirely literally, that is not exclusively about revenge or boxing, but rather an examination of the opposing sides in the war. The seemingly invincible Ivan Drago obviously symbolizes the Soviet Union, and his line "I must break you", perfectly represents his nation's sentiment toward America (or at least America's notion of the Soviets' intention towards them). During the fight Drago is far superior to Rocky in terms of firepower and strength, just as the Soviet Union was over America. However, Rocky's seemingly endless stamina and inability to lose is an obvious symbol for American national pride and heart, and the nation's unwillingness to be bullied or intimidated by a superior force. Rocky defeats the superior fighter because he has more heart; an obvious metaphor for the possible outcome of the War. In addition, Stallone has suggested that he intended the film as a message to the Russian people that there is more to life than military might, and that there could be a magnanimous solution to the tensions behind the Cold War. This is represented by the fact that not only do the initially hostile crowd begin to cheer for Rocky, but even Drago himself comes to respect him by the end of the fight. All of this depends upon a symbolic reading of the film, where the fight between Drago and Rocky is not so much a depiction of a real conflict which the audience is supposed to take literally, but a metaphorical examination of a real situation in the world at large.

It's not normal, but it's not unheard of either. Both Mike Tyson and Nikolai Valuev have had punches measured close to that.

He suspects. Between rounds one and two, Rocky tells Apollo that he is going to stop the fight, but Apollo won't allow him. He then twice tells Rocky not to stop the match, emphasizing "No matter what". Then, just before the round begins, he looks out to his wife in the crowd and waves to her, possibly saying goodbye. Apollo could easily have decided not to go out for the second round, but his pride won't allow that. He had felt Drago's awesome power in the first round, and he knew he was totally outclassed and unable to defend himself against his opponent, but he still continued to fight. Going into the second round, he knew there was a danger that something serious could happen, hence his acknowledgment to his wife and his insistence that Rocky not stop the fight under any circumstances.

Rocky does pick up the towel to throw it in, and is being urged to do so by Duke, but Apollo looks at him and twice yells, "No", causing Rocky to hesitate. Seconds later, the fatal punch is landed.

In Rocky, it is pointed out that no one has ever been able to go the distance with Apollo Creed. Later in the film, Rocky not only becomes the first man to last the 15 rounds with him, but also becomes the first man to knock him down. In Rocky II, Creed takes Rocky to his limits. In Rocky III, when commentating on Rocky's first fight against Clubber Lang, Creed is several times referred to as one of the finest heavyweight fighters of all time. Despite all of this however, Ivan Drago dispatches of Creed with relative ease in Rocky IV. There are three primary reasons for Creed's poor performance against Drago. Firstly, as Rocky points out several times, it has been five years since Creed boxed competitively, so he has five years of ring rust to work through. Athletes usually get rid of rust in the early stages of a performance, but in this fight, Drago gives Creed no time to ease himself in and loosen himself up. Secondly, Creed didn't take Drago at all seriously and is not prepared to actually have to fight to protect himself. Creed had no idea that Drago would be so powerful and ruthless, and he simply has no game plan to combat Drago's vicious assault. Thirdly, Creed isn't properly trained for a real fight. In the buildup to the bout, we see several scenes of Drago training, but all of the scenes involving Apollo are dialogue scenes between himself and Rocky, because the fight is billed as an exhibition match, i.e. shorter, and not as intense as a "real" fight. Additionally, as we are subsequently led to believe, Drago was most likely taking performance enhancing drugs at the time of the fight, thus giving him an unnatural power advantage.

Ultimately it can be chalked up to the fact that he had been retired for over 5 years. Being 5 years out of practice as a fighter is a long time. He no longer had the stamina, endurance or strength that would be required to keep a boxer viable in the ring, especially against one over 15 years younger, stronger, and taking performance enhancing drugs.

It is never specified for certain, but the implication is that it is some sort of performance-enhancing drug. Earlier in the film, there is a scene where Drago tries to lift a heavy barbell and can't get it above his shoulders. However, immediately after we see him being injected, we see him easily lifting the same weight above his head. The implication, of course, is that whatever was in the syringe has enhanced his strength or the muscle stress tolerance.

This is a subject of much debate amongst fans. Rocky is still the world heavyweight champion at the start of the film. However, because the Boxing Commission will not sanction the Drago fight in Russia, Rocky must relinquish the title. The problem is whether or not his relinquishing of the title is permanent or temporary. Rocky IV would seem to imply it is permanent, but upon his return to America in Rocky V, he is still the champion, suggesting it was only a temporary surrender of the belt. One line in Rocky IV is perhaps the key to this debate. During the newspaper montage prior to Rocky's departure for Russia, a reporter asks Rocky if he no longer cares about the title, to which he responds, "Not until this is over." This could perhaps suggest that Rocky is only giving up the belt temporarily for the duration of his stay in Russia, and would thus explain how Union Cane is able to challenge him for the title at the start of Rocky V.

Not really. In the credits, the character is simply called "Soviet Leader", whilst the commentators refer to him as "the Soviet Premier". True, the character is played by Mikhail Gorbachev lookalike David Lloyd Austin, but it is telling that he does not have Gorbachev's famous birthmark on his head.

This has become a subject of some debate amongst fans. Some argue that he says, "You're dead", whilst others maintain he says, "To the end". According to the subtitle track on the DVD, Drago actually says, "To the end", implying that, like the Russian audience, he too has come to respect Rocky's tenacity and ability to survive. Many fans however, still contend that Drago says, "You're dead," as he has already been known to kill with his punches (i.e. Apollo Creed), and is determined to defeat Rocky in a similarly definitive manner.

The spectators cheer loudly when Drago walks to the ring but boo just as loudly at Rocky, but Rocky maintains his solid concentration. Much to their delight, Drago backs Rocky into a corner during the first round and hammers him mercilessly. To their surprise, Rocky rallies in round two and returns the favor. By round 12, the audience is clearly cheering for Rocky. In the 15th and last round, Rocky tries to get inside, but Drago's long arms and brutal punches keep him out until Rocky sees an opening and goes for Drago's body. Once inside, Rocky keeps hammering away until the Russian goes down and stays down through the count. Rocky is declared the winner, draped in a US flag, and hoisted to the shoulders of his team. He then addresses the audience: "I came here tonight, and I didn't know what to expect," he says,


I seen a lot of people hatin' me, and I didn't know what to feel about that, so I guess I didn't like you much either. During this fight, I seen a lot of changing...the way yous felt about me, and the way I felt about you. In here, there were two guys killing each other, but I guess that's better than 20 million. So what I'm trying to say is that, if I can change and if you can change, everybody can change!
For this, Rocky receives a standing ovation. In the final scene, Rocky says to Rocky Jr, who is watching from home, "Merry Christmas, kid. I love you," and Rocky Jr mouths back, "I love you."

Apart from a remastered 5.1 DTS soundtrack, neither the R1 US DVD, released by MGM Home Entertainment in 2005, nor the R2 UK DVD released by MGM Home Entertainment (UK) in 2005, contain any special features. It is also available in the R1 US Rocky: The Complete Saga and the R2 UK Rocky: The Heavyweight Collection.

Yes it is. It is available as an individual release in both Region 1 (US) and Region 2 (UK). It is also available in a newly remastered Heavyweight Collection boxset released in 2014 in both a US edition and a UK edition. None of the editions carry any special features.

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