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63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 327 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The greatest underdog story of our time is back for one final round. In Rocky Balboa, the former heavyweight champion steps out of retirement and back into the ring, pitting himself against a new rival in a dramatically different era. (MGM)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Mark Bell
    90
    The acting in the film is grade-A, with Stallone bringing the more mumbled Rocky from the first film spliced with some rousing inspirational monologues when the moment is right (not forced, not preachy… just perfect).
  2. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    75
    After the widely reviled "Rocky V," it was just as unlikely for there to be a satisfying conclusion to the Rocky saga, but Rocky Balboa fits the bill.
  3. 75
    A deep and astonishingly authentic streak of melancholy runs through this fifth sequel to the 1976 sleeper that made both struggling actor Sylvester Stallone and hard-luck slugger Rocky Balboa international stars.
  4. Rocky Balboa scores a split decision: A familiar start, some flat-footed middle rounds and a solid, flailing finish. And since Stallone has promised to throw in the towel on the franchise, we'll add an extra half star in honour of his diligence in the gym.
  5. 63
    Rocky Balboa is far from essential, and there are moments in it bad enough to make you wince. But I dare you not to feel at least a tiny little rush when that opening bell rings, and Rocky starts swinging one final time.
  6. 60
    As usual with Stallone's Rocky sequels, the schmaltz is unbearable, but the fight is plausibly handled, and Stallone's sincere sadness at growing older makes this an unexpectedly satisfying conclusion to the series.
  7. Anyone who appreciates Sylvester Stallone or enjoys the "Rocky" movies will find moments to enjoy in Rocky Balboa and will leave the theater reasonably satisfied. It's just good to see the guy, and it's good to revisit the character. And that's everything good to be said for the experience.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 9 out of 141
  1. Dec 10, 2012
    10
    Who would have ever believed that Rocky VI would be good?! Oh how we laughed at Stallone's desperation! Then we saw the movie. Rocky Balboa isWho would have ever believed that Rocky VI would be good?! Oh how we laughed at Stallone's desperation! Then we saw the movie. Rocky Balboa is the best Rocky movie by FAR and is one of my favorite movies of all time. It makes me cry and feel unbelievably happy every time I see it. Absolutely perfect! Expand
  2. Dracula
    Dec 31, 2006
    10
    Ron how old are you ten? You want a realistic boxing movie with a guy approaching 60 years of age. Didn't you hear his trainer say he Ron how old are you ten? You want a realistic boxing movie with a guy approaching 60 years of age. Didn't you hear his trainer say he can't move, has arthitis and can't spar? Ron this movie was about coping with Senior Citizen status and saying good bye on your own terms without fear. It was NOT a boxing movie per se. Even the fight was NOT about a BAD Guy but rather facing FATHER TIME. And the fight was explained in that Antonio Tarver broke his hand in the first round. Ron obviously you had no clue what was going on and therefore missed one great movie. Rocky is and will always be champion of the underdog in that if you can dream it you can do it. Pity you didn't comprehend what you went to see. This is a fitting climax to a great saga. Expand
  3. DL.
    Feb 23, 2007
    10
    Fantastic. A truly inspiring story and a great end to the series. Stallone at his very best. This movie was more about the character and Fantastic. A truly inspiring story and a great end to the series. Stallone at his very best. This movie was more about the character and emotion rather than an action fest...Truly a triumph! Expand
  4. TIMC.
    Dec 22, 2006
    9
    This is a superb movie. No, We're not comparing it Out of Africa, but for what it is, it could not be much better. The acting is very This is a superb movie. No, We're not comparing it Out of Africa, but for what it is, it could not be much better. The acting is very natural, that's the best word for the movie. No unforced acting, very natural (except the father-son dialogue). The best part of the movie is the believable climatic fight, because Dixon is not some one-dimensional bad guy (like Draco or Mr T), because he is not a bad guy. He is a beliveable, true character. How often do you find that? Finally, the music. Oh, so glorious. Along with Ben Hur, Conan, Empire Strikes Back, Conti's Rocky is amonst the best of the past 40 years. Expand
  5. Jan 1, 2014
    9
    As someone who has sat through all of the Rocky movies, there was no better, more emotional way to bring the entire legend of Rocky toAs someone who has sat through all of the Rocky movies, there was no better, more emotional way to bring the entire legend of Rocky to retirement. A roller coaster of emotion and a nostalgic nod to the seasoned Rocky fans this conclusion really couldn't have been more well done, plenty of heart and plenty of spirit, that's what Rocky is all about. Expand
  6. MarkB.
    Feb 6, 2007
    8
    What is it about Sylvester Stallone that inspires such vehement bouts of schaudenfraude in otherwise rational people? A fellow contestant on What is it about Sylvester Stallone that inspires such vehement bouts of schaudenfraude in otherwise rational people? A fellow contestant on a movie-related TV game show I once appeared on launched into a gleefully profanity-laced tirade about what a 'loser' he thought Stallone was in his late career; Razzie award honcho John Wilson seemed a bit disappointed that Stallone's latest installment in the Rocky saga was actually quite good (and therefore ineligible for Razzie award consideration). Perhaps it has something to do with even his supporters' general assumption that since his first big success with the original Rocky back in 1976, the size of his ego has ballooned past that of his famous muscles, and that he tends to assume that we're all as interested in him as he is in himself. (I mean, who wants to hear his recent admission that he gave up sex while filming Rocky Balboa to get the same edge that professional boxers used to similarly abstain in order to give themselves? I don't WANT mental pictures of Stallone pouring ice water down his pants a la Jake La Motta in Raging Bull. TMI, Sly!) Since Stallone has always seen himself as Rocky and vice versa, and the fortunes of both larger-than-life figures have run parallel, it's not surprising that Stallone's many personal and professional disappointments as of late (an eponymous magazine that only ran 3 issues, a boxing-related reality TV series that was irreparably crippled by the suicide of one of the contestants, the failure of Cop Land to regain him Serious Acting Cred, and the fact that his biggest box office hit in the last 10 years was--gulp!--Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over) undoubtedly spill into this chapter. The result is that Stallone admirably humbles himself and his character, scaling down from the overblown tendencies of some of the previous chapters and suffusing Rocky Balboa with more tenderness, humanity and heart--the qualities that made Rocky an iconic figure to begin with--than we've seen since he took on Apollo Creed for the very first time so long ago. In fact, after the sincere but overwrought Rocky II, the entertaining if synthetic III, the fraudulent IV and the completely forgettable V, this is not only the best of the Rocky sequels by far, but the ONLY truly essential one. Stallone, like Balboa, goes back to the original's roots, remembering that it was a character study first, a love story second and a boxing movie third, and that our emotional investment in the first two was what made the third so effective. Talia Shire, as now-deceased wife and love of his life Adrian, may not show up here except in photos and flashbacks, but her presence is so powerful that it compares with Hitchcock's Rebecca in terms of characters who absolutely dominate the proceedings while not actually being around to actively participate in them. (That's why the much-discussed friendship that Rocky develops with a minor character from the first film, played here by Geraldine Hughes, is exactly that: a friendship. No less and no more. Another look at this movie's final scene establishes that.) Stallone also remembers that the best Rocky movies, like the best Disney animated features and the best James Bond films, feature the best antagonists, and here for the first time since Apollo, Rocky's opponent (Antonio Tarver) is not a cardboard cartoon villain but a complex, multidimensional individual with insecurities and vulnerabilities. (And let's have no more carping about how unconvincing and improbable the plot device that gets them together in the ring--a computer-simulated fantasy fight--may be. It's no more so than in Numero Uno, and anyway, when you're enjoying the ride this much, why grouse if the ignition initially sputters a little?) It's just one more indication of how much of a joy Rocky Balboa is to watch that the familiar musical theme by Bill Conti (best known in recent years as "Stickman", the Academy Awards conductor that Julia Roberts chewed out onstage for trying to attenuate her acceptance speech, so clearly this represents a comeback for HIM, too) once again elicits genuine excitement and anticipation rather than being an easy punchline. But then Rocky Balboa is so good at what it's doing that it inspires even those of us who have kept our esthetic distance from Stallone (and with Cobra, Stop or My Mom Will Shoot and Driven on his resume, it's safe to say that this covers nearly all of us at several points) for the first time in easily retrievable memory, to actually want a piece of the Rock. Collapse
  7. BuckD.
    Apr 12, 2007
    0
    OMG, this movie isn't bad, it is probably the most pathetic display ive ever seen...its not that I don't understand Sly's need OMG, this movie isn't bad, it is probably the most pathetic display ive ever seen...its not that I don't understand Sly's need to be a hero again, its more difficult to get how people actually like it...pityful. Expand

See all 141 User Reviews

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