Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 15
  2. Negative: 3 out of 15
Watch On
  1. John G. Avildsen directs Stallone's primitive script with the corn it calls for, hoping to distract from the simplicity with a few fancy montages, and does a fairly good job with the climactic slugfest; but the dramatic moves are so obvious and shopworn that not even.
  2. In Rocky V, the fifth and presumably last episode of Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa saga, the writer-star once again contrives a way to make his hulking, sad-eyed gladiator the underdog. And we get whiffs of funkiness and humanity stirring around for the first time since the original Rocky. [16 Nov 1990, p.1]
  3. The old formula is showing its age. The movie just doesn't deliver the emotional highs that addicted millions to the Rocky cycle. For the first time, one does not leave the theater floating on air. [16 Nov 1990, p.8]
  4. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Though a tacked-on fisticuffs finale has its charms, it rather contradicts the preceding. Mere subtleties are beyond Stallone and returning Rocky I director John G. Avildsen. [16 Nov 1990, p.4D]
  5. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    By now, Rocky of the drooping eyes and damaged brain has turned guru, emphasizing heart, soul and family ties when the evil promoter starts goading him and playing mind games with his protege. Stallone, said to be following Arnold Schwarzenegger into comedy, is starting earlier than anyone realized. [16 Nov 1990, p.78]
  6. 10
    The only good thing you can say about "Rocky V" is that at least Stallone has the sense to throw in the towel.
  7. Rocky V takes him out of his gilded cage and back to the director (John G. Avildsen), the settings and the underdog's outlook that made him famous in the first place. It's a smart move. There's life in the old boy yet.
  8. Rocky V, for all its faults, is not awful. It is inferior to the charmingly naive, Cinderella-in-sweat-pants opener of 14 years ago, but it's far superior to every other overdetermined installment. [21 Nov 1990, p.C1]
  9. 75
    What is undeniably good about Rocky V is that our working-class hero returns to the grimy neighborhood from which he sprang. Seeing a more slender, "street" Rocky is a refreshing change of pace from the muscle-bound champ of Parts 3 and 4. [16 Nov 1990, p.C]
  10. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    I didn't think there was a drop left in this formula, but Sylvester Stallone has reached down, gone into the well, pulled himself up from the mat and found the strength within to come back with one last Rocky movie that's better than all the other sequels and almost as good as the original. [16 Nov 1990, p.E1]
  11. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    For the most part, the "Rocky" pictures have been outstanding entertainments, beautifully crafted and executed, and Rocky V is an important and worthwhile addition to the series.
  12. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    But the later Rocky movies have been low on inspiration and eager to repeat the same formula, in which everything leads up to a climactic fight scene and a triumphant fadeout. Stallone is smart enough that he could have made this series into a meditation on sports celebrity in America, but that theme has always been at the edge of the stories; the formula takes center ring. If Rocky seems to be running on autopilot, that's also the case for the other characters. [16 Nov 1990, p.49]
  13. Reviewed by: Rob Beattie
    Bemused out of the ring and brutal in it, Rocky has always been an uncomfortable hero, and it says something for Stallone's skill as a writer that he's been able to keep him going this long. Given the restrictions of the formula, Rocky V is a fitting — even graceful — way to finally hang up the gloves.
  14. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    When the underdog always wins he's not much of an underdog anymore, and the narrative cartwheels Sylvester Stallone has turned over the years to put Rocky in that position have peeled away the novelty.
  15. Reviewed by: Desson Howe
    Despite Stallone's bantamweight attempts to insert, like, character into the fifth Rocky, it's the same old fight with the same old round of regulars. It seems silly wasting money on actors when the same could be achieved with Muppets. Rocky has little to do except shuffle around and mutter "cute" Rocky t'ings.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 54 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 12
  2. Negative: 4 out of 12
  1. GregS
    Oct 16, 2008
    It's the last 20 minutes that if finally kicks off.
  2. Nov 22, 2014
    Rocky V was one of the worst Rocky films. Everyone thought Rocky IV was stupid, but wait until you see the fifth installment. You'll startRocky V was one of the worst Rocky films. Everyone thought Rocky IV was stupid, but wait until you see the fifth installment. You'll start thinking Rocky IV was a masterpiece! Full Review »
  3. Aug 29, 2014
    The Rocky franchise has carried itself in a particular fashion that has made it popular and profitable. I feel like Rocky V strayed from thatThe Rocky franchise has carried itself in a particular fashion that has made it popular and profitable. I feel like Rocky V strayed from that fashion. It claims to be an even further reach back into Rocky's roots as a street fighter and that that was a prominent part of his character all along when it really was never established in any of the other films except vaguely in the first Rocky. There is merit in the story, and a lot of heart involved in the struggle Rocky has in salvaging what's left of his life and providing for his family. It was a new direction that was just too far for me. Were it standing on its own I may think better of it but considering its prequels and sequel, this is the runt. Full Review »