Rocky II is a 1979 sports drama film starring Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, and Burgess Meredith. The film was written by and directed by Sylvester Stallone.
The film starts with the classic side-scrolling "Rocky II" title card and we are introduced to the film with a six-minute flashback of what happened at the end of the first film, "Rocky" (1976), where Rocky "The Italian Stallion" Balboa fights World Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed for the title. The fight ends in a split decision (Apollo wins) and Adrian comes to rocky and they profess their love for each other, not caring about the result of the fight.
Right after the fight, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), Adrian Pennino (Talia Shire) (His girlfriend), Paulie Pennino (Burt Young) (His friend; Adrian's brother), and Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith) (His trainer) are bombarded with the press. The press wants to ask questions about the fight. Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), his manager, and his wife are also bombarded and asked questions by the press. Both Rocky and Apollo are taken to the same hospital. Apollo challenges Rocky to a rematch, but Rocky declines and retires from professional boxing. Adrian and the doctors agree with Rocky on retiring from professional boxing because of Rocky's severely damaged eye that will need surgery and could cause permanent blindness. Rocky goes to Apollo's room (in private), and asks Creed whether he gave Rocky his best shot. Creed agrees and says yes. After Rocky's surgery is completed and he leaves the hospital, he enjoys the benefits of the changes in his life. Rocky proposes to Adrian. Adrian agrees and they both get married at a small wedding with just Marie (The pet shop owner), Mickey Goldmill, Paulie Pennino, and Tony Gazzo (Joe Spinell) (Rocky's former boss; Rocky's good friend) attending the ceremony. Rocky gets a new car, house, and luxurious clothes. Adrian soon after her marriage with Rocky, announces that she is pregnant. Simultaneously, fueled with rage from hate mail from fans all over the world, Apollo Creed becomes obsessed with the idea that a rematch with southpaw Rocky Balboa is the only way to prove that Rocky's stupendous performance from the last fight was just a fluke (meaning that he was crazy lucky and he had no true skill). Creed ignores his family's and friend's requests to let go and fight new opponents in the ring, and he tells his team to do whatever it takes to get Rocky in the ring, even if it means publicly humiliating Rocky setting Creed as the bad guy. At first, Rocky doesn't care what Apollo says, he won't have a rematch. However, Rocky's inexperience with money leads him into financial problems. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to find himself employment, Rocky returns to Mickey "Mighty Mick" Goldmill, his former trainer for the original fight with Creed, and talks to him about possibly returning to boxing and taking on Creed in the rematch. At first, Mickey rejects Rocky's offer in favor of Rocky's heath. But after Apollo Creed publicly taunts and humiliates Rocky all over the world, Mickey accepts Rocky's offer and will let himself train Rocky. Adrian speaks to Rocky and tells him the dangers of boxing and what could happen to his eyesight. She doesn't want him to fight. Rocky argues saying that fighting in the ring is the only thing that he knows and that it is the only way that he can provide for the family financially. Adrian is extremely mad at Rocky due to the fact that he made a promise to her that he would never fight again. She refuses to support him. Rocky and Mickey start training. However, Rocky starts training like a bum and has a half-hearted attitude towards training due to his wife's disapproval. Paulie confronts Adrian to settle this argument between her and Rocky, but during this confrontation, She faints and collapses on the spot. She is rushed into the hospital, and goes into labor. Despite the baby being born 1 month premature, the baby is healthy. It turns out that the baby is a boy. This is all good news. However, Adrian falls into a coma. Rocky blames entirely himself for what happened, he promises to never leave her bedside until she wakes up, and to not see the baby until she wakes up where they will both together see their baby for the first time. Adrian awakes from her coma. She sees Rocky at her bedside. The couple are shown their baby for the first time and they name it Rocky Jr. Adrian then gives her blessing to the rematch. Rocky then trains harder then he ever has in his life, with Mickey's help in and outside the gym. He finishes his training by running through the streets of Philadelphia and ending his run at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Which he also run at in the first film, "Rocky" (1976),) where he is joined by hundreds of other children, who are extras in the film. When makes it to the top of the steps, He does his famous pose and throws some jabs, ending his training. The night of the rematch arrives, and Creed has made a goal of KO'ing Rocky within the first two rounds to prove that the first fight going the full 15 rounds was just a fluke. This rematch is not as close as the first outing as Rocky has to fight right-handed to protect his eye from Creed. Apollo dominated most of the match and Rocky only wins a couple rounds. At the fifteenth round, Creed is far ahead by points and only needs to stay alive a few more minutes and he will retain the World Heavyweight Title. He ignores his trainer's pleas and goes for the KO to prove that the last fight was nothing but a fluke. Rocky switches back to southpaw fighting, and both of the men, tired and exhausted, knock each other to the ground. If Creed gets back up before Rocky, He retains the title. If neither get back up, it is a draw and Creed automatically retains the title. Rocky, shocking the whole wide world, gets up while Creed falls down to the ground. Rocky is crowned the NEW HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD. Rocky speaks through the microphone and states that "Apart from my child being born, this is the greatest night in the history of my life." He lifts the Heavyweight title belt into the air and screams "Yo Adrian, I did it!" (Adrian is at home watching the fight due to her baby.) Rocky throws the title belt over his shoulder and hugs Mickey in the final scene.
"Rocky II" (1979) was made off a budget of $7,000,000. The film grossed $200,000,000 worldwide, making it the most successful film of 1979.
Rocky II was Sylvester Stallone's directorial debut in the franchise and he would go on to direct Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), and Rocky Balboa (2006). John G. Avildsen, the director of the original ROCKY (1976), could not return to direct ROCKY II due to his work on Saturday Night Fever (1977). He was fired 2 weeks before principal photography began due to a fight with an actor.
Bill Conti once again returned to compose the music for the film. He composed the music for the original ROCKY (1976).
Rocky II (1979) was the first of many Rocky sequels. It stands out as the best Rocky sequel to me. In my opinion, it is just as good as the original. Rocky II (1979) is a classic that you sure won't want to miss. 10/10. Highly recommended.