‘Rocky II’ Hit Theaters on This Day in 1979

by Keeli Parkey
(Photo by �� John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

In so many instances, sequels fail to live up to their original films. However, that was not the case with “Rocky II,” starring Sylvester Stallone. It, of course, is the follow-up movie to the 1976 Oscar-winning film “Rocky.”

The film, which continues to the story of boxer Rocky Balboa, was released on this day (June 15) in 1979. It starred Sylvester Stallone in the title role. According to IMDb.com, Stallone also wrote the film’s script and served as its director. 

The Twitter account @RetroNewsNow reminded fans of the 42nd anniversary of the release of “Rocky II” with a tweet on Tuesday, June 15.

“Rocky II” picks up just after the fight between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed, played by Carl Weathers, in the original film. Creed won that fight, but just barely. Even so, part of the plot of the sequel is Rocky’s decision to retire from boxing for medical reasons.

Having such a close fight with the underdog Balboa does not sit well with Creed. So, he does all he can to get Stallone’s character to come out of retirement and fight him once again. Creed wants to prove that Rocky got lucky in their first bout.

Rocky refuses and refuses to come out of retirement until financial concerns force him to do so. Despite his health issues, his trainer Mickey agrees to get him ready to face Apollo again. The rematch takes place on Thanksgiving Day. Apollo promises to beat Balboa much more quickly this time. Unsurprisingly, things don’t go that way. If you haven’t seen the movie, you will just have to watch and find out how this rematch turns out.

The final fight scene is the film’s climax, thus it was very important to its success. To make sure the fight appeared in the film exactly how he wanted it, Sylvester Stallone spent eight months with the film’s editors, Danford B. Greene and Stanford C. Allen, working on the scene.

You can check out the trailer for “Rocky II” below.

Most of the Original Film’s Cast Returns for ‘Rocky II’

In addition to Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers reprising their roles in “Rocky II,” several other cast members from the original film returned for the sequel.

Talia Shire returned as Rocky’s girlfriend Adrian. Burgess Meredith once again played the firey and tough trainer, Mickey. Burt Young once again played Paulie and Tony Buron returned as Apollo’s trainer.

“Rocky II” did not win any Academy Awards. But, it was a fan favorite. In fact, it won the 1980 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture.

Also, “Rocky II” was not the last sequel to “Rocky.” Several others followed including “Rocky III,” “Rocky IV,” “Rocky V,” “Rocky Balboa,” “Creed,” and “Creed II.” According to IMDb.com, “Creed III” is in the works with Michael B. Jordan returning as Adonis Creed.