Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Dolph Lundgren, James Brown
Release Date: Nov. 27, 1985
Running Time: 91 min
Genres: Action, Drama, Sport
As the title indicates, Rocky IV is the fourth of a series of five Rocky films, a sixth being planned for release in 2007. As usual, Sylvester Stallone is superb as Rocky, the World Heavyweight Champion.
Plot Summary In this film, Rocky goes to Russia (still the Soviet Union as of 1985) to fight the Soviet champion Ivan Drago (Lundgren), following Drago's fatal defeat of Apollo Creed (Weathers) at a promotional fight in Las Vegas. The fight is brutal as Drago is given special training involving steroids (illegal in the USA) and can deliver punches with three times the power of a typical American heavyweight fighter. Nevertheless, Rocky prevails and even delivers a moving speech to the Soviet fans at the end of the match.
Social Relevance Rocky IV is the most political of the Rocky films in that it deals with the (former) Soviet Union. It was made during Reagan's presidency and Gorbachev's regime of Glasnost and Parastroika, during the final years of the Soviet Union following the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in '89 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in '91. The message of the film is very pro-American and anti-Soviet, very much in line with Reagan's popular image. I think the message is too simple-minded though. I also found it pretty ludicrous to believe that Rocky was capable of making a speech like he did at the end of the film. Nevertheless, I found it to be a highly entertaining picture.
Here's the original movie trailer.
Here's a clip of James Brown's awesome performance of "Living in America" before the promotional match.
Here's a clip of the parallel training of Rocky and Drago.
Here's a clip of more training.
Here's Rocky's inspirational victory speech at the end of the film.