Screenplay Genre: Sports Drama
Movie Time: 133 minutes
1. INCITING INCIDENT
Adonis Johnson, the illegitimate son of famous deceased boxing champion Apollo Creed, struggles to reconcile his tough childhood, which was marked by stints in jail and foster homes, with a fledgling career as a boxer. He goes to Philadelphia to meet an aging Rocky Balboa, his father’s friend and former partner. Adonis asks him to be his trainer, but Rocky politely declines. (00:20:30)
2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)
After visiting the grave of Paulie, his wife’s brother, Rocky meets Adonis at the same gym where he trained for his famous championship fights against Apollo. Rocky agrees to train Adonis, telling him that his father was special, but reminding him that Adonis will have to work hard to prove that the “apple didn’t fall far from the tree”. (00:39:24)
3. FIRST CULMINATION (Midpoint)
Adonis wins his first fight with Rocky as his trainer. His opponent is, Leo “The Lion” Sporino, a local fighter from Philadelphia. After winning the bout with a fierce knockout, Adonis is joined in the ring by Rocky and Bianca, his girlfriend. (01:00:55)
4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)
While Adonis is in his locker room, preparing for his fight with reigning champion “Pretty” Ricky Conlan, his legacy arrives in a box. It’s a gift from his mom, a pair of red, white, and blue boxing shorts just like his father wore in his legendary fights against Rocky. (01:42:00)
5. THIRD ACT TWIST
For the first time in his career, the heavily favored Conlan is knocked down, the result of a vicious jab thrown by Adonis. It’s a stunning twist in a fight that serves up striking similarities of the first fight between Rocky and Apollo four decades earlier.
The result is the same, a split decision in favor of the champion who stumbles over to Adonis and pays his respect to the young man’s herculean effort. (02:01:05)
And become a member of TSL 360 to enjoy the LARGEST screenwriting education content library, featuring masterclasses, deep-dive interviews, and lectures from Academy Award-winning screenwriters, TV show-runners, producers, literary managers, agents, studio executives, and leading educators – all in one place.