5 Plot Point Breakdown: Rocky II (1979)

By Anthony Faust · November 20, 2016

 Screenplay Genre: Sports Drama

Movie Time: 119 minutes


Rocky II opens where Rocky I (1976) ended, just minutes after two heavyweight boxers have fought to a stalemate in the fight of the century. Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), the reigning champion, and Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), the underdog challenger, are wheeled into the hospital. A frustrated Apollo challenges Rocky to a rematch. (00:09:04)  

2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)

Apollo’s public campaign to goad Rocky into accepting a rematch has worked. A determined Apollo tells a throng of reporters at a press conference that he will win the fight decisively. Apollo’s parting words to Rocky promise the outcome of this rematch will be very different. (01:04:08)


After Rocky gives a lackluster effort in training for his bout with Apollo, his trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith) confronts him in the locker room. Mickey calls Rocky a bum and says he is too old to waste his time training a loser like Rocky. Just then, a trainer runs in and gives Rocky some bad news. Adrian (Talia Shire), Rocky’s wife, has fallen ill. (01:13:50)

4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)

After Adrian wakes up from a coma caused by her premature delivery, a nurse brings her son into the room. Rocky and Adrian muse on their newborn child, pondering a good name for him. Adrian tells Rocky she wants one thing. She wants him to win.

We see an electrifying training montage showing a rejuvenated Rocky preparing for his fight with Apollo. His training ends with a jog through the streets of Philadelphia where hundreds of kids join him. They end up at the top of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, chanting Rocky’s name in a rowdy show of support. (01:31:51)


In the rematch fight, Rocky and Apollo fight with punishing jabs; both boxers fall to the canvas seconds before the final bell rings. As both boxers struggle to rise to their feet, referee Lou Filippo (Lou Fillipo) counts to ten. Apollo’s trainer (Tony Burton) and Mickey rally their boxers, who struggle to pull themselves to their feet using the ropes. As the final count is reached, Apollo slumps into his corner and Rocky rises to stardom, and to the deafening cheers of the hometown crowd, as he becomes the new heavyweight champion of the world. (01:53:30)

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