5 Plot Point Breakdown: Rocky III (1982)

By Anthony Faust · November 20, 2016

Screenplay Genre: Sports Drama

Movie Time: 100 minutes


Clubber Lang (Mr. T), a fierce young boxer from Chicago, issues a challenge to the heavyweight champion of the world, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Lang is hungry, and he wants a shot at the title. (00:07:04)

2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)

Clubber interrupts a statue dedication at Rocky’s retirement ceremony with an angry outburst, accusing Rocky’s manager Mickey (Burgess Meredith) of arranging lesser opponents for Rocky. Clubber publicly challenges Rocky, but Mickey rejects Clubber’s demand. After Rocky argues with Mickey, telling him he wants to fight Clubber, Mickey quits and storms off. Clubber makes a lewd comment to Adrian (Talia Shire), which enrages Rocky. There will be no retirement. These two men will settle their differences in the ring. (00:33:41)


Rocky loses to Clubber in the second round, falling to the canvas off a devastating, merciless jab by Clubber. Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), Rocky’s former nemesis, now a ringside commentator, watches with disappointment as Rocky fails to get back on his feet. The match goes to Clubber Lang, the new heavyweight champion of the world. Rocky stumbles back to his dressing room, where he watches Mickey, who has suffered a heart attack, draw his last breath. (00:48:21)

4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)

Adrian and Rocky have a big fight, but instead of the usual ones to which Rocky is accustomed, the ones played out in boxing rings, this one happens on a sandy beach in California. Rocky has traveled to Los Angeles with Apollo, who has offered to train him in his rematch with Clubber.

Rocky wants to quit, but Adrian wants the truth. Rocky tells Adrian he is afraid and ponders why Mickey lied to him. She makes Rocky come to terms with the decisions Mickey made during Rocky’s tenure as heavyweight champion. Rocky gives Adrian a kiss and hugs her tightly. (01:15:24)


Rocky adopts a clever strategy towards Clubber at the end of the second round in their highly anticipated rematch. He encourages Clubber to knock him out, goading him into throwing punches and draining his energy. By the third round, Lang is exhausted. Rocky takes advantage, landing a series of jabs and knocking Clubber down, regaining the heavyweight champion belt. (01:29:22)

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