5 Plot Point Breakdown: Rocky V (1990)

By Anthony Faust · January 12, 2017

Screenplay Genre: Sports Drama

Movie Time: 104 minutes 


Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) has arrived home from Russia after fighting the biggest fight of his life only to find out that he is bankrupt. His accountant has gambled with Rocky’s millions and lost it all. After his doctor informs Rocky that he has sustained brain damage, his wife Adrian (Talia Shire) insists that Rocky put his health above his boxing career. Rocky bows to Adrian’s wish and retires. (00:19:00) 

2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)

Tommy Gunn (Tommy Morrison), a young and unknown boxer, approaches Rocky with a bold request. He wants Rocky to manage him. After initially rejecting this opportunity to follow in his former manager Mickey Goldmill’s (Burgess Meredith) footsteps, Rocky nevertheless succumbs to Tommy’s impassioned pleas. Life has come full circle for Rocky. He is back in his old neighborhood, working in Mickey’s old gym with a protege under his tutelage. But the roles are reversed. Rocky is the teacher and his student, hungry and determined, is the spitting image of Rocky’s former fighting self. (00:46:16)


Tommy Gunn has risen through the ranks to become a top challenger for the heavyweight championship of the world. But George Washington Duke (Richard Gant), a brash, flamboyant boxing promoter has made his move and swung Tommy, frustrated with Rocky’s timid managerial style, into his corner. After a fierce knockout to keep him undefeated, Tommy celebrates with his new lady friend Karen (Delia Sheppard), who is part of Duke’s entourage. Rocky stands alone in the ring as Paulie (Burt Young), his brother in law, tells him that his “ship has sunk”. (01:03:45) 

4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)

Tommy is exasperated with being unable to escape his legendary manager’s long shadow, despite his decisive victory over Union Cane (Michael Anthony Williams) to win the heavyweight championship of the world. Duke tells Tommy the only way forward is to confront Rocky and challenge him to a fight. So he does. (01:28:30) 


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After being knocked down by Tommy in a vicious street brawl, Rocky experiences an intense hallucination. A montage of his most brutal hits in the ring swarms his senses. The ghost of Mickey appears and implores him to get up and fight back. Rocky scrapes himself off the street and demands Tommy give him one more round. The two men exchange blows, pounding each other with their bare hands. Rocky prevails. A rowdy crowd of his supporters cheer his street fight triumph as Rocky stands, bloodied and bruised, with his son Robert (Sage Stallone) and Adrian by his side. (01:38:24)

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