Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama film directed by John G. Avildsen, written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. It tells the rags to riches American Dream story of Rocky Balboa, an uneducated, but kind-hearted working class Italian-American boxer, working as a debt collector for a loan shark in the slums of Philadelphia. Rocky, a small-time club fighter, gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship. The film also stars Talia Shire as Adrian, Burt Young as Adrian's brother Paulie, Burgess Meredith as Rocky's trainer Mickey Goldmill, and Carl Weathers as the reigning champion, Apollo Creed.
The film, made on a budget of just over $1 million, was a sleeper hit; it earned $225 million in global box office receipts, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1976. The film was critically acclaimed and solidified Stallone's career as well as commenced his rise to prominence as a major movie star. Among other accolades, it went on to receive ten Academy Award nominations, winning three, including Best Picture. In 2006, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant". Rocky is considered to be one of the greatest sports films ever made and was ranked as the second-best in the genre, after Raging Bull, by the American Film Institute in 2008.
The film has spawned seven sequels: Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990), Rocky Balboa (2006), Creed (2015), and Creed II (2018). Stallone portrays Rocky in all seven sequels, wrote the first six, and directed four of the six titular installments. In July 2019, Stallone said in an interview that there have been ongoing discussions about a prequel to the original film based on the life of a young Rocky Balboa.