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Rocky Balboa Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… it's a dumb idea … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 60

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Against all odds this panoply of punishment is almost thrilling, even though it's raging bull of a different kind.

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    As written, directed and, of course, acted by Sylvester Stallone, this film provides more insight into the character and his psyche than previous films, which were much more about the punches thrown.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Michael Rechtshaffen

    Defies all expectations with a low-key, technically stripped-down production that really does come close to capturing the heart and soul of the original.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    There is much to poke at in Rocky Balboa, yet the movie, with its amusingly updated ''Gonna Fly Now'' montage and its very niftily staged climactic bout, summons just enough incredulous wit about just how often Rocky has been around this particular block to let Sylvester Stallone earn his nostalgia.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    The movie itself, defying all odds, comes close to a knockout.

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  • See all Rocky Balboa reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 10+

Rocky's back, with new energy -- but same story.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while this movie is aimed more at adults (particularly longtime Rocky fans) than kids, it's fine for most tweens. The only real concern is the violence; there are several boxing matches, and they get bloody -- especially the final bout between Rocky and Dixon. The fights include aggressive editing and camera movement, as well as both slow- and regular-motion images of hits, injuries, and spurting blood. Rocky grieves his beloved Adrian's death and deals with his son's resentment (they argue a couple of times). Paulie smokes cigars in nearly every scene, drinks frequently, and is visibly drunk in a couple of scenes. Mild language ("hell" and "damn"), with Paulie making a derogatory "Indian" joke during one of his inebriated scenes.

  • Families can talk about the film's resurrection of the Rocky mythology: Why is the ongoing story of a "regular" guy's success so enduring? Did the franchise need a sixth film? How do Rocky's slang and behavior indicate his class? Does that make his success more appealing to a wide audience? How does Adrian serve as inspiration even after her death? How do Rocky's good humor, humility, and determination all contribute to his appeal? Is he still as powerful a character now as he was in the first movie?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Young champ is cocky, Rocky is stalwart and sometimes sad (he visits his dead wife's grave several times); son rejects then accepts his father's "big shadow." The film promotes faith in yourself, hard work, and determination.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Boxing matches are tough, with lively camerawork, fast cuts, hard hits, and blood flying; Rocky threatens Marie's boyfriend.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Marie wears a tight top when she's with her mean boyfriend; chaste flirtation between Rocky and Marie.

  • language false3

    Language: Mild language includes "damn" and "hell," as well as a racial slur (asked if he has a reservation for a restaurant, a drunk Paulie responds, "Do I look like a freakin' Indian?").

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Thematic: boxing is characterized as overly commercial; ESPN personalities make appearances.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Paulie smokes many cigars; Rocky's restaurant serves liquor; a drunk Paulie disrupts the restaurant one night.