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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Messages of peace, understanding, and tolerance.
Positive Role Models
Just like the other Rocky movies, Rocky Balboa puts his heart and soul into being the best boxer he can be. Some stereotyping -- Russian lead characters portrayed as cold, conniving, and duplicitous.
Violence & Scariness
A lot of boxing violence, including the death of a boxer in the ring. Blood, bruises.
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Infrequent profanity: "goddamn," "damn," "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Beer and wine drinking. Cigarette and cigar smoking. Russian boxer shown getting injected with steroids during a training montage.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rocky IV is a 1985 sequel in which Rocky takes on a boxing powerhouse from the Soviet Union. Unsurprisingly, there's frequent boxing violence, including the death of a lead character in the ring. Some blood. Cigar and cigarette smoking and some drinking. During a training montage, the Russian boxer is shown getting injected with steroids. Profanity includes "goddamn," "damn," and "hell." Some stereotyping -- Russian lead characters portrayed as cold, conniving, and duplicitous. Aside from this, in addition to all the Rocky franchise trademarks -- the montages, the seemingly indomitable foe, Adrian shrieking in horror while watching Rocky take a brutal pounding in the ring -- the movie offers a slice of 1980s Cold War fare, and in light of recent increased tensions between the United States and Russia, could inspire discussion among families about how the two countries and their people are portrayed. Note: This review is for the original theatrical version of the film; other, longer cuts are also available -- they include additional content not covered here and carry different MPAA ratings, and one goes by the title Rocky Vs. Drago - The Ultimate Director's Cut. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This '80s sequel was a hit when it came out, but it hasn't necessarily aged well. Around the time this movie was made, "Weird Al" Yankovic came out with a parody of the Survivor hit "Eye of the Tiger" called "Theme from Rocky XIII, aka The Rye or the Kaiser" in which Rocky Balboa, long past his prime, now owns and operates a neighborhood deli. This was a few years before sequels and spinoffs of any hit movie (to say nothing of remakes) were to be expected from Hollywood, and the song perfectly encapsulates the problem with nearly all sequels: They wear out the welcome of the original idea. This definitely applies to Rocky IV. While relevant to its time with its Cold War rivalries acted out in the boxing ring, and perhaps relevant in light of contemporary tensions between America and Russia, it's still a movie that is as 1980s as it gets, and sometimes hilariously so.
Scenes in which a Mikhail Gorbachev-lookalike, flanked by similarly dour-faced members of the Politburo, looks proud then displeased then inspired by Rocky's post-fight pleas for peace and unity in the world are almost too corny to be believed. The montage songs sound like the direct inspiration for the song "Montage" from Team America: World Police. And the few lines Dolph Lundgren is given makes the early work of Arnold Schwarzenegger seem like the best of Sir Laurence Olivier by comparison. And then there's that utterly bizarre female robot who was a birthday gift for Paulie. All of this and then some makes this an entertaining movie, but not necessarily for the reasons Sylvester Stallone intended.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.