-4th successful entry into the Rocky series
-In this film, Rocky regains his title from Clubber Lang from the 3rd one and decides to go up against a brutish Russian monster of a boxer from the Soviet Union, who is looking to make a debut into the boxing world
Did You Know?
-In reality, Soviet boxers were not allowed to fight professional boxers during the Cold War era
-The training scenes that were supposed to be in "Russia" were actually in Wyoming. The farm is in Jackson Hole, and the exterior scenes filmed in Grand Teton National Park
-It took 6 months for actor Dolph Lundgren to get the part of Ivan Drago. He was said to be too tall
-Brigitte Nielsen's character Ludmilla Drago was incoporated into the film at the last minute
-During filming, Carl Weathers and Dolph Lundgren got into a fight. Lundgren threw Weathers across the ring and it was destroyed
-Sylvester Stallone's then wife was none other than Brigitte Nielsen, who he met on the set of his movie Cobra.
-In the Rocky-Drago fight, the man in Soviet skybox closely resembles Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
-In 1985, Ivan Drago(Dolph Lundgren) is a boxer; a 6'5'', 261 pound boxer from the Soviet Union, who arrives in America with his wife Ludmilla(Brigitte Nielsen) and a team of trainers from the USSR. His manager, named Nikolai Koloff(Michael Pataki) takes every chance he can get to show off the strong skills Drago possesses as a trademark of Soviet superiority. Apollo Creed(Carl Weathers) is strongly motivated by patriotism and a desire to prove himself once more, so he challenges Drago to an exhibition fight. Rocky(Sylvester Stallone) agrees to train Apollo, who enters the ring, with an over the top patriotic theme, James Brown performing Living in America. Suddenly, Drago mercilessly beats Apollo. He is in deep trouble now, as the brutal Russian goes to town on Apollo, who is taking the worst beating in history, beating the life right out of him in the end of the first round. Rocky and Apollo's trainer Duke(Tony Burton) pleads with Apollo to give up, but he refuses. The 2nd round goes horribly wrong, as it does not get any better. This ends up with Apollo dying from his injuries. Drago then replies "If he dies... he dies."
-Angered by Drago's lack of remorse, Rocky decides to avenge Apollo's death and challenge Drago. He is to fight Drago on Christmas Day in 1985 in Russia in an unallowed 15 round fight. He flies to the USSR, without Adrian(Talia Shire), setting up a training house with only Duke and his brother in law Paulie(Burt Young). To prepare, Drago uses every high tech piece of equipment he has, and it is implied he uses anabolic steroids. Drago starts training, with doctors monitoring every heart beat and drop of sweat. Rocky, however, uses a more primitive method of training: throwing heavy logs, chopping down trees, pulling an overloaded snow sleigh, jogging in heavy snow, braving treacherous icy conditions, climbing a mountain. Adrian shows up to give Rocky her support after initially refusing to Russia because of her doubts he would win. Now that she's here, he has an added focus.
-On the night of the fight, one by one, the fighters enter. Drago enters to a highly Russian patriotic entrance, with the Russian national anthem playing, and everyone on Drago's side. When Rocky enters, he is booed from all sides. Compared to his fight with Apollo, Drago goes offensive and Rocky takes a beating. Rocky comes back and silences the booing Russians by cold cocking the Russian, leaving a cut below his right eye. Rocky, now fired up, goes on a spree and lands hit after hit on Drago, even after the bell rings. While Duke and Paulie cheer, they remind him that Drago is not a machine, but a man. And it is ironically when Drago remarks that Rocky "is not a human, but a piece of iron." His manager then tells him to stop being "weak" compared to the "small American."
-The two duke it out over the next dozen rounds, Rocky staying there through Drago's almost fatal punches. His refusal to go down starts to impress the strong Russian crowd, which highly upsets Drago to the point of shoving Koloff off the ring for insulting his performance. Rocky takes out Drago in round 15 to the shock of the Soviet Union Politburo watching closely. Rocky, bloody and beaten, then gives a small victory speech, acknowledging the hate between himself and once hostile crowd as much as the Russians initially hated Americans. He finishes by saying that everybody can "change." The Soviet General Secretary stands and applauds Rocky and his aides follow. Rocky ends with him wishing his son a Merry Christmas and throws his arms into the air as victory.