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Death, revenge, 80’s music, Christmas, the cold war, and a robot. Yes film connoisseurs, I’m talking about the cinematic masterpiece that is “Rocky IV.” It is considered by many historians to be the most important film of the last century. Why? “Rocky IV” ended the cold war and saved the world.

“We always have to be in the middle of the action ’cause we’re the warriors. And without some challenge, without some damn war to fight then the warriors might as well be dead.”
-Apollo Creed

The film delivers a knockout early on. Apollo Creed decides to fight a Russian fellow by the name of Ivan Drago. During the fight it seems clear that Apollo is not going to win. Apollo makes Rocky Balboa promise not to throw in the towel. Apollo is murdered in the ring. The Soviet’s are sure they can defeat the US now. How is Mr. Balboa to deal with the death of his friend, guilt no doubt overwhelming him? Through revenge. Ah yes, revenge. A theme so prevalent in many masterpieces from the 80’s action genre.

In a history-making montage Rocky learns there’s no easy way out.

To avenge his friend’s death, Mr. Balboa must leave his wife, his son, his country, his robot, and Christmas. This doesn’t go over well with his wife Adrian. She stays behind with the robot.

“Apollo was like my son. I raised him. And when he died a part of me died. But now you’re the one. You’re the one that’s gonna keep his spirit alive. You’re the one that’s gonna make sure that he didn’t die for nothing. Now you’re gonna have to go through hell. Worse than any nightmare you ever dreamed. But in the end, I know you’ll be the one standing.”

The two-part training montage is superb. Rocky is not lifting weights or jogging through the city. No sir. Now he is an animal. An animal that is chopping wood, running through the snow, and forgetting to shave. He is possessed by the instincts of an animal. This is why when Adrian returns to support him, there is no dialogue. Animals can’t talk.

Mr. Drago’s song before the fight/war is very grandiose. No doubt Mr. Drago was inspired by Apollo’s grand entrance in the beginning of the film. James Brown can do that to a person. The cold war becomes war for 15 rounds. Needless to say Rocky and America come out victorious. We had the eye of the tiger. “He’s not human. He’s like a piece of iron.” After winning Russia’s respect Mr. Balboa offers the crowd his advice, “..if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.”

In a way we all changed. The cold war would soon come to a close, Gorbachev agreed to meet Reagan in four summit conferences around the world and a nuclear treaty was signed. A few years later the Berlin wall came down. It took Rocky 15 rounds to defeat Drago but six years to defeat Gorbachev. On Christmas day 1991, Gorbachev threw in the towel. The Soviet Union dissolved itself thus ending the Cold War and leaving the USA safe and as the only superpower in the world.

Whenever you celebrate this 4th of July or Christmas, please remember this important film. May James Brown’s “Living in America” be stuck in your head. May you skip shaving in order to pay tribute to Rocky in training. Last but not least, may flags waving in the air remind you of Rocky’s boxing trunks because “Rocky IV” saved the world.