48. Rocky (1976)
Director: John Avildsen
Screenwriter: Sylvester Stallone
Considering that more than 35 years have passed since Rocky first stepped into the ring, it's safe to reveal how the film ends: Rocky loses. But even Rocky Balboa didn't expect Rocky Balboa to win.
It's a classic underdog story—with a twist. The amateur boxer/loan shark—played with the right amount of dimwittedness by Sylvester Stallone, who also wrote the script—lucks into a match against heavyweight champ Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) simply because Creed likes the way Rocky's nickname will look on the marquee: "Apollo Creed Meets The Italian Stallion."
For Rocky, it's a chance to change the direction of his life, which is looking brighter since he met girlfriend Adrian (Talia Shire), and to prove his stamina against the undefeated Creed. For Creed, it's an easy win. Or so he thinks.
When Rocky knocks down Creed in the first round, something no one has ever done, both fighters' attitudes change. It takes a full 15 rounds, some broken body parts, and a bit of internal bleeding before Creed is declared the winner in a split decision. But Rocky could care less—he only cares about sharing his "victory" with his beloved "A-dri-AN!!" —JW