Rocky III is a 1982 American film that is the third installment in the Rocky film series. It is written and directed by and stars Sylvester Stallone as the title character, with Carl Weathers as former boxing rival Apollo Creed, Burgess Meredith as Rocky's trainer Mickey, and Talia Shire as Rocky's wife, Adrian. Rocky's opponent is James "Clubber" Lang, played by Mr. T. Lang is a younger and more aggressive boxer than Rocky. He is brash, arrogant, outspoken, and immensely strong. This role made Mr. T an icon, leading to him being one of the first elements outlined for The A-Team television series. The film also features professional wrestler Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea as the supporting character "Thunderlips". This role brought Hogan to the attention of a widespread audience. The film's theme song "Eye of the Tiger", was written by the group Survivor at the request of Stallone, and became a smash hit single, topping the US Billboard music charts and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
In the four and a half years since winning the world heavyweight title, Rocky has had a string of successful title defenses (10) and has seen his fame, wealth and celebrity increase. Now 1981, While unveiling a statue of himself at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rocky is publicly challenged by James "Clubber" Lang (Mr. T), a ferocious new boxer rapidly climbing the ranks. Lang accuses Rocky of intentionally accepting challenges from lesser opponents and after sexually insulting Rocky's wife Adrian (Talia Shire), his challenge is accepted. Rocky's trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith) initially wants no part of it and admits to the champion that Lang was right, he had handpicked Rocky's opponents to protect him and to ensure Rocky remained successful and healthy. He also informs Rocky that Lang is young and hungry and that Rocky has no chance of beating him, as he has not retained his edge as a fighter. Rocky manages to convince Mickey to train him regardless, but his Las Vegas-style training camp is filled with distractions and Rocky clearly does not take the challenge seriously. Lang and Rocky meet at Philadelphia's Spectrum. During a melee before the fight, Mickey is shoved out of the way by Lang and suffers a heart attack. A now distraught Rocky wants to call the fight off, but Mickey angrily urges him on while he stays in the dressing room. By the time of the fight, Rocky is both enraged and severely distracted by his mentor's condition. The fight begins with Rocky pounding Lang with several huge blows, going for an early knockout, but the stronger and better prepared Lang is unfazed and quickly takes charge, dominating Rocky and knocking him out with a haymaker in the second round. Beaten, Rocky makes his way back to the dressing room and to the dying Mickey. Kneeling at his side, Rocky speaks to his friend, telling him that the fight ended in the second round by a knockout, which Mickey misinterprets as a win for Rocky, shortly before dying. Stopping by Mickey's closed gym, Rocky is confronted by his former nemesis Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) who offers to help train him for a rematch with Lang in exchange for "a big favor." At first, Rocky is too demoralized to put forth his best efforts which frustrates Apollo, but pulls himself together after Adrian helps him come to terms with Mickey's death. The rematch is held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. At the start of the fight, Rocky sprints from his corner, fighting with a level of skill and spirit that no one including Lang expected. As a result, Rocky completely dominates the first round, demonstrating his new-found speed. After the bell, Lang is in a fit of rage over what has just happened and has to be restrained by his trainers. In the second round, Lang gains the upper hand, and Rocky adopts an entirely different strategy that bewilders Apollo by intentionally taking a beating from Lang, and even gets knocked down at one point but manages to get up before he is counted out whilst taunting Lang for being unable to knock him out. In the third round, Lang (who is used to winning fights swiftly with knockouts in the early rounds) becomes increasingly angry and quickly exhausts his energy trying to finish Rocky off with repeated knockout blows, most of which miss the newly-agile Rocky entirely. Rocky taunts the champion in order to psyche him out and the aggressive Lang is infuriated. He attacks even harder walking right into Rocky's trap. The tide turns and Rocky is able to overpower the winded and outboxed Lang landing blow after blow and dodging attempted punches before knocking him out and re-gaining the heavyweight championship of the world. Afterwards, Rocky fulfills Apollo's vague "big favor": a private rematch with him. The film concludes with both of the fighters throwing their first punch simultaneously, but this time, they fight in the spirit of friendly competition rather than as fierce rivals.