This is an argument that I find myself in quite often, so I wanted to pose the question to the rest of the Playground.
How would you rank the Rocky movie series?
Here's how I see it:
2. Rocky Balboa (that's right, I said it.)
3. Rocky II
4. Rocky IV
5. Rocky III
Some may say that I left one off the list...That movie never happened, so I'm not sure what you're talking about.
Allow me to explain my rankings. I personally feel that the only true "sequel" to Rocky is Rocky Balboa. The original Rocky wasn't even about boxing. It was a charactor study into the live of an amatuer boxer. The sports action wasn't a means to drive the plot, it was simply a vehicle for allowing the antagonist of Apollo Creed to enter the story. The film has much more to do with Balboa's struggles to succeed in life and love.
Rocky Balboa stays true to the original film's formula. It studies Balboa as he again seeks a path in life. The boxing once again is nothing more then a vehicle for discovering his charactor. You can watch Rocky Balboa as if Rocky's 2-5 never existed and it seems like a logical progression from the first film.
As for the remaining films I'd take Rocky II next just because it was the first of the "other" Rocky's and they were basically carbon copies of it's formula. Rocky IV gets the nod over III because I think the cold war theme had more teeth than the pop culture Thunderlips/Clubber Lang theme.
I haven't found too many people who would argue my side of this. The general consensus is that Rocky Balboa sucks and should have never happened. I'd say anyone who argues that is crazy, but I'd like to open the floor for debate.