Do You Need to Watch ‘Rocky’ 1-6 Before ‘Creed’?

One step at a time. One punch at a time. One round at a time.

by Matthew Kevin Mitchell
Image: MGM, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., and United Artists

Are you wondering if you need to watch Rocky 1-6 before Creed for the story and characters to make sense? While the Creed movies are technically spinoffs of the Rocky franchise, they still take place in the same universe and reference the events of the original Rocky movies, which are 47 years old. In addition, you will also see characters and their children from the Rocky franchise in the Creed franchise. So then, which of the Rocky movies do you need to watch before watching Creed for all of this to make sense?

Do You Need to Watch the Rocky Franchise Before Creed?

Image: New Line Cinema, MGM, and Warner Bros.

Yes, you need to watch Rocky 1-4 before watching Creed. This is because you won’t understand the relationship between Adonis Johnson’s father, Apollo Creed, and Rocky Balboa, an essential aspect of the Creed franchise. In these four movies, you see them go from rivals to best friends, which ends in a heartbreaking moment.

Spoilers Below!

This heartbreaking moment is when Creed is killed while fighting Ivan Drago in Rocky 4. This sets up a future fight between Ivan Drago’s son and Creed’s son in a vital legacy rematch. This isn’t the only Rocky moment referenced by the Creed franchise.

You will also see the return of the following Rocky characters:

  • Ivan Drago: The primary antagonist in Rocky 4. He kills Creed during their match and is defeated by Rocky in a rematch.
  • Ludmilla Drago: The wife of Ivan and mother of Viktor Drago. She plays a vital role in the development of Viktor due to her absence in his life as a kid.
  • Mary Anne Creed: She is Creed’s wife and Adonis’ mother. She is in the Creed franchise and interacts with Rocky and Adonis.
  • Adrian Balboa: While you don’t see Adrian in any of the Creed movies, Rocky does visit her grave on more than one occasion, which may be confusing if you haven’t seen the other movies.

Related: What Happened To Rocky In Creed III?

Finally, you will see the children of characters from the original Rocky franchise included in the Creed franchise. To understand who they are as characters, knowing their parents’ impact on Rocky and Creed is crucial.

  • Robert Balboa: Robert is the son of Rocky and Adrian Balboa. The rocky relationship that has always plagued Robert and Rocky is wrapped up in the Creed franchise.
  • Viktor Drago: He is the son of Ivan and Ludmilla Drago and the primary antagonist of Creed II.
  • Tony “Little Duke” Evers: Little Duke is the son of Tony “Duke” Evers who was the trainer of Creed and Rocky. He goes on to train Adonis during the events of Creed.

You can now see why you must watch Rocky 1-4 before watching Creed for the story and characters to make sense. Plus, it is very rare to see these characters back on screen after so many years since their iconic moments and have a sense of closure to their characters.

- This article was updated on April 24th, 2023

About The Author

Matthew Kevin Mitchell has been a contributing writer for Attack of the Fanboy and PC Invasion since 2022. Matthew primarily covers Manga like One Piece, horror movies like Scream, and survival horror games like Dead by Daylight. His favorite moment came during his first press event covering Scream 6 for AotF. He hails from Denver, Colorado, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Regis University. When he isn’t scaring himself silly or writing, he loves to play ice hockey, spoil his dog, and drink an unhealthy amount of coffee.