The Rocky franchise
It's probably unfair to put an entire series of movies with a spot here. Still, the Rocky films and characters created by Sylvester Stallone are embedded into pop culture—people who don't follow boxing or haven't seen a boxing match know Rocky Balboa.
The first film from 1976 is the most critically acclaimed and influential. However, the entire series that now spans nine films is here because most, if not all, are of relatively high quality with a variety to choose from. Last year, Stallone put out a new director's cut of 1985s Rocky 4 that presents the movie from a new perspective.
In the 1970s era, with Rocky 1 and 2, they delve deep into the character and what makes them. What has endeared Rocky Balboa to generations of fans is that his story is the classic 'rags to riches,' as the ultimate underdog. Most of the notable moments are in the first two Rocky films, including the iconic training montage through Philadelphia and the often imitated and parodied yelling of "Adrian!".
The first Rocky is one that is loved by fans and critics. The film was nominated for several Academy Awards, winning Best Picture and Best Director.
The 1980s style of Rocky with Rocky 3 and 4 is the era of being so bad that it's good movies. These are the type of guilty pleasure films you put on to have fun with epic training montages and fights with punches that sound like shotgun blasts.
The recent revival of the franchise came in 2015 with Ryan Coogler's Creed. The trilogy, which includes Sylvester Stallone for two of the three films, focuses on the son of Rocky's former opponent and friend, Apollo Creed. The first of the trilogy could be used as a template for how to create high-quality sequels while rebooting a popular series. Something that is often done far too often today.
To put it in simple terms, the music, training, and fights throughout are all historical and quintessential in sports movie history. The character of Rocky Balboa has brought people back for more. At the end of the day, this is a story about a person we can all relate to, somebody who is just a good person and easy to root for.