Rocky IV is a 1985 American sports drama film starring and directed by Sylvester Stallone, who also wrote. It is the sequel to Rocky III (1982) and is the fourth installment in the Rocky franchise. It also stars Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Brigitte Nielsen, and Dolph Lundgren. In the film, Rocky Balboa (Stallone) fights Ivan Drago (Lundgren), a Soviet boxer responsible for causing a personal tragedy. Rocky IV was Dolph Lundgren's first American film debut, and Stallone's last directorial effort until 2006.
Development for a fourth Rocky film began soon after the success of Rocky III, which faced controversy after it was subject to a copyright lawsuit. Principal photography began in 1984, with filming locations including Philadelphia, Wyoming, and Vancouver. Stallone and Ludgren engaged in authentic punching in their fight, which led to Stallone being admitted to intensive care. Filming also featured new special effects and bona fide and groundbreaking sport methods and equipment, some of which were years removed from public use. Rocky IV is known for its strong Cold War themes, and for its successful theme songs "Burning Heart" and "Living in America".
Rocky IV premiered in Los Angeles on November 21, 1985, and was theatrically released in the United States by MGM/UA on November 27. The film received mixed to negative reviews, with criticism for its predictable screenplay and Cold War themes, which some critics deemed as propaganda and facilitating negative portrayals of Russians. However, there was some praise for Drago's credibility as a villain. Despite its reception, the film was a box office success, grossing $300 million worldwide, becoming the highest grossing film in the franchise and the third highest grossing film of 1985. In 2021, a director's cut was released with the title Rocky IV: Rocky vs Drago, receiving positive reviews from critics. The sequel, Rocky V, was released in 1990.