Put your boxing gloves on, readers! Written and directed by Ryan Coogler, ‘Creed’ is a 2015 sports drama film starring Michael B. Jordan as boxer Adonis Johnson Creed, with Sylvester Stallone reprising the role of Rocky Balboa. Both a spin-off and sequel in the ‘Rocky’ film series, ‘Creed’ follows the story of Adonis ‘Donnie’ Johnson, son of an extramarital lover of former heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed. For the uninitiated, Apollo Creed is a recurring character in the ‘Rocky’ film franchise. Played by Carl Weathers, Creed is loosely based on a combination of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Louis and Jack Johnson. In ‘Rocky’, Creed essentially cleans out his division of serious challengers and magnanimously decides to fight journeyman Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) for the fan spectacle. Evenly matched in the ring, they go head-to-head with each other in the first ‘Rocky’ movie and its sequel, eventually ending up befriending each other by the third.
The fourth installment of the franchise witnesses the death of Apollo Creed at the hands of Russian boxer Ivan Drogo during a fight. Therefore, when Adonis expresses his ambition to become a boxer like his father, Mary Anne, the widow of Creed, vehemently opposes it. Following his refusal to be admitted into Los Angeles’ elite Delphi Boxing Academy, Adonis travels to Philadelphia in hopes of getting in touch with his father’s old friend and rival, former world heavyweight champion, Rocky Balboa. Donnie meets Rocky at Rocky’s Italian restaurant, ‘Adrian’s’, named after his deceased wife and asks him to become his trainer. Though initially reluctant to return to the world of boxing, Rocky eventually agrees to take Donnie under his wing. What follows is Donnie’s attempt with the help of Rocky to go toe to toe with the world light heavyweight champion ‘Pretty’ Rick Conlan, who is being forced into retirement by an impending prison term.
The final fight between Donnie and Conlan at Goodison Park, Liverpool forms the crescendo of the film. Drawing parallels with the fight between Rocky and Apollo Creed forty years back, the fight sees Donnie knocking down Conlan for the first time in his career. In-spite of Donnie going the distance of all twelve rounds to everyone’s surprise, he eventually loses to Conlan on a split decision, which serves reminiscent of Apollo’s victory over Rocky by a similar split decision. Produced by MGM ‘Creed’ marks the second collaboration between director Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan after the 2013 biographical drama film ‘Fruitvale Station’. Marking the seventh film in the ‘Rocky’ franchise, principal photography of the film began on January 19, 2015 on location at Goodison Park, with the first scene taking place during a Barclays Premier League match between Everton and West Bromwich Albion. Parts of the filming also took place in the Philadelphia, the original location of the franchise.
The film ends with Donnie and a frail but improving Rocky climbing the iconic 72 steps (also known as the Rocky steps) outside the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. On February 3, 2015, Warner Bros. slated the film to be released on November 2015, which also happens to be the 40th anniversary of the opening scene in the original film, where Rocky fights Spider Rico. Upon its release, the film became a massive box office success earning a total of 173.6 million dollars to its production budget of 35 million. Additionally, the film was well received by the critics, and currently holds an approval rating of 95% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 284 reviews. While ‘Creed’ is an incredible film, there are several other movies in the same style and tone, exploring similar themes. Here’s the list of best movies similar to ‘Creed’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like ‘Creed’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. Rocky (1976)
Let’s begin the list by addressing the elephant in the room! Well, if you love ‘Creed’ and haven’t seen the original ‘Rocky’, you are bound for boxing hell. This 1976 sports drama film is the single most famous representation of boxing on the silver screen. Made on a meager budget of just over 1 million dollars, ‘Rocky’ went on to gross a whopping 225 million dollars globally, becoming the highest grossing film of 1976. Following the rags to riches American dream story of Rocky Balboa, an uneducated but kind-hearted working class Italian-American boxer working as a debt collector for a loan shark in the slums of Philadelphia, the film solidified Sylvester Stallone’s career in show business, while simultaneously commencing his rise to prominence as a major movie star. In 2006, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, deeming it “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”.