5. Rocky IV (1985)

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV

Rocky IV is quite possibly the most loved Rocky movie, and to stand out in a franchise so iconic is surely a feat all its own. Strangely, it’s also considered a Christmas movie in some circles, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with the holiday whatsoever. There are clear elements that link it to Christmas, though, which is probably where that confusion comes from.

For a start, it’s set at Christmastime, with the climactic fight between Rocky and Ivan Drago happening on Christmas Eve. Rocky also trains in the Russian snow in his somewhat predictable but still-awesome training montage, so there’s also a touch of winter aesthetic about the film. It also begins with an exchange of gifts (including a really weird and unexpected robot) for Paulie’s birthday, meaning that it does contain a number of Christmas movie staples.

However, despite all that, it’s not at all a Christmas movie, because it isn’t about Christmas. In fact, though Christmas is occurring all around Balboa, he’s not celebrating – instead, he’s mourning the loss of his friend Apollo by training to destroy the face of a giant muscular Russian. Rocky IV may tick a few boxes that happen to be Christmas movie criteria, but unless you consider cold-blooded pugilism a festive pastime, it really shouldn’t be considered a holiday film.