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Rocky III, Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith)

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Film: Rocky III (1982)
Deceased Character: Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith)
Archetype: Goody (Major)
Killed by: Clubber Lang (Mr. T)

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Written by Old Bluffer 5th Jun 2009

(Mostly) written by Mad Movie Mathew

Always the loyal trainer, Mickey is the gravel-voiced but feisty voice in Rocky's corner, whose training has led to Rocky becoming the World Heavyweight Champion. At the beginning of this sequel, Rocky has defended his championship several times, but waiting in the wings is a new and ferocious challenger named Clubber Lang, played by Mr. T, fool! Lang has destroyed his opponents and after claiming his number one contender chance, he proclaims, "I want Balboa! I want Balboa!"

But there are other clouds forming in Rocky's successful world that don't sport a fearsome mohawk. During a charity fight with wrestler "Thunderlips" (played by Hulk Hogan, brother!), Mickey clutches his chest, pained, but shrugs it off. It is very apparent to the audience, like any screen illness, that it's not going to be particularly good for Mickey's health.  It appears Mickey knows this too because when Lang starts insulting Rocky as a ceremonial statue is unveiled, Mickey decides to leave, proclaiming that enough is enough.

"What did you say, Paper Champion? I'll beat you like a dog, a dog, you fool!"

Rocky confronts Mickey at his mansion and asks him why he left the scene and why he won't train him.

"Because you can't win, Rock!" shouts Mickey. "This guy'll kill ya to death in less than three rounds!"

Rocky dismisses this. "He's just another fighter."

"No, he ain't just another fighter," Mickey says. "This guy is a wrecking machine and he's hungry! Hell, you ain't been hungry since you won that belt!"

"What are you talking about?" questions Rocky. "I had 10 title defences."

"That was easy!" exclaims Mickey, unimpressed. "They was hand-picked!"

Rocky is taken aback at this revelation. "Set-ups?"

"No, they weren't set-ups," Mickey clarifies. "They were good fighters, but they wasn't killers like this guy. He'll knock you into tomorrow, Rock."

"Why'd you do it?" asks Rocky, as he sits down.

"Because the beating that you got from Apollo should've killed you," explains Mickey. "It didn't. It was my job to keep you winning and keep you healthy."

Mickey advises Rocky to retire, but Rocky can't "knowing all this" and decides to have one last fight to prove himself as a true champion and against his better judgement, Mickey agrees to train him.

Rocky, being a major celebrity, decides to make his training open to the public which means he ends up getting frequently distracted, much to Mickey's annoyance. Lang, on the other hand, trains isolated and determined like a caged animal ready to pounce on his prey.

On the night of the fight, as Balboa walks towards the ring, Lang suddenly appears on a staircase looming over Rocky as he walks towards the ring and starts trashtalking Rocky yet again. The pair get involved in a brawl and Lang shoves Mickey aside. Police manage to separate pair, but Lang's push has caused Mickey to have a heart attack, clutching his chest as he lies against the stair rail. Rocky and company get Mickey back to the training room. Rocky tells Paulie to cancel the fight, but Mickey poo-poos this idea.

"Adrian, what am I supposed to?" he asks his wife.

In typical fashion, Mickey answers for her.  "What the hell do you mean what are you supposed to do?" an enraged Mickey says, grabbing Rocky by the collar. "After all these years together you don't know what to do? You ought to be ashamed of yourself! Now get out there and do it! Do it. Do it! You're the best."

Having no real choice, Rocky goes out to head for the fight, leaving Mickey in Adrian's company.

The two fighters face off before the bell rings. Lang looks like an animal.  Rocky looks "civilised," asMickey so scornfully put it.

Rocky touches gloves rather more aggressively than is completely normal, hoping to psyche out his opponent. It proves to be a poor idea - Lang's arms may as well have been cast in bronze for all the give in them. Staring into Rocky's eyes with psychotic rage, Lang hisses "Dead meat!"

The fight gets started, with Rocky's former nemesis Apollo Creed at ringside. Rocky tries to fight, but his head is not in it due to Mickey's condition. He manages to get in a few punches but it's clear at the end of the first round, where he's already shaken and bloodied, that Rocky's involved in a fight he isn't going to win.

Round two, Rocky gets slaughtered and one devastating punch in the corner leaves Rocky out for the count and no longer champion.

Rocky stumbles into his dressing room, staggered and dejected towards Mickey.

"He wouldn't go to a hospital until you got here," sobs Adrian [at least he only had to wait a few minutes though! - OB].

Rocky sits by Mickey's side, his eye swollen and nose streaked with blood. Mickey wakes up.

"Is it over?" growls Mickey.

"Yeah, yeah, it's all over," answers Rocky, putting his hand on his mentor's chest.

"Hey, listen, what happened?" whispers Mickey in a quavering voice.

"It was a knockout," replies Rocky.

"What round? What round?" Mickey smiles.

"Second round," Rocky says.

Mickey struggles to laugh with joy as he believes Rocky as won the fight. "Yeah, I knew it. That's good. We did it, huh?"

Rocky stresses that Mickey needs to go to a hospital, but Mickey is still overjoyed.

"We did everything right. I did everything right..." continues Mickey.

"No, no, listen," Rocky stops him. "We ain't done everything right. Listen, we still got more to do. Mick, whatever you want to do, we'll do it, okay?"

"I love you, kid," Mickey says. "I love you."

Mickey begins breathe heavily as a tear streaks down his face. "It hurts me."

With those last words, Mickey expires from the most famous boxing movie franchise ever.  Rocky begins to scream and cry over his beloved trainer's body, as the camera does a sombre pan out of the scene.

However, Mickey's passing allows a new trainer to step up and take his place. Step up, one Apollo Creed, who vows to get Rocky back the eye of the tiger, the thrill of the fight, eye of the tiger toni... Sorry. As I was saying Creed vows to get Rocky's "hunger" back.

Mad Movie Mathew's Trivia Notes

Despite being dead, Mickey appeared to Rocky in Rocky V to cheer Rocky on in a street fight with Tommy Gunn. Also, slightly less related to the Rocky series, Hulk Hogan and Mr. T, both of them getting their cinematic starts in this film, went on to be tag team partners at the main event of the first ever WWE Wrestlemania.

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Other Death Reviews for Rocky III (1982)

Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith)

Number of views for this review since 30th May 2008: 10655
This review has 2 comments. Reply to the comments
Comment 1 by 'old bluffer' (reply to this comment)
I can't believe it took us so long to add this landmark Hollywood death, sorry about that.

I was going to query the "Major Goody" status of Mickey at first. Then I came to my senses - he was a mainstay of the series!
I've given Clubber Lang the credit for this "kill". Mickey wasn't long for the world anyway, but I think it's reasonably certain the stress caused by Lang's abuse is what triggered his heart to give out.
Comment 2 by 'Bruno Costa' (reply to this comment)
I'm so sad. Goodbye, Mickey Goldmill!:crying: