There are a lot of people on whom Rocky relies throughout his film franchise, but no one more so than his wife, Adrian. In addition to her impact on him in Rocky II and Rocky IV, there’s the beach scene from Rocky III, one of the most quintessential, defining conversations Rocky and Adrian have, typifying what makes their marriage great. At this point in the story, Rocky has lost Mickey, he’s gotten out-slugged in no time flat by Clubber Lang, and now his confidence is gone, too. And as much as Apollo can prepare Rocky’s body and adjust his technique, there’s only one person who can strengthen his heart: Adrian.
So when he’s on the beach and ready to give it all up, Adrian forces Rocky to admit that he’s afraid and that he doesn’t want to lose what he’s got. Most of all, she forces him to confront that fighting Clubber Lang can’t only be about Apollo, Mickey, or the lifestyle he wants to maintain for his family. “You gotta want to do it for the right reasons,” she says. “Not for the guilt over Mickey, not for the people, not for the title, not for money or me, but for you. Just you. Just you alone.” “How’d you get so tough?” Rocky asks. “I live with a fighter,” she answers. They make each other strong. It’s an incredibly powerful relationship, so strong, in fact, that even after Adrian dies, Rocky continues to visit her grave in every subsequent film to talk with her about the world and his life. Because even when Adrian isn’t physically present, Rocky still finds his strength in her.