Rocky II (1979) *


Thoroughly indulgent sequel, reversing the 'loser take all' sentiment of the original film and replacing it with whimsical wish-fulfilment: a rematch, that ends with Rocky actually claiming the world title. (Stallone would go on to do exactly the same thing to his other great loser-hero Rambo, in a series of superman sequels.)
This is perhaps the only film in history that would actually be improved by an ending in which the main character wakes and realises the whole thing has been a dream, but it was certainly a crowd-pleaser and in that sense it's very astute indeed.