Recently, I was working on a project concerning the Cold War, and cultural themes throughout the period. I mentioned in my report that popular culture often took part in shaping the conflict during the Cold War, whether it be media coverage of the Fischer v. Spassky chess match or the Rocky films.
In the Rocky series (written by Slyvester Stallone and starring him) however, my professor pointed out something of interest. There is an interesting racial theme in the movie Rocky IV: both Apollo and Rocky fight Ivan Drago in the movie, but Apollo is sacrificial lamb that sets up the eventual Rocky vs. Ivan showdown. My professor wondered aloud whether there was any potential commentary on race in this, when you consider the contrasting images of Apollo (the black boxer) taking a beating at the hands of the Soviet machine, while Rocky defeats him.
To what extent is this just a movie plot choice (Rocky using the death of his former rival/friend to motivate him in his fight), and to what extent do you think this could be a commentary on race during the time period?
NOTE: I am new to the History Stack Exchange so please let me know if I can improve the question/title/where I post so I can use that for the future. THANKS!