Rocky is a 1976 American sports drama movie directed by John G. Avildsen and both written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. The movie tells the rags to riches American Dream story of Rocky Balboa, an uneducated but kind hearted working class Italian American boxer working as a debt collector for a loan shark in the slums of Philadelphia. Take a look below for 30 more interesting and fascinating facts about Rocky.
1. The movie stars Talia Shire as Adrian, Burt Young as Adrian’s brother Paulie, Burgess Meredith as Rocky’s trainer Mickey Goldmill, and Carl Weathers as the champion, Apollo Creed.
2. Rocky, which was made on a budget just over $1 million, was a sleeper hit, earning $225 million in global box office receipts, becoming the highest-grossing movie of 1976.
3. The movie went on to win 3 Oscars, including Best Picture.
4. Rocky received many positive reviews and turned Sylvester Stallone into a major star.
5. In 2006, the movie was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being, “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”
6. Rocky is considered to be one of the greatest sports films ever made and was ranked as the second-best in the genre, after Raging Bull, by the American Film Institute in 2008.
7. Rocky’s dog Butkus was actually Sylvester Stallone’s dog in real life.
8. After producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff became interested in the script, they offered Sylvester Stallone an unprecedented $350,000 for the rights, but he refused to sell unless they agreed to allow him to star in the movie, despite the fact that he had only $106 in the bank, no car and was trying to sell his dog because he couldn’t afford to feed it.
9. Most of the scenes of Rocky jogging through Philadelphia were shot guerrilla-style, with no permits, no equipment and no extras.
10. Sylvester Stallone insisted that the scene where he admits his fears and doubts to Adrian the night before the fight be filmed, even though production was running far behind and the producers wanted to skip it. Stallone had only one take for the scene, despite the fact that he considered it to be the most important scene in the movie.
11. The monologue which Rocky delivers after turning down Mickey’s offer to manage him was completely improvised on-set by Sylvester Stallone. He has since explained that he was heavily influenced by the fact that the bathroom of the tiny apartment in which they were shooting really did stink.
12. Sylvester Stallone quit smoking cigarettes while making Rocky, because he was getting winded very quickly.
13. In an interview, Sylvester Stallone was asked if he and Elvis Presley ever met. Stallone said that in 1976 after Rocky was released, Elvis contacted him and asked him to visit Graceland and bring a copy of the movie with him. Stallone told the interviewer that he was too afraid to meet Elvis, and he didn’t go, but he did send a copy of the movie. Apparently, Elvis did watch the movie with some friends.
14. Burgess Meredith got the part of Mickey because the other actors they considered for the role were insulted that Sylvester Stallone wanted them to read for it.
15. Rocky was the highest-grossing movie of 1976.
16. Even though Sylvester Stallone famously wrote the first draft of the script in three days, it went through nine sizable rewrites before it was purchased by Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff. Originally, Stallone’s much darker script depicted Mickey as a bitter old racist, and the movie ended with Rocky throwing the fight after realizing he didn’t want to be part of the professional boxing world.
17. Prior to his breakthrough role in the movie, Sylvester Stallone was earning $36 a week as an usher.
18. When shooting the scenes in the meat-locker where he punches the slabs of beef, Sylvester Stallone punched the meat so hard for so long that he flattened out his knuckles. to this day, when he makes a fist, his knuckles are completely level.
19. According to Burt Young, during filming of the scene where Paulie walks home drunk, an actual drunk wandered onto the location and told Young that he wasn’t acting drunk convincingly, so Young asked the man to demonstrate it. Young then copied the man’s actions for the scene.
20. The single most expensive cost on Rocky was the make-up.
21. Rocky’s old injury to his finger which enables him to pretend he had broken it, is a real injury Sylvester Stallone suffered while playing college football.
22. Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers suffered injuries during the shooting of the final fight. Stallone suffered bruised ribs and Weathers suffered a damaged nose, the opposite injuries of what their characters had.
23. The two scenes where Rocky runs up the museum stairs, the first where he can’t do it and the second during the “Gonna Fly Now” training sequence where he runs up them triumphantly, were filmed two and a half hours apart. The first before the sun rose, the second afterwards.
24. The entire movie was shot in 28 days.
25. One of the posters for Rocky featured a shot of Rocky and Adrian holding hands. Although this was one of the most popular images associated with the movie, the scene this image was taken from was cut from the movie.
26. The photos on Rocky’s mirror are actual photos of Sylvester Stallone as a young boy.
27. When he agreed to make the movie, John G. Avildsen had never watched a professional boxing match, nor had he ever seen a boxing movie.
28. Rocky isn’t the character’s actual name. His real name is Robert Balboa, this was seen in a rough script from the second movie. He took the nickname from the real life boxer Rocky Marciano.
29. When shooting his famous job through the streets of Philadelphia, Sylvester Stallone pulled a tendon in his leg and was taken to a nearby hospital in a wheelbarrow.
30. Sylvester Stallone had originally wanted Harvey Keitel for the role of Paulie.