It’s been a mind-blowing 45 years since the launch of one of the most iconic sports dramas in history. It catapulted then hardly known actor Sylvester Stallone’s career into Hollywood.
Although many people will remember that monumental training montage, Rocky (1976) is so much more than that. It tells a story of an ordinary working-class fighter from Philadelphia who against all odds competes against the world heavyweight champion.
Since its release, Rocky Balboa has been the inspiration for so many people from all walks of life replicating his pure grit and determination. The film is not just a fairy tale on the screen but also in real life with Stallone having just $106 in his bank when producers took a punt on his screenplay.
45-years ago today “Rocky” premiered in theaters (1976) … pic.twitter.com/AkMohntTj7
— Rex Chapman?? (@RexChapman) December 3, 2021
The film had a budget of just over $1.1 million and went on to gross $225 million globally and one day deemed worthy of preservation in the US National Film Registry as ‘culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.
Did you know, Stallone was so broke before the making of Rocky he had to sell his dog just to get by? He could never have guessed just how much of an impact the film has had on multiple generations of movie lovers.
He wrote the entire script in just 3 days and impressed the producers at United Artists who offered him $300,000 for it. However, they didn’t want to cast Stallone as the lead and had other actors like James Cann and Robert Redford, which understandably did not sit well with him.
I thought, ‘Alright, you’ve really managed poverty very well. You’ve got this down to a science. You really don’t need much to live on’.
So I thought, ‘You know what? I know in the back of my mind if I sell this script and it does very, very well, I’m gonna jump off a building if I’m not in it’. There’s no doubt about it. I’m gonna leap in front of a train. I’m gonna be very upset.
So this is one of those things where you just roll the dice, and you fly by the proverbial seat of your pants and say, ‘Alright, I gotta try it. I gotta just do it. I may be totally wrong, and I’m gonna be taking a lot of people down with me, but I just believe in it’.
Stallone went against the advice given by his agent and turned to producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler who managed to get Rocky greenlit casting Stallone as the star for a somewhat low budget. The rest you may say is history.
Since the success of the first movie, there have been a total of eight films and we can imagine this number will keep growing: Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990), Rocky Balboa (2006), Creed (2015), Creed II (2018) and Creed III (2022).