Rocky is one of the unforgettable and iconic films for a whole generation. It was the origin of a franchise that already has eight chapters: six Rocky movies and two derivatives, Creed and Creed II. This Friday, October 23, they will all be available at Netflix: a good opportunity to review its history and its pearls.
The streaming giant adds to its catalog Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990) and Rocky Balboa (2006). Also they spin-off Creed (2015) and Creed II (2018).
Nobody wanted Stallone
Stallone en “Rocky”.
Sylvester Stallone He wanted to be an actor, but couldn’t get into the industry. With a facial paralysis from birth, had been rejected as an extra in The Godfather and although he had had a little scene in Bananas, of Woody Allen, I was not getting important jobs.
Even had to play a modest role in a porn movie to earn some money.
He boxing it was his favorite sport and there he found inspiration. On March 24, 1975 saw the fight between Chuck Wepner and the now mythical Muhammad Ali. The challenger was almost a stranger who lost by TKO in the final round, but managed to drop the great Ali in the ninth.
The real Rocky
Wepner’s performance, which ended with his face drenched in blood, lit the light for Stallone, who began to write and in three days had the script ready for Rocky, the story of an Italian-American boxer from the suburbs of Philadelphia who faces the world heavyweight champion.
A man of humble origins who has a chance to turn his life upside down if he fights for the title against the fearsome Apollo Creed.
Stallone saw the match in a movie theater in The Angels. “I wanted to write something about how I felt, but my story was not very commercial. I went to see that fight and something clicked. Said: ‘That’s me, that’s how I feel ‘”, would count in 1988, in one of the many times in which acknowledged Wepner’s influence in creating the character that would make him a celebrity.
“It’s me Rocky! Stallone stole my whole life!” Says Chuck Wepner, who 40 years ago nearly beat the great Muhammad Ali a fight. Photo Adriana Groisman
The friendship between Stallone and the real Rocky
For Rocky II, Stallone invited Wepner to audition with the idea that he would play a coach named Chink Weber. “But I messed up the audition because I’d been partying for two days”Wepner admitted. The character was dropped from the script, but the name was used by Stallone for the inmate Sonny Landham played a decade later in Brutal condemnation.
Chuck Wepner junto a Sylvester Stallone.
The relationship between the two continued. When Wepner was detained for drug trafficking at North State Prison in Newark, he was visited by Stallone, who was filming Brutal Condemnation in that prison complex.
They met again in 1997, when Wepner approached the location where Stallone was filming. Copland beside Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Ray Liotta. According to Wepner, the treatment was cordial, but that day something ended up settling in his head. “I felt bad and I said to myself: ‘I’m a real jerk, this guy used my name for 20 years to promote the Rocky franchise. I’m fed up’”.
So in November 2003 he sued Stallone in the Superior Court of New Jersey for $ 15 million for violations of what in the United States known as publicity rights. After almost three years of litigation, lawyers for both parties informed the Court in August 2006 that they had reached a private agreement, the amount of which was not disclosed.
Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky” with Talia Shire.
For the first Rocky, Stallone had a hard time finding producers. They ended up giving him so little budget (a million dollars) that all outdoor shots had to be shot in natural light, there were no bathrooms for the actors or the assistants and Stallone he had to use family members as extras.
The film was released on November 21, 1976 in New York and it was a resounding success. In 1977 he won three Oscars: best film (beating, among others, Taxi Driver from Martin Scorsese), Best Direction (John Avildsen) and Best Editing (Scott Conrad and Richard Halsey).
A scene from the first “Rocky”.
A millionaire franchise
Rocky grossed $ 225 million worldwide. In total, the eight films in the franchise cost a total of 204 million and raised 1,657 million.
Michael B. Jordan y Sylvester Stallone en “Creed”.
Lundgren and his killer punch
There are more pearls that get brighter as the years go by. As when in Rocky IV, during the filming of the fight between Iván Drago (Dolph Lundgren) and Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), the actors got into a serious fight over a misplaced punch.
Ivan Drago, hitting Rocky in the fourth film in the series.
Weathers got out of the ring and wanted to quit the movie. Stallone had to mediate between the two, and filming continued four days later. Stallone himself said that when he recorded a fight with Dolph Lundgren, he thought he was going to die from the blows he received.
The song Gonna Fly Now, by Bill Conti, who became emblematic for accompanying the scene in which Rocky climbs the steps of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, was chosen after Stallone could not raise the money to buy the rights to the famous Another One Bites the Dust, the Queen.
That scene at the end of Rocky’s training speeding up the museum stairs is now part of the history of cinema and popular culture. Every day, Hundreds of tourists run to repeat it: they climb those 72 steps and celebrate with their arms raised when they arrive at the entrance of the museum.
The Rocky statue, in front of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Contemporary Art.
He Rocky steps, as the ritual is called, harvests thousands of home videos on YouTube And the mayor of Philadelphia said it was one of the main tourist attractions of the city.
An Argentine was Rocky’s first rival
In the franchise an Argentine could not be missing: it’s about the boxer Pedro Lovell, who made Rocky Balboa’s first rival in Rocky. It was Spider Rico, who is defeated by KO in the first scene of the film. “You were lucky tonight,” Spider warns the Italian Stallion seconds later in the locker room. Later, the Argentine would return to the franchise in Rocky Balboa, the last film, as a friend of the protagonist.
Pedro Lovell, Rocky’s first rival, on the fight’s promotional poster.
Legendary Panamanian boxer Roberto “Mano de Piedra” Durán appears in Rocky II (filmed in 1979). Duran sparks Rocky, while old Mickey (Burgess Meredith) asks his pupil to move faster.
What is Stallone’s favorite Rocky
“Rocky Balboa” (2006)
To everyone’s surprise, Stallone said his favorite movie in the franchise is his sixth, Rocky Balboa (2006). “I must say that my best character, of course, is Rocky, but the movie that I like and pride the most is Rocky Balboa, simply because nobody wanted to do it. I sat for six years trying to make that movie and when it came out, I was very happy and proud of everything. “