It's the movie that made Sylvester Stallone a household name, but it's also more than that - it's The American Dream laid out in 119 minutes. Rocky Balboa collects debts for a loan shark by day, and picks up small-time boxing matches by night. With a whole lot of hard work, the love of a good woman and a little bit of luck, he soon finds himself facing off against the undefeated heavyweight champion. But as every hero since knows: it's not whether you win or lose, it's whether you go the distance.
Top 10 Fun Facts
- Rocky was shot in 28 days on a budget of $1.1 million, and went on to become the highest grossing film of 1976 - hauling in $117.2 million at the box office. Not bad for four weeks' work.
- In Sylvester Stallone's original script, Rocky's trainer Mickey was a bitter old racist, and in the end Rocky throws the fight against Apollo Creed. Best. Re-writes. Ever.
- In an early draft of the sequel, it's revealed that Rocky's real name is Robert Balboa. Can you imagine if the most inspirational sports movie of all time had been called simply Robert?
- The kitchen scene where Adrian is reluctant to kiss Rocky wasn't originally scripted that way - Talia Shire actually had the flu, and feared she would give it to Stallone. Both actors have since declared it their favorite scene in the film.
- Sylvester Stallone has flat knuckles, thanks to the meat-punching scene in Rocky. So let this be a lesson to you, future boxers: training in a meat locker filled with slabs of beef may LOOK cool, but the cosmetic damage can last a lifetime.
- In the script, the ice skating rink was supposed to include 300 extras, but there wasn't enough cash in the budget. When Stallone showed up on set that day to find just one extra, he was forced to improvise.
- Stallone also improvised his monologue after Rocky turns down Mickey's offer to manage him. He explained that he was inspired by the fact that the bathroom in the apartment location really did stink. Art may imitate life, but that doesn't mean it's always pretty.
- Joe Spinell, who played Gazzo, really did have to pull out his inhaler during the scene in which he gives Rocky grief for not breaking a dockworker's thumbs. Director John G. Avildsen liked the moment so much he kept it in the final cut.
- Invasion of the Frank Stallones: Sly's father appears in the film as the bell ringer at the beginning of the title fight, while his brother plays the lead singer of the street band.
- Street cred: Rocky became the first sports film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.