As a tribute to Sylvester Stallone and his character Rocky Balboa, there are 70 facts about the Rocky saga:
1. Stallone was inspired to write Rocky after watching Chuck Wepner’s 1975 title fight against Muhammad Ali, in which the challenger knocked down the champion for the third time in his Ali career.
2- Wepner later sued Stallone on the grounds that he profited from his life story, but they settled out of court.
3. From the original version of the film’s script, Stallone made so many changes that he estimates that he only kept 10 percent in the final plot.
4. Rocky I producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler agreed to meet with Stallone as a favor to his agent.
5. Aside from Burt Young (Paulie), none of the lead actors in Rocky were first choice to play the roles.
6. Boxer Ken Norton was originally scheduled to play Apollo, but dropped out at the last minute to get on an ABC television show.
7. Carl Weathers, who ultimately played the role of Apollo, insulted Stallone during a script reading and lied about having boxing experience.
8. The producers wanted the entirety of the film to be shot in Los Angeles, with no locations in Philadelphia, to keep the cost of production low.
9. All of the scenes in Philadelphia were shot without restrooms, days off, or vacations. All exterior shots were taken in natural light.
10. The cast moved to Philadelphia had breakfast, lunch and dinner only pizzas,
11. Stallone’s family members involved in the production of Rocky included his brother, Frank Jr., his father, Frank Sr, and their dog, Butkus, who played the role of Balboa’s pet.
12. A production assistant warned by walkie-talkie when a train was approaching to start shooting a scene in which they wanted to include the effect.
13. Stallone encountered some opposition to his decision to wear a hat resembling Gene Hackman’s in The French Connection. The actor was adamant that Balboa’s hat was his “armor.”
14. Stallone wrote Rocky and Adrian’s first date scene at a sky rink, even though he couldn’t skate.
15. Stallone was used to eating raw egg yolks, as Rocky did, since his poor youth in New York.
16. Despite attempts to include more real-world boxing figures, the only one available was Joe Frazier, who appears in the ring before the final fight. Originally, the climactic fight was not going to be choreographed, but when Stallone and Weathers first tried to film it, it was chaos.
17. The shots of the stands in the final fight are closed and dark because there were no resources to hire the eight thousand extras that the arena had capacity.
18. The shots that are finally shown of a packed arena are stock footage of Madison Square Garden.
19. In the original ending, Apollo leaves the ring celebrating, while Rocky and Adrian walk into a tunnel in the stadium. The scene of the two holding hands and walking in the dark appears on the movie poster.
20. The morning training scene was originally going to be 90 seconds long, but when editing it they asked the composer to add score. In the end, the montage was almost three minutes long.
21. In an interview for the New York Times, Stallone suggested that Rocky would be a trilogy, in which the character would eventually turn political and return to the ring at age 37.
22. His discomfort with the success of Rocky I inspired Stallone to write the scene in Rocky II where he becomes uncomfortable with a commercial release.
23. Carl Weathers said that the physical preparation for the fight in Rocky II was “the hardest training I’ve ever done.”
24. Chuck Wepner, the boxer who inspired Stallone to write Rocky, tried to get a role in Rocky II, but did so poorly that the character was cut.
25. Former lightweight champion Roberto Duran has a small role as a member of Rocky’s team.
26. While training for the film, Stallone broke his right pecs and had to get 160 stitches under his right arm.
27. A reporter in Philadelphia estimated that the jogging route from the training scene in Rocky II would have been 30 miles (about 48 kilometers) had it been real.
28. Rocky II reveals that Adrian’s last name is Pennino, as is the mother of the actress who played the role (Talia Shire).
29. After filming, Stallone confessed that Weathers’ beatings “was the worst punishment I’ve ever received.”
30. In 1979, Stallone said in an interview that his fantasy would have been to close Rocky III with a fight at the Colosseum in Rome.
31. Producer Robert Chartoff said that Mr. T’s haircut and sideburns were part of his real personality.
32. Stallone dropped his body fat percentage to 2.8 percent for the movie. He only eats 10 egg whites, a piece of toast and a piece of fruit each day.
33. Stallone wanted to use Queen’s song “Another One Bites the Dust” for the training scene, but couldn’t get the rights.
34. It was then that he asked the band Survivor to write a song for the film, which was “Eye of the Tiger”, which won a Grammy.
35. Another option was a Joe Esposito song “You’re the best”, but Stallone turned it down, leaving it available for Karate Kid.
36. The painter LeRoy Neiman, whose most famous work is a portrait of Rocky, began his appearances as an announcer of the fights with Rocky III. He then appeared in the next two films in the series.
37. Stallone commissioned the bronze Rocky statue before the film’s production and donated it to Philadelphia after filming was complete.
38. In 2006 it was suggested to move the statue to the local art museum, but a local sector opposed saying that it was just part of a bad movie.
39. Johnny Carson was so impressed by Hulk Hogan’s performance as Thunderlips that he asked the wrestler to be a part of his The Tonight Show.
40. Hogan, in fact, had been fired by Vince McMahon as a WWF wrestler for appearing in the movie, when he was supposed to only be wrestling.
41. Jim Henson agreed to have an exclusive scene shot for the film featuring the entrance to The Muppet Show with Kermit announcing Balboa as a guest.
42. The climactic fight between Rocky and Clubber Lang is the only one in the series that does not exceed 15 rounds. It ends in three.
43. Frank Stallone, Sylvester’s brother, adds his second appearance in the saga.
44. In an interview in 1979, Stallone said: “There will never be a Rocky IV.
45. Back in 1982, at a Rocky III press conference, he admitted that a fourth movie was not out of the question.
46. Stallone said that the fight with Ivan Drago was, at least in part, based on a fight between Joe Louis and Nazi German heavyweight Max Schmeling.
47. When he auditioned for the role of Ivan Drago, Dolph Lundgren was a male model with a degree in chemical engineering.
48. Lundgren was first passed over for the role for being too tall; however, Lundgren himself sent photos of himself to Stallone, who eventually hired him.
49. Lundgren had to gain around 20 pounds for the role of Drago.
50. Stallone worked with champion bodybuilder Franco Columbo to achieve a more muscular look than he had in the previous film. He gained 10 pounds (five kilos) in weight.
51. Lundgren said he felt sympathy for Drago, seeing him as “a pawn in the machinery of an evil empire.”
52. In an attempt to gain authenticity, Stallone asked Lundgren to try and actually knock him out on the first try of filming the fight scene.
53. Stallone called off the idea after receiving a heavy blow to the chest from Lundgren.
54. Paulie’s robot was built by an international robotics company to help autistic children.
55. The voice of the robot, in male and female versions, was done by International Robotics founder Robert Doornick.
56. The site of Rocky’s training, purporting to be Russia, was actually filmed in Wyoming.
57. The final fight, set in a large Russian city, was filmed at the Agrodome Arena in Vancouver.
58. Rocky V, filmed in 1990, was a flop because according to Stallone “audiences don’t want to see the negative side of the character. They wanted him to always succeed.”
59. Frank Stallone Jr. was the one who recommended hiring wrestler Tommy Morrison (who played Tommy Gunn) for the film.
60. Sage Stallone, son of Sylvester, plays Balboa’s son in the film. A role with himself accepted that it had a lot of autobiography. Sage Stallone passed away in 2012.
61. Chartoff and Winkler returned once more to produce Rocky V, 14 years after making the first part.
62. Throughout much of filming, the plan was to kill Rocky in the street fight at the end of the movie. Stallone cried when he wrote the scene, but ultimately decided to change it.
63. Like Morrison, Michael Anthony Williams (who plays Union Cane) was a professional boxer.
64. There were rumors that Williams and Morrison were going to have a real fight after shooting Rocky V, but the two boxers never worked it out.
65. The fight between Gunn and Cane was filmed in the Philadelphia Civic Center and 10,000 extras were requested, which were obtained with admission coupons printed in local newspapers or given by radio stations.
66. Mickey’s speech in the flashback scene was taken almost word for word from a monologue given by legendary trainer Cus D’Amato about Mike Tyson.
67. Famed professional wrestler Terry Funk helped coordinate the fights in the film. Funk had worked with Stallone on “Paradise Alley” and “Rambo III.”
68. In a 2010 interview, Stallone admitted Rocky V “sucks.” He continued, “It was terrible. I couldn’t let it be the last movie about that character.”
69. Stallone first wanted to make “Rocky Balboa” in 1996, but it took another decade to find a studio willing to make the film.
70. In the original script for “Rocky Balboa” filmed in 2010, Adrian was alive, but then Stallone decided to leave her for dead to add drama to Balboa’s character. 63. Stallone wanted boxer Roy Jones Jr. to play the role of Mason “The Line” Dixon, but it fell through.
And as a gift, some additional data:
— The role of Mason Dixon was eventually given to Antonio Tarver, a former light heavyweight champion.
— Among Stallone’s inspirations for the “Rocky Balboa” storyline was George Foreman’s fight with Michael Moorer in 1994. Another source of inspiration was the fictional fight between Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano in 1969.
— In an alternate ending, Rocky wins the fight on a split decision over Mason.
— The pre-fight press conference was held on the set used for an actual pre-fight press conference prior to a fight between Bernard Hopkins and Jermaine Taylor.
— The fight was also held at the same venue as the Hopkins fight, taking advantage of the fans in attendance. 69. The fight between Rocky and Dixon was not rehearsed. Stallone wanted a fight to look as real as possible.
— As a result of the final fight, Stallone broke a bone in his foot, and Tarver broke a bone in his hand.
— For the first time in the saga, the sounds of the blows were real. Stallone admitted that special effects were used in all the previous ones.
— On January 19, 2015, filming began on “Creed” in Liverpool, which was completed at Stallone’s home in Philadelphia.
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70 facts about Rocky Balboa 42 years after its premiere
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