On Friday 23, the platform will upload the six films of the franchise and its two spin-offs. Here, unveiled secrets and curiosities of the great creation of Sylvester Stallone.
Rocky is one of the unforgettable and iconic movies 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 on 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).
Sylvester Stallone wanted to be an actor, but couldn’t break 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 BananasWoody Allen was not getting big jobs.
Even had to play a modest role in a porn movie to earn some money.
Boxing was his favorite sport and there he found inspiration. The 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.
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 Los Angeles movie theater. “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.
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.
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 with 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 is known in the United States 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.
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 had to use family members as extras.
The film was released on November 21, 1976 in New York and was a resounding success. In 1977 he won three Oscars: best film (surpassing, among others, Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver), best direction (John Avildsen) and best editing (Scott Conrad and Richard Halsey).
Rocky grossed $ 225 million worldwide. In total, the eight films in the franchise cost a total of 204 million and raised 1,657 million.
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.