These Behind the Scenes Rocky Facts Prove Stallone Was the Real Underdog

Rocky is one of the most legendary sports-dramas to ever be created. The movies tell the story of a boxer who went beyond all expectations that the world had for him. It’s a story about the underdog who won the hearts of fans without winning first place. The movie was one an underdog itself, Stallone had never written a script in his life before Rocky, that is why other than the producers who agreed to make it, no one really believed in the movie’s success.


He risked everything for this project. The success that Rocky had was nothing like what anyone could have expected. When it was first released it made hundreds of millions at the box office. Today the entire franchise is worth billions of dollars. Yep, that’s right, billion… with a “B!

Rocky’s Bond With Butkus the Dog Was Real

Running scenes are a staple in the Rocky movies. You see the fighter running alongside his dog a few times. The bond between that dog and Rocky went beyond the set because it was actually his dog in real life. Sylvester did not see appoint is hiring a stunt dog for the scenes when he could be comfortable acting beside a dog that he already had a great love for.

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Not to mention, he is known to have a thing for including his family members on the sets of his movie. But having his dog act with him was extremely significant… you’ll understand why in a few slides.

Producers Considered Other Actors for the Role of Rocky, Stallone Was the Last Choice

Sylvester Stallone wrote this film on is own, that’s why he had such a connection to it. However, the producers were not sold on his acting skills and wanted other people to step in and play the part of Rocky. They suggested Robert Redford or Burt Reynolds take the lead role, but Sylvester did not approve.

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It was his work, his script and he was to be the lead actor in it. He would not budge. Just imagine what it would be like if either Reynolds or Redford took on this role; it would be a completely different world to live in.

Details Behind the Famous Run

One of the most memorable scenes in all of the Rocky movies is when Rocky is getting into shape for his rematch with Creed. The neighborhood youngsters, inspired by Rocky, joined him on this epic run. At the end of this workout, the crowd cheers him on after he completed his journey and ran up 72 steps. Dan McQuade of Philly Mag took the liberty of calculating how many miles Rocky would have run on that crucial day.

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According to his calculations, the journey is around 30 miles long. Realistically, a run like that would do more harm than good for someone who is about to head out for an epic fight. But that’s why we say “it’s just a movie!”

Adrian Watches Match from Home Due to Overlapping Schedules

Those who have seen the movie recall that Adrian watched the crucial match between Rocky and Creed from home and not from the stands. The storyline gave a good reason for her staying home, but there was another reason why she could not make it. In real life, the actress was off filming for another movie while the fighting scenes were being shot.

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The producers had to make changes in the script to work around her schedule. Although, with production this big, we would have expected the producers to make some accommodations and have Adrian at the match. In any case, Adrian did an excellent job at playing a worried wife who watched her husband take on this fighter from home.

Producers Chose Wyoming Over Siberia

Of all the training scenes that took place in the Rocky movies, one of the most loved ones by fans was when Rocky flew out to Siberia to train in the freezing cold. The truth is that Rocky never actually went to Siberia.

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If you’re American, you might even recognize the area that he trained in. The producers were very budget-conscious and decided to work in some good old American snow from Wyoming. The fight between Rocky and Drago were shot in Vancouver, British Colombia. It’s not Siberia but it works. It’s a good thing that the Audience bought it!

Rocky Fights in the Ring but Walks in the Rink Because Producers Couldn’t Teach Him to Skate

In the first draft of the Rocky script, he was set to go on a date at an ice skating rink, however, the producers were worried that the extras for this scene would be a big blow to the movie’s budget. Therefore, producers decided to add in a romantic scene at the ice skating rink.

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Financially, that made a load of sense but unfortunately, Sylvester could not figure out how to keep balance on the skating rink. Instead of risking any injuries, they had him jog along the ice skating rink instead. If Sylvester pulled a muscle or broke a leg the whole movie would be off.

Before Rocky, Sylvester Considered Selling His Dog Because He Couldn’t Afford to Feed Him

The scenes when Rocky went jogging with his dog take on a whole new level once you realize the sentimental value behind it. Before Sylvester had producers agreeing to use his script, he was pretty broke. According to him, he had a little over 100 dollars in his pocket.

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He seriously considered selling his dog. “As a matter a fact, I actually had to go out and try to sell my dog because it was either that or he wasn’t going to be very well fed around the house,” he told Michael Watson.

Stallone Pitched the Script for Rocky at an Audition For Another Movie

Sylvester went to audition for another role in Hollywood. While Stallone had no work, he spent his free time doing what he loved, writing scripts. By the time he went in for this specific audition, he had already written most the script for the movie Rocky.

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After his audition, he got the courage to turn around and tell the producers about a script he wrote involving the rise of an underdog boxer. The producers were impressed and asked him to come back with the script. That is when everything in his life changed for the better. He brought it in and they ate the whole thing up.

The Ali And Wepner Match Inspired Stallone to Write Rocky

Stallone tells about the moment he was inspired to write the script for Rocky. He said that a boxing match made him think about how the people in the ring were doing exactly what he was doing which is fighting for their life.

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“And then one night, I went out to see Mohammad Ali fight Chuck Wepner. And what I saw was pretty extraordinary. I saw a man called ‘The Bayonne Bleeder’ fight the greatest fighter who ever lived. And for one brief moment, this supposed stumblebum turned out to be magnificent. And he lasted and knocked the champ down. I thought if this isn’t a metaphor for life.”

Carl Weathers Insults Stallone at His Audition… and That’s Why He Got the Role of Creed

Carl Weathers has an interesting story about how he was chosen for the role of Apollo Creed. During his audition, Carl complained that his performance would have been much better had he been working with a “real actor.” This insult was directed at Sylvester Stallone. At the time, Carl didn’t know that the actor he insulted actually owned and wrote the script.

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While most would expect Stallone to get insulted and refuse Carl the role, he actually loved the attitude and said it was exactly what he was looking for. Sylvester wanted Carl to take that attitude to the Creed character… and that’s exactly what he did.

Stallone Was Offered a $350,000 Payout for the Script, He Refused

The producers really loved the script of Rocky,however, they were not a fan of Sylvester Stallone’s acting skills. That’s why they offered him a $350,000 payout. They’d give him the money if he would walk away from the project.

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Although money is really what Stallone needed, he found it in him to turn down the offer. This was his project and he wanted to see it through. Nothing got in the way of that. Imagine what it would feel like to see the Rocky series making bank if he had sold the script. Luckily he decided to stay true to his dream.

Rocky Balboa Was the First in the Series to Use Real Punching Sounds

Rocky Balboa was the first film in the series to use real punching sounds. Before this film, the sound editors used recordings of things like rattling bottles, baseball bats hitting wet leather, and gunshots for the sound of punching. However, after a few movies, they decided that the sound effects should have been more realistic. Finally, they added in some real punching sounds from recorded matches.

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This gave the kick that it needed. The fights were more realistic than they ever were before, it almost seemed like there was no acting involved, and that it was the real thing.

Directors Considered Casting Susan Sarandon as Adrian But Decided She Was Too Sexy

The producers of the movies were not only conflicted about who should play Rocky. There was also a debate about who should play the part of Rocky’s love, Adrian. Apparently, the producers were seriously considering casting Susan Sarandon for the part.

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There were many considerations on the table and she was one of the biggest. However, as we all know, that did not quite work out. Although Susan is an incrediable actress; Talia Shire proved herself to be a much better-suited actress to play Rocky’s love interest. The on-screen chemistry is felt by everyone watching the movie.

Producers Worried Rocky Would Flop Due to Stallone’s “Poor Acting Skills”

The producers of the film were not expecting the huge success of Rocky. They were worried Sylvester’s acting skills would be a problem. However, they wound up being a total hit.

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The production of the movie cost about $1 Million dollars. The box offices blew up when the movie came out. They ended up making $225 million dollars when it was first released! This was a turn around that no one could have predicted. Stallone went from being broke to get a huge payday.

Apollo & Rocky Fight in the Dark Because Producers Couldn’t Afford Enough Extras to Fill the Stands

The first Rocky film had a pretty low budget. The producers cut a lot of corners to make sure that they were keeping things under budget, including using as little extras as they could possibly use. That is why it looked like Rocky and Apollo Creed were fighting with a dark background. Some people thought the producers did that to add more focus on the fight itself.

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However, the real reason they did that because they did not have enough money to pay for enough extras to dill in the stadium. This approach actually made the fight a lot more intense. So it was a good thing that they didn’t fill in the stadium.

Michael B. Jordan Puts on 24 Pounds of Muscle for “Creed”

As we all know, Michael B. Jordan played Apollo Creed’s son in the movie “Creed.” Jordan decided to take on the role without using any body double. This meant that he had to learn how to box and put on some serious muscle. Training for the movie was no joke.

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The actor trained every single day and managed to put on 24 pounds of pure muscle! The actor’s biceps and triceps surely brought viewers to the theaters for reasons other than the sole interest in boxing. He is officially one of Hollywood’s most wanted that’s for sure. The “Creed” movies are hits.

Mr. T. Didn’t Ask Producers How to Do His Hair… He Told Them

In Rocky III the big-time fighter was up against Clubber Lang. The producers had a whole look for Mr. T when they handed him the role, however some changes needed to be made. Mr. T shows off his creative eye when it comes to his hairstyle.

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One day he told the producers that this was how he wanted his hair to look. At first, the producers did not want to go with it, but when you take one look at Mr. T, you know that arguing is not an option. In the end, they were really happy with that decision and it added a little kick to his character.

Wepner Sues Stallone for Using His Story and Legacy Without Permission

The main inspiration for the Rocky movies was a fight between Mohammad Ali and Chuck Wepner. No one expected Wepner to last more than a couple of rounds, but he proved the world wrong by putting up a fight for 15 rounds and going down in boxing history.

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Later on, Stallone made a statement that the fight was not at all his main inspiration for writing the script for Rocky. Perhaps he was trying to avoid a lawsuit from Wepner. Either way, Wepner wound up Suing Stallone for copying his moves in the ring. The two ended up settling outside of the court.

Joe Frazier Makes a Cameo Appearance After Stallone Called Him an Inspiration

According to some sources, Stallone was also inspired by the boxer Joe Frazier. Apparently, Joe inspired the scene where Rocky practices his fast and skilled boxing technique while he was standing on carcasses in the butcher’s warehouse. Even more, proof that Joe was a major inspiration for Sylvester Stallone was that the famous boxer himself made an appearance in the movie as himself.

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We wonder where Stallone found out that Joe Frazier practiced his technique on carcasses because if that could be fact-checked we would have a whole new level of respect for that boxer.

The “Karate Kid” Theme Song Was Initially the Theme Song for Rocky

When the Producers were thinking about the day they wanted to use for the movie. They wanted something that would be inspirational, motivational and something you would want to hear while you are working out at the gym.

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At first, they went with the song “You’re the Best,” which is the song you hear in the movie “Karate Kid.” However when they heard the song “Eye of the Tiger,” they dropped “You’re the Best,” and went straight for this song. The Popular Everything team feels that this was a great choice by the producer.

Hulk Hogan Thought He Was Being Pranked When He Was Asked to Star as Thunderlips

Hulk Hogan stepped in to play the boxer “Thunderlips.” Rocky faces off with Thunderlips in an epic match. The first time Hogan was offered to play this role was after he fought with Andre the Giant at Shea Stadium. However, Hogan thought the offer was actually a prank.

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He did not believe that he was actually being asked to play Thunderlips in the movie. Hogan assumed that some of his wrestling buddies were trying to make a funny joke. Eventually, he realized that this was the real deal and took the offer. The Rocky fans loved Hogan’s performance!

Many Believed Rocky Was the End of Stallone’s Acting Career

Although his movies made millions, Sylvester Stallone’s acting career took a huge negative blow. He was constantly criticized for being an unconvincing actor. Stallone did not let the criticism get in the way of his movies.

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As we all know he went on to make an entire series of Rocky movies. However, despite the success of his films, the public went on to say that they were all failures. As an actor, this type of blow could be fatal to one’s career. At least he already made millions off his work before the world deemed him a terrible actor.

Carl Weathers Wanted to Come Back to Life in Another Rocky Movie

When Sylvester Stallone was making the movie Rocky Balboa, Carl Weathers allegedly asked him if he would return to the Rocky franchise, even though he died in a previous movie. Stallone denied the request because it would highly inconsistent with the movies. Creed can’t die and then come back to life, it would not make sense to viewers.

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Weathers was upset by the response and snubbed Stallone by not letting the producers use an archived image of him in the movie. It makes sense why Carl would want to be a part of the franchise again but Sylvester Stallone had a really good reason for turning him down.

Hiring Russian Boxers Would Cause Serious Legal Issues

In the movie Rocky IV, the famous Soviet Union boxer, Ivan Drago, fights in matches against Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed. However, at that point in time, Soviet boxers were forbidden from boxing in the United States due to the political friction caused by the Cold War.


Additionally, you might have noticed that none of the Russian characters were played by Russian people. Perhaps this was to avoid any controversy or the possibility of crossing legal line. Compensation to a Russian in America for a movie could have been a gray area that producers were not willing to enter.

Stallone Leaks Crucial Plot Points for Movie on Twitter

When Sylvester Stallone was filming the movie “Creed,” he accidentally leaked some crucial details about the movie’s plot on Twitter. Stallone Tweeted a picture of his desk and on it was a paper with writing. Fans went crazy and took the liberty of flipping the image, zooming in, and reading what was written. People thought that it would ruin the whole movie because of how detailed the leak was.

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Luckily, the movie did just fine! What a scare! A mistake like this usually has some detrimental consequences but it seems like Sylvester is one of the luckiest guys out there in Hollywood.

Directors Had to Choreograph Rocky & Tommy’s Fight Because Things Got Too Goofy

The big fighting scene at the end of Rocky was originally meant to be filmed without any choreography. The actors were meant to use the skills they learned and just figure out how to make the thing look legitimate. However Rocky and Tommy were not able to figure out how to do that. They said it made them feel silly and even a bit confused.

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That’s when the producers felt the push to choreograph the fight, even if it meant spending a little more to have it done. In the end, it worked out really well and the wound up being one of the most favored scenes in the movie.

Carl Weathers Couldn’t Stand Working With Dolph Lundgren

The fight between Ivan Drago and Apollo Creed was pretty intense. It looked like these two were going to rip each other’s heads off, and that’s no thanks to some seriously awesome acting skills. During the filming Dolph Lundgren got so aggressive that he threw Carl Weathers into a corner of the ring.

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Weathers was infuriated by this and stormed off the set saying that he quit. It took Sylvester a few days to get the two to reconcile. They had to stop filming for four days, which is a lot to give up in the producing world. They agreed to continue working together but that does not mean they were good friends offset.

Cher Turned Down the Role of Adrian

As we all know, Talia Shire was the woman who was cast for the role of Rocky’s love interest, Adrian. She happened to do a fantastic job, but she was not the producers first choice. At first, Carrie Snodgrass got the part.

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However, the producers decided to drop her after she asked them for a pay raise. Before they resulted to Talia, they considered casting Cher or Bette Midler. Both of those women turned down the role. Imagine Cher acting as Adrian… Rocky would have to learn to find life after love that’s for sure.

Rocky Was About to Be Killed Off… But Stallone Had a Last Minute Change of Heart

In Rocky V we see Rocky take on Tommy Gunn in an epic and intense street fight. Initially, this movie was supposed to end with Rocky dying in the arms of Tommy after an aggressive battle. Luckily, they decided to take a different direction and let Rocky live on.

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We would not have had the movies that came after had he died. That includes the new “Creed” movies. Without Rocky, there would be no sentimental value… and perhaps no movie at all. We know that the world would have been missing something if they never got the chance to see all 24 pounds of muscle that Michael B. Jordan gained for that movie!

The Original Movie Ending Would Have Been Deemed Unethical

The Original ending that Sylvester Stallone had in mind for the movie Rocky,was that Rocky Balboa would be paid to purposely lose the match against Apollo Creed. He would have done it so that he could use the money to buy Adrian a pet shop. Although the gesture would have been super sweet on Rocky’s part, it would send out the wrong idea about his character.

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Stallone did not want Rocky to be the kind of character that would sell his code of ethics. If they went with this ending, the next movie would feature Rocky managing a small business and his loving relationship that was founded off an unethical decision. The producers wanted some good sportsmanship!

Mr. T’s Mom Yelled at Him in the Middle of the Movie Premiere

When Mr. T’s mother came with him to watch the movie, a specific scene had her yelling at him in public. At one point his character yells at a woman. His mother was so appalled by the scene that she got up in the middle of the screening, yelled at her son for using such language towards a lady and walked out of the movie before it was over.

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Surely, Mr. T was a little embarrassed by the event, but he had to sit and listen to his mom instead of interrupting her. Clearly, the real-life Mr. T has an awesome education about respect and politeness.

Stallone’s Says His Biggest Achievement Was a Compliment From John Wayne

Even though he was criticized for being a bad actor, Rocky went on to win the Best Picture Award. At the ceremony, John Wayne was sitting in the crowd. Wayne approached Sylvester Stallone and introduced himself. Stallone said that Wayne welcomed him to the film industry and complimented his achievements.

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The rookie scriptwriter was extremely flattered and later said that this moment with Wayne was one of his best achievements of all time. He was criticized and mocked by the public, but the only opinion that mattered to him was of the legendary producer, John Wayne.

Sylvester Stallone and the Producers Had to Fight to Film in Philadelphia

The producers of Rocky were very conscious about the low budget they had. In addition to a small number of paid extras, and some other cut corners, they wanted to film everything in LA.

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However, Sylvester Stallone and the director had to argue with the producers and convince them to let them shoot certain scenes in Philadelphia. At first, they were not going to give in but somehow the two were able to convince them that it would be a good idea.

Family Struggles With Illness Inspired Ryan Coogler to Write “Creed

Coogler explains that his personal life had a lot to do with what inspired him to write “Creed“. His family battled with illness. He teamed up with the “Wakanda” actor Michael B. Jordan to play Adonis Creed, a young fighter who is trying to make his own name in the fighting world and break out of his father’s shadow.

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Coogler explained that when he was younger, he and his father used to watch the Rocky movies. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer, she and his father also watched the movies. Later on, his father also was diagnosed with an illness. Watching his dad fight for his life inspired Coogler to write Creed.

Stallone Was Convinced to Make a Cameo Appearance on This Is Us

Sylvester Stallone made a cameo appearance in the hit TV series “This Is Us.” The viewers were wondering how they got a hold Sylvester Stallone in the first place. An actor with so much popularity is hard to get on your show for a hot second.

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However, it just so happens that one of the characters, Milo Ventimiglia, starred as Rocky’s son in the movie Rocky Balboa. Because of their history working together, producers know they would have a better shot at getting Stallone on the show if Milo called and asked him to do it. They were right.

Stallone Was Set on Using Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” As the Rocky Theme Song

The producers, directors, and Stallone spent a lot of time trying to decide on which song would be the perfect theme song for Rocky. Stallone was set on using the famous song “Another One Bites the Dust,” by Queen.


However, he was met with disapproval. The directors did not feel that the song was as motivational as they wanted it to be. At first, the song they agreed on was “You’re the Best.” However, in a last minute change of heart, the song “Eye of the Tiger” was decided on.