One of the greatest underdog stories of all time, Rocky first hit cinema screens in 1976 and it became an instant classic. Below are 12 things you might not have realised about this brilliant film…

1. Stallone Wrote The Film In Under Four Days

Sylvester Stallone wrote the script for Rocky in just three and a half days, shortly after watching the Boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner. Wepner lost but he lasted far longer than anyone expected, providing inspiration for Stallone’s classic underdog story.


2. The Film Studio Didn’t Want Stallone In The Lead Role

Film studio United Artists initially saw Rocky as a project for an already famous star such as Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds or James Caan. However, Stallone issued them with an ultimatum, and has more recently disclosed that he would never have forgiven himself if the film become a success with somebody else in the lead role.


3. A Real Life Boxer Almost Played Apollo Creed

Real life boxer Ken Norton was initially the favourite to play the role of Apollo Creed, but he decided to turn it down, and the part was of course eventually given to Carl Weathers.


4. It Was Made On A Meagre Budget

Believe it or not, Rocky was made on a budget of just over $1 million. It was a massive hit and went on to earn $225 million in worldwide box office receipts, even becoming the highest grossing film of 1976.


5. Many Of Stallone’s Family Have Cameo Roles

A number of Sylvester Stallone’s family members have small parts in the film. His dad is the person ringing the bell to signal the start and end of a round, his brother Frank plays a street singer, and his first wife Sasha plays a photographer.


6. Apollo Creed’s Bodyguard Is Played By A Future Klingon

Actor Michael Dorn, who would later play the Klingon Worf in ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ and ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’, appears in the film in his acting debut, playing Apollo Creed’s bodyguard.


7. It Won The Academy Award For Best Picture

Did you realise that Rocky won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1976? Yes, it beat other nominees All the President’s Men, Bound for Glory, Network and the brilliant Taxi Driver into submission, and it also picked up Oscars for Best Director and Best Film Editing.


8. It WASN’T Voted The Greatest Sports Film Of All Time

You may be surprised to learn that, in a 2008 vote by the American Film Institute, Rocky was only voted the second greatest sports film of all time. Can you guess which film was in the number one spot? It was 1980’s Raging Bull, which was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Robert De Niro.


9. The Steps Sequence Has Gone Down In Legend

The scene of Rocky running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art has become something of a legend unto itself, with the steps themselves now often being called ‘the Rocky Steps.’


10. There Have Been Seven Sequels

Off the top of your head, how many sequels does Rocky have? It’s seven: Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990), Rocky Balboa (2006), Creed (2015) and Creed II (2018). Stallone plays Rocky in every single film, and not only that but he wrote the first five and directed four.


11. There’s A Rocky Musical

Did you know there is a musical based on the film? Called simply ‘Rocky the Musical’, it premiered in Hamburg, Germany in 2012.


12. You Can Still Purchase Rocky Merchandise

Despite the fact that the film was released over 40 years ago, Rocky merchandise is still commonplace, especially in Philadelphia!