Rocky: Making the Classic Sports Picture

With “Rocky Balboa,” MGM Pictures presents writer/director/star Sylvester Stallones return to the character that launched his career and became a cultural icon around the world. The Revolution Pictures and Chartoff/Winkler Production is the final chapter in the 30-year saga that began in 1976 with Rocky, a film that, like its title character, came out of nowhere to make history–breaking box office records.

Like its predecessor, Rocky Balboa is written and stars Stallone, who also directs and produces. Reprising their roles from the original are Burt Young as Paulie, Rockys conflicted lifelong friend and brother-in-law, who has appeared in all 6 Rocky films; and Pedro Lovell as Spider, a one-time opponent who now lingers at Rockys restaurant because he has no where else to go.

Produced by Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, Rocky was released by MGM in 1976 and became an international box office phenomenon and all-time movie classic. A low-budget sleeper that came out to nowhere to flatten the big-budget competition at awards time, it was nominated for an astounding 10 Academy Awards, winning the coveted Best Picture Oscar, ahead of such legendary films as Taxi Driver and Network, as well as Academy Awards for director John G. Avildsen and editors Richard Halsey and Scott Conrad.

Stallone, who had stuck to his guns and insisted that if the picture got produced it would be with him in the title role, was nominated for two Oscars Best Actor and Best Screenplay. The film also starred Talia Shire as Adrian; Burt Young as her brother and Rockys friend Paulie; plus Carl Weathers as the reigning champ Apollo Creed; and Burgess Meredith as Rockys grizzled trainer Mickey. Shire, Young and Meredith were nominated for acting Oscars, with the Academy also recognizing the films sound and the Best Original Song slot, for the memorable Gonna Fly Now.

Through five sequels, in theatrical revivals and home entertainment releases, the film has continued to attract new generations of fans. Its humbling to see how Rocky has affected so many people over the years, Stallone says. I think that the people who have been so supportive and loyal will be happy with the final chapter in Rocky Balboas life because I think we bring the character to a final and noble conclusion.