Rocky Turns 40 Today
Forty years ago today, audiences were introduced for the first time to Rocky Balboa, an underdog fighter from Philadelphia who became the world wide movie phenomena. On Nov. 21, 1976, movie goers met Rocky Balboa, the southpaw boxer from south Philadelphia. Four decades later, Sylvester Stallone’s lovable character resonates with fans drawn to his underdog tale of determination, and the will to never quit.
Written by Stallone in three days, made on a budget of only $1-million and shot in 28 days, with a largely unknown cast, including Stallone had little expectation behind it. The public gravitated towards the underdog story and Rocky went from small budget flick to a timeless classic every boxing fan should watch. The film was the highest-grossing of 1976, earning $117-million at the North American box office and another $107-million overseas. Rocky received 10 Oscar nominations in nine categories at the Academy Awards, winning three, best picture, best director (John G. Avildsen) and best film editing. Stallone, Burgess and Shire were all nominated in acting categories, and Stallone was nominated for his screenplay. The score for Rocky, which was also nominated for an Oscar, was penned by Bill Conti.
Rocky is preserved in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or esthetically significant.” It was also ranked one of the greatest sports films ever made and is the second-best film about boxing behind Raging Bull, according to the American Film Institute.