Lace up your boxing gloves and throw on some eye-black grease, because it’s time to take a look at the world of Rocky Balboa. Sylvester Stallone’s boxing film is one of the most iconic in Hollywood history, and you could watch it dozens of times without knowing these facts about the movie. Some are about the movie itself and some are about what went on behind the scenes. Either way, they help bring you into this amazing story of an underdog who made it big.

Rocky Balboa
Rocky Balboa

1. Sylvester Stallone’s son Sage played the role of Robert Balboa in Rocky V, the first of three film appearances for the actor.

Sage Stallone, born in 1976, was the son of Sylvester Stallone. He first appeared as Robert Balboa in Rocky V (1990), then played an unnamed boxer in Rocky Balboa (2006) and closed out his acting career with one final appearance as Tommy Ryan in The Expendables (2010).

2. Stallone became a Tiger Beat pinup idol after his appearance in the film No Place to Hide in 1969.

  • Stallone became a Tiger Beat pinup idol after his appearance in the film No Place to Hide in 1969.

Stallone was just a teenager when he appeared in No Place to Hide as Tony Zane, a musician (he also had an album out at the time). His then-girlfriend, Sasha Czack, played his girlfriend Amy Morton and starred in the film with him. Though they broke up before filming ended, they didn’t leave on bad terms—they actually remained friends afterward!

3. As a young actor, Stallone had a number of small film roles until he scored big with The Lords of Flatbush and received his big break starring in Rocky.

Stallone’s first major role was in the 1969 film No Place to Hide as a teenager who gets caught up in an adult criminal world. The next year, he appeared on the soap opera Love of Life briefly before landing a role in Lenny (1970). His big break came in 1976 with the release of Rocky, which won him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and became one of his most iconic films. He went on to have great success over the next decade starring in several more action films including Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Cobra (1986) and Cobra II (1987).

4. Stallone had a fight with Apollo Creed actor Carl Weathers on the set of Rocky when Weathers came on too strong and gave Stallone some pointers on how to act.

You know that scene where Rocky, Apollo Creed and his entourage are eating at an Italian restaurant? Well, Stallone was on the brink of being fired for looking bad in that scene.

At first, Carl Weathers had to help Stallone by giving him pointers on how to act. That’s when things got heated between them. Stallone felt intimidated by Weathers’ experience and wanted to do things his way instead of taking advice from someone who knew what they were doing (and was also a veteran).

5. Chuck Wepner was a real life boxer who was nicknamed “The Bayonne Bleeder” and served as inspiration for the Rocky character after going 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali in 1975, which inspired Stallone’s original script for Rocky.

  • Chuck Wepner was a real life boxer who was nicknamed “The Bayonne Bleeder” and served as inspiration for the Rocky character after going 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali in 1975, which inspired Stallone’s original script for Rocky.

Wepner was a long time boxing fan before becoming a fighter himself. When he got his shot at fighting Ali in 1975, he made it count by taking him to 15 rounds and even knocking him down once during their match. Stallone saw this fight on TV and thought it would be interesting if an underdog like Wepner could take on someone like Ali and win, so that’s how he came up with the idea for his script about Rocky Balboa vs Apollo Creed (who eventually became played by Carl Weathers).

6. When talking with Rocky co-star Burt Young — whose character portrayed Paulie Pennino — the two would often talk about their mothers, who were both Italian-American women from New York City who ran restaurants together in Manhattan at one point and often argued over food menu items and prices before making up, which not only contributed to their real life friendship but also that of their characters’ relationship in the film as well.

But talking with Young was an even more special treat for Stallone.

Young’s mother was a real life Italian-American woman from New York City who ran restaurants together in Manhattan at one point. She would often argue with Stallone’s mother over food menu items and prices before making up, which not only contributed to their real life friendship but also that of their characters’ relationship in the film as well.

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