On November 21, 1976, the classic story of a small-time club fighter making his way to the world heavyweight championship, Rocky, debuted in theaters. Test your knowledge of the original film in the seven-part series with these trivia questions...
How Long Did it Take Sylvester Stallone to Write the First Draft of the Rocky Screenplay? Stallone had the idea for the script after seeing Muhammad Ali fight, but it took him nearly a year to start the writing process. Once he did, however, things moved pretty quickly. With just $106 in the bank, Stallone wrote Rocky in just three days on a yellow legal pad. The original version of the script was quite different than what made it to the big screen. For example, the original version had Stallone throwing the fight against Apollo Creed and then taking his winnings to open a pet store with Adrian.
How Much Did United Artists Pay Stallone for the Script? United Artists — the production company behind classics like Annie Hall and Rain Man — offered Stallone up to $340,000 for the script under the condition he would not star in the film. The studio liked the script and saw it as a great way to promote a young star like Burt Reynolds or James Caan. Stallone, however, refused. Later, he would say that he would never have forgiven himself if the film had gone on to be a success without him in the lead role. United Artists eventually compromised when the budget was lowered to $1 million, but Stallone received only $20,000 for the script and the SAG minimum salary of $350 per week for acting in the film.
How Did the Low Budget Impact the Movie? In addition to the film's star earning such a small salary, there were a number of compromises made to the original script in order to accommodate the smaller budget. One of the most famous is Rocky's first date with Adrian. In the film, Rocky convinces a janitor to let the couple skate the rink after hours. However, the original script had the first date taking place during the day when the rink was open to the public. When they realized they didn't have the money to pay the hundreds of extras they'd need, Stallone rewrote the scene to what you now see in the film.
Who Were Some Famous Fans of the Original Rocky Film? Charlie Chaplin, Elvis Presley, and Frank Capra all wrote to Stallone following the release of Rocky to tell him how much they enjoyed the film. Chaplin said Rocky Balboa reminded him of a character he had played and invited Stallone to visit him in Switzerland. Elvis asked Stallone to join him for a screening of the film in Memphis. Stallone, regrettably, turned down both invitations. Both stars passed away soon-after: both Chaplin and Presley died in 1977, a year after the film was released.