Upon its release, Rocky became one of the most successful movies of all time and spawned several sequels. It turned Sylvester Stallone into a household name and showed us that boxing movies could be full of heart and emotion as well as great fights. These are movies that live long in our hearts and have brought us joy, and emotion. And, did you know, there are many areas of the movie series that were unscripted.
The Rocky films were made on small budgets, particularly at the start, so the cast and crew had to spend a lot of time improvising. While we know that much of what occurred in Rocky mirrored Stallone’s own life, even the star wasn’t shy about a bit of improv now and again. There have been some wonderful moments over the course of the movies that were entirely unscripted, and these are some of the best!
Rocky’s monologue was ad-libbed
One of the best scenes in the original movie comes when Mickey pays Rocky a visit and begs to be allowed to train him for his fight against Apollo. Angered at years of neglect, the Italian Stallion unleashes, giving Mickey a piece of his mind, in a lengthy tirade. Well, you might not be aware of it, but this scene was not actually scripted, and Stallone made it up on the spur of the moment. In fact, during the rant he yells “This whole place stinks!” and Stallone was talking about the actual room they were shooting in – the apartment had a bad smell during the shoot.
The fight scenes
Of course, it’s crucial to make sure the choreography of fight scenes is perfect whenever you’re filming a boxing movie, and the Rocky films are no exception. However, there is a part during the fight scene at the climax of Rocky II, where there are some unscripted moment. Stallone and Carl Weathers (who played Apollo) were angry and frustrated over grueling shoots and mistakes that had been made. There were a couple of occasions when they broke character and really started going for each other. Stallone decided that the scenes should be left in because they made it more intense and authentic.
Dolph Lundgren not pulling punches
During the filming of Rocky IV, there were several unscripted moments involving fights between Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago and Rocky and Apollo. On one occasion the scripted fight wasn’t looking authentic enough, so Stallone suggested he and Lundgren hit each other for real in the chest. Lundgren hit him so hard that it caused Stallone’s heart to swell, and he wound up in the hospital! There was another occasion in which Lundgren threw Carl Weathers across the ring during a fight scene, which upset Weathers and he stormed off the set.
The Rocky movies have been full of iconic and memorable moments, and there is a load of amazingly unforgettable scenes in the films. We bet you didn’t know that the scenes we mentioned above were actually ad-libbed, and we think Stallone is crazy for actually allowing himself to get hit like that! But, it seems like it really did lend an air of authenticity to things, and made the scenes and movies seem much more authentic as a result.