Sylvester Stallone has starred in multiple successful projects throughout his career but none of them have surpassed the cultural impact and significance of the Rocky series. It immortalised him within the frameworks of popular culture and spawned an entire franchise which is watched by younger generations of fans to this day.
One of the great American classics, Rocky brought an incredibly effective approach to the sports drama genre which ensured that audiences were emotionally invested in the titular character portrayed by Stallone. An unprecedented commercial success, the film series became a definitive part of Stallone’s extensive legacy.
In an interview, Stallone explained just how important the character was to his own journey: “It’s like my brother. It’s the only voice that I can say what I want without being ridiculed, or being silly, or being precious or sentimental, because he is that way. Rocky can’t keep quiet. He just talks and talks and spills his guts.”
While Rocky is still popular and is regularly cited as one of the best sports films ever made, it is definitely a cultural artefact that belongs to another period. Stallone believes that a film like Rocky would never be made today, despite reports about a new Rocky project which has been discussed by the creators but it hasn’t seen the light of day yet.
Talking about the uniqueness of Rocky, Stallone added: “As a writer, if you do that quite often, it looks as though you’re just lost in the world of exposition. But he’s actually saying something, and because of the way he speaks and his naiveté and gentle quality, you listen. Rocky can say things that my other characters can never say.”
In many ways, Stallone owes his career to the success of the first Rocky film but his favourite one actually came much later. The actor claimed that the 2006 film Rocky Balboa was actually his favourite Rocky movie of all time because it was the most difficult production among the instalments since nobody wanted to touch it.
Commenting on his special connection to the later entry in the franchise, he revealed: “The first one is my favourite but emotionally the last one, Rocky Balboa. That was the hardest one to get done. No one believed in it, it was such a long shot. The fact that it worked out is incredible so. so I’m incredibly proud of that.”