His Whole Life Was a Million to One Shot.
In 1975, virtually unknown in Hollywood, Sylvester Stallone wrote a script in three days after attending a boxing match between the small-time underdog Chuck Wepner and the great Muhammad Ali. Inspired by the unique fight, Stallone created one of American film’s most beloved characters – Rocky Balboa.
Before Rocky, boxing pictures, an American staple, were dead. Films like City for Conquest with James Cagney, the original Body and Soul with John Garfield, Golden Boy withWilliam Holden, and Jailhouse Rock with Elvis Presley were gathering dust while contemporary movie audiences were cheering to pictures like The Exorcist, Jaws, The Godfatherand One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
With Rocky came a nostalgic jolt back to the feel-good pictures of yesteryear. Rocky was an immediate sensation, ultimately going on to garner Academy Award nominations in nine different categories, and becoming a champ in three, including Best Picture of 1976.