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Underdog prizefighter Rocky wowed the movie world 40 years ago

November 21, 2016 - MOVIES

Actor Sylvester Stallone introduced the world to Rocky in 1976. The story of the down-on-his-luck boxer from Philadelphia took three Academy Awards the following year and spawned six sequels over the next four decades, including the Oscar-nominated Creed (2015).

The original Rocky movie was in the running for no less than 10 Academy Awards at the 1977 ceremony. It won three, including Best Movie and Best Director. Stallone lost out on that occasion to Peter Finch, who took the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Network. In February 2016, Stallone was beaten again when Britain's Mark Rylance, in Bridge of Spies, took the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

The 1976 film told the story of Rocky Balboa, a small-time fighter who works as a debt collector for a loan shark before getting a shot at the world heavyweight championship. In Creed, Adonis Johnson - played by Michael B. Jordan - is the son of boxing champion Apollo Creed, from the Rocky debut. Adonis seeks out Balboa, with Stallone reprising the role, and asks the retired champ to be his trainer.

Rocky was the highest-grossing film of 1976 in the U.S. and went on to see box office takings worldwide of U.S.$225 million. Stallone wrote and starred in the sequels Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990) and Rocky Balboa (2006), before Creed was released last year.

Stallone repeated the action-hero success story with the Rambo franchise, playing a troubled ex-Green Beret and Vietnam War veteran in First Blood (1982), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rambo III (1988) and Rambo (2008).

Rocky premiere (History.com 21 Nov 2015)

Rocky awards (IMDb)

Creed, the movie

Date written/update: 2015-12-17