Few cinematic heroes truly capture the essence of being an underdog like Rocky. Want proof? In the first Rocky film, the titular hero doesn't even win. He secures a moral victory by hanging on against a much stronger opponent, and it's hard not to root for the Italian Stallion. He never had a real chance of knocking Apollo Creed out cold, but audiences identified with Rocky, and Hollywood will undoubtedly continue to make Rocky films long after Sylvester Stallone's retirement.
These behind-the-scenes secrets are as engaging as the franchise itself. Just like Rocky, Stallone and his script were major underdogs. But thanks to a lot of work, and a lot of punching, Stallone was able to rise above and make his dream film.
Nowadays, people tend to see Sylvester Stallone as one of the most successful actors of all time. He's been the face of massively successful franchises like Rocky and Rambo and continues to beat the hell out of people who could be his grandchildren in the wildly entertaining Expendables films.
But that's where he is now. In 1975, Stallone had $106 sitting in his bank account. Stallone basically was Rocky, but instead of punching hanging meat into submission, he beat his typewriter until it spit out an Oscar-nominated script.
With only $106 in the bank, Stallone was looking to profit off his script immediately. He wrote the Rocky script in 3.5 days, which explains why the rewrites for the film were so extensive.
Stallone estimates the studio only kept about 10% of what he originally wrote. The original script would be unrecognizable to even the most passionate Rocky fans because there were monumental changes between the first draft and what we see on screen. Still, 10% was enough to get Stallone where he is today.
When Sylvester Stallone wrote the original script for Rocky, he wanted certain characters to be more vile and less endearing. Perhaps Stallone wished to depict the problems prevalent in society, rather than prioritizing inspirational qualities. Whatever the case, Stallone's first version of Mickey was a petulant racist.
It's a good thing the studio made Stallone change Mickey into someone more sympathetic because it sure would have undercut Rocky III if Rocky were crying over a dying racist.
There was also a plan in place to make Apollo Creed Jamaican, which would have added an interesting facet to Creed's character.
When editing Rocky III, Sylvester Stallone wanted to use Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" during the intro. It had the feel Stallone wanted, and he liked how the lyrics fit with Rocky's character development. Unfortunately, Queen refused to let him use the song.
So, scrambling, Stallone reached out to the band Survivor and asked them to write something similar to "Another One Bites the Dust." The lead guitarist plugged in a little amp, watched a snippet of the film, and tried to put chord hits in time with the punches in the scene. Then, he heard one of the characters say, "Hey, Rocky, you're losing the eye of the tiger," and like that, "Eye of the Tiger" was born.