Rocky is a 1976 American drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. It is the first installment in the Rocky franchise. It also stars Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, and Burgess Meredith. In the film, Rocky Balboa (Stallone), an uneducated, small-time club fighter and debt collector gets an unlikely shot at the world heavyweight championship held by Apollo Creed (Weathers).
Rocky entered development in March 1975, after Stallone wrote the screenplay in three days. It entered a complicated production process after Stallone refused to allow the film to be made without him in the lead role; United Artists eventually agreed to cast Stallone after he rejected a six figure deal for the film rights. Principal photography began in January 1976, with filming primarily held in Philadelphia; several locations featured in the film, such as the Rocky Steps, are now considered cultural landmarks. With an estimated production budget of under $1 million, Rocky popularized the rags to riches and American Dream themes of sports dramas which preceded the film.
Rocky was premiered in New York City on November 21, 1976, and was theatrically released in the United States by United Artists on December 3. The film received critical acclaim; among other accolades, it received ten Academy Award nominations and won three, including Best Picture. Stallone's performance was also widely praised, and began his rise as a major film star. A sleeper hit, it grossed $225 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of 1976. Considered one of the greatest sports films ever made, Rocky was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 2006 for being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant". The sequel, Rocky II, was released in 1979.
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