Sylvester Stallone revealed the devastating injury that almost ended Rocky

Cat3 / Culture

Photo by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr,

The Rocky film franchise turned Sylvester Stallone into one of the biggest box office draws in Hollywood history.

But the franchise almost went off the rails.

And Sylvester Stallone revealed the devastating injury that almost ended Rocky.

Rocky II almost derailed by Stallone injury

Movies in the 1980s were defined by a rivalry between Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The two competed over who could flex the biggest biceps, wield the biggest guns, and take in the biggest box office totals as they redefined the action movie genre.

When Stallone was filming 1979’s Rocky II, the rivalry with Schwarzenegger was in its infancy.

And the budding competition almost cost him his golden goose role.

Stallone explained in a sit-down interview with Schwarzenegger and TMZ’s Harvey Levin that a weight training mishap almost forced him out of Rocky II.

Stallone explained that Schwarzenegger’s trainer Franco Columbu, challenged him to a bench press contest where he tore his pectoral muscle clear off the bone.

“He goes let’s have a competition with bench press,” Stallone began. “So I go down and it’s maybe only 200, and I’m just warming up, I hear ‘pow’, I go ‘aaah’ and I fall on the floor and I’m going ‘aah,’ and then Franco goes’ let me see’, and he jams his fingers.”

“I had torn my pec off the bone, I mean bad, I could hear it go rip, and he’s jamming his fingers in, and I think I’m gonna black out,” Stallone added.

He detailed how the movie was in the middle of production and the injury looked like it was going to prevent him from filming the fight scenes where his character Rocky was set to defeat Apollo Creed for the heavyweight championship.

“So I go home, and I feel like my career is over, I’m supposed to start Rocky II, directed everything, in a month and a half and I’m like you know, I gotta have this thing sewn up,” Stallone continued.

A solution presents itself

Stallone recounted how the answer to the problem was to have Rocky fight right-handed.

“I can’t use this arm so I’ll change it in Rocky, he’ll fight right-handed,” Stallone stated.

“But I said I’m not stopping this movie just for this, and this is a bad injury. So I switched arms doing Rocky it was one of the key things,” Stallone concluded.

Over the course of nine films the Rocky franchise grossed over $948,000,000 as Stallone’s Rocky became synonymous with every down-on-their-luck underdog who fights against all odds to achieve the American dream.

Rocky II allowed for that success as the follow-up to 1976’s Rocky which grossed $225 million against a budget of $860,000 and won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director –all of that was made possible by showing the massive appetite among the public for continuing Rocky’s story.

But the franchise may have just been a one-hit wonder if Stallone didn’t think quickly to save the film following his injury.

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