More Culture:

November 28, 2018

Sylvester Stallone retires Rocky Balboa

'Rocky will never die because he lives on in you'

Entertainment Movies
Carroll - Rocky Statue PMA Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Rocky statue near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, April 10, 2017.

Welp, it looks like we’ve reached the end of the road for Rocky Balboa.

On Wednesday morning, Sylvester Stallone announced on Instagram that he plans to bid the character, who literally changed the Philadelphia landscape, adieu. He writes:

RELATED LINKS: Jon Stewart takes over 'The Late Show', interviews Stephen Colbert | The first trailer for 'Creed II' is finally here. Can you spot all the Philly locations? | Brand new 'Creed 2' trailer shows Adonis training to take on Viktor Drago

“I just want to thank everyone around the whole wide world for taking the Rocky family into their hearts for over 40 years. It’s been my ultimate privilege to have been able to create and play this meaningful character. Though it breaks my heart, sadly all things must pass... and end. I love you kind and generous people, and the most wonderful thing of all is that ROCKY will never die because he lives on in you….”


The Rocky statue atop the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1990.

While it is the end for Rocky, it may not be the end for the Rocky universe. In the video posted he gives a heartfelt speech with Michael B. Jordan (Adonis Creed, "Creed II") next to him.

He notes, “And I couldn't be happier as I step back, because my story has been told. There's a whole new world that's going to be opening up with the audience, with this generation." He then looks to Jordan, "Now you have to carry the mantle." 

Rocky Balboa has become a cultural icon of Philadelphia. “Rocky,” which follows a Philadelphian boxer as he strives to become the next champion, became an international success in 1976, making over $225 million at the box office. It won three Oscars at the 49th Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Film Editing, and it was nominated in nine categories overall. The film went on to make four sequels from 1979 to 1990.  


Sylvester Stallone and former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo at Philadelphia City Hall, Nov. 19, 1976, days before the Dec. 21.Philadelphia opening of the original Rocky movie.

The film and character brought Philadelphia, struggling with a shrinking population and overshadowed by New York City in the late 1970s, to life, giving the city a theme song, statute and attitude that would help define it across the globe. 

New York may have the Statute of Liberty; Los Angeles the Hollywood sign. But Philly had Rocky.  You can't visit the Art Museum without running -- or seeing someone else run-- up the famous steps or take a selfie with the Rocky statue, which was erected in 1980 for the film "Rocky III." 

After years of being dormant, the franchise came back in 2006 with "Rocky Balboa" and "Creed" in 2015. Most recently, and what looks like to be the last film to include the Rocky character, "Creed II" was released on Nov. 21.

Follow Virginia & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @vastreva | @thePhillyVoice
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice
Add Virginia's RSS feed to your feed reader
Have a news tip? Let us know.