Home Movies ‘Rocky II’ Had Significant Change In Script Due To Real-Life Event

‘Rocky II’ Had Significant Change In Script Due To Real-Life Event

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‘Rocky II’ Had Significant Change In Script Due To Real-Life Event

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Rocky II, the quality sequel to the 1976 knockout hit Rocky, had what ended up being a slight improvement in its script that happened by complete accident, literally.

Sylvester Stallone’s skyrocket to fame is thanks to the original Rocky film, but the sequel became memorable in its own right, and its success paved the way for Rocky to become a major film franchise that is still ongoing in the form of Creed.

Shortly before filming started on Rocky II, however, Stallone suffered an injury that would normally force such a physically challenging film to be postponed, but he was intent on not delaying production and decided to push through, adding an element to the script that effectively hid his real-life injury.

The unplanned addition to the story proved effective and Rocky II was not only another smash hit but CBS later paid $23 million just to air the film multiple times on their network.

When Stallone sat down with former rival and current friend Arnold Schwarzenegger for an interview with Harvey Levin of TMZ for the special Arnold & Sly, he explained the anccident and what he was forced to change.

Stallone mentioned that he suffered an injury to his right shoulder while lifting weights and it was only a few weeks before filming was supposed to start. He told Levin, “I tore my pec off the bone. I could hear it go ‘rip.’”

He immediately began to worry, saying, “I feel like my career is over. I’m supposed to start Rocky II, direct it and everything, in a month and a half.”

Stallone decided to not disrupt the filming schedule by getting creative. “I can’t use this arm so I’ll change it and he’ll fight right-handed,” Stallone explained, “I switched arms. So, in Rocky II it was one of the key things.”

The action star embraced the injury, and used the idea of having Balboa change to being a right-handed fighter not just as a minor element, but rather as major part of the fighter’s strategy. In reality, a left-handed fighter has a slight advantage over a right-hander since lefties are less common. Thus, a right-hander changing to southpaw — boxing terminology for a left-hander — would be more effective but the idea in the film is that Apollo Creed is obviously training to face a southpaw.

There is a bit of irony also because Stallone injured his right shoulder. However, in boxing, left-handers lead with their right hand and vice versa. Thus, a right-hander leads with his left and uses his right as his stronger punch. Stallone had a tendency to use his lead hand also has his strongest punch, which is not completely unusual for boxers. Thus, in the film, his most frequent punch is his lead left but his most powerful punch is also his left. This is why hurting his right shoulder and saying he switched to be a right-hander actually makes sense.

In the film, the final round of the Balboa-Creed rematch is a busy one. Creed, played by Carl Weathers, needs to just survive to retain his title while Balboa needs a knockout. In the round, Balboa lands all 43 of the punches he’s shown throwing, and 33 of those 43 are lefts, including all of the final 11 punches. It’s almost obvious that he has an injury to his right arm/shoulder, but the film wisely makes you believe it’s all due to strategy.

Stallone added, about his choice to not postpone production because of his injury, “We don’t stop. We don’t quit,” referring to him and Schwarzenegger’s rivalry and success which was fueled by trying to one-up each other throughout their respective careers.

Arnold and Sly: Rivals, Friends, Icons is currently streaming on Hulu.


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