The ultimate underdog “Rocky” pulled off the upset against sports movie heavyweights “Hoosiers” and “Raging Bull.” Sylvester Stallone got the inspiration for the screenplay after watching the heavyweight title fight between Bayonne’s Chuck Wepner and reigning champ Muhammad Ali, and insisted he play the lead. Good call.
Stallone, who trained with Jimmy Gambina every day for about five months before shooting, became a star, and the film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, ranked 57th on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years … 100 Movies — 10th Anniversary Edition.
Stallone got sued by Wepner for a share of the profits and settled in 2006. For the movie that gave us the most-used workout music in history — “Gonna Fly Now” — the line “Yo, Adrian!” and five sequels, it’s the least he could do.