The Rocky franchise is one of the most iconic film series of all time and has fans spanning multiple generations. The original movie was a passion project for Sylvester Stallone, who fought to get his vision made and to star in it. Some may not be aware, but the sports flick originally had a more “depressing” ending and, now, one of the producers is shedding some light on what exactly it would’ve detailed.
Producer Irwin Winkler spoke about Rocky in celebration of its 45th anniversary. The story of how the first movie was made is fascinating, and Winkler explained that the original ending was far different from the empowering one audiences know. The scene apparently would’ve featured a more somber moment between the titular boxer and his lover, Adrian. On why things changed, Winkler said to Yahoo! Entertainment:
This is definitely a sharp departure from the ending fans know and love, which shows Adrian embracing Rocky in the ring after losing his fight with Apollo Creed. As the producer explains, it was much more depressing and contemplative. Although he’s right in saying that it would’ve matched up with the societal vibe of the ’70s, it may have indeed undercut the explosive energy the film had already presented. In the same interview, Irvin Winkler went on to explain how and his collaborators went about changing things up, saying:
Test screenings can definitely have a massive effect on a film, though this may arguably be one of the cases in which it turned out for the better. Most would agree that the ending is one of the most iconic in cinematic history. I think many of us are likely gratefully that the production team was able to get everything reshot.
Today, Sylvester Stallone is more than keeping the franchise’s legacy alive and just did so with the release of his Rocky IV DIrector’s Cut, which made a ton of money upon hitting theaters. This prompted Stallone to thank fans , who were clearly excited to be able to see the classic film in all of its updated 4K glory The cut was a true labor of love, and it’s caused Stallone to become reflective. He recently posted an emotional video that looks back on his career, and it really puts into perspective his position as one of cinema’s greatest stars.
Stallone has been working on Expendables 4 and has also begun work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. And of course, fans will also surely be waiting to see if he has plans for any more installments in the Rocky franchise. While you wait for any movement on that end, you can stream the original movie (complete with its iconic ending) on HBO Max now.