“Getting strong now…. Won’t be long now… Getting strong noooow!”
The lyrics, the music, the story – Rocky is the classic American tale and it gives me chills every time I see that classic jog through Philadelphia before his big fight with Apollo Creed.
For those of you unaware (or born after 1992), Rocky is a story of a proud, if a bit dimwitted, lower-class Italian American boxer who, through hard work, determination and a lot of sweat overcomes the longest odds to be the greatest fighter of our time.
Written by Sylvester Stallone and filmed entirely in Philadelphia, and primarily on the rough South Side, the film won three Academy Awards including best picture in 1976 and spawned five sequels (only one of which was even really watchable). But more importantly, it became a REASON to visit Philadelphia. (If you don’t believe me, check out this filming locations page I found LINK – .)
The famous scene of Rocky running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art became one of the top three tourist draws in the city behind the cheese steak and The Liberty Bell, and with good reason. A city official once said that Rocky Balboa had done more for the city’s image than “anyone since Ben Franklin.”
Interestingly enough when, in 1982, a statue of The Italian Stallion, commissioned by Stallone for Rocky III, was placed at the top of the Rocky Steps, there were serious disagreements about where the statue should end up – since the Art Museum stated that the statue was “definitely not art.”
Initially placed in front of the museum, it was moved to the sidewalk outside the Philadelphia Spectrum Arena. Finally in 2006, it was permanently moved to a spot next to the steps. A compromise everyone can live with.
I dare you to watch the video below and NOT want to at least take a quick jog up the stairs yourself.