Rocky III (1982)

PG | 99 mins | Drama | 28 May 1982

Full page view
HISTORY

       Plans for Rocky III were announced in the 19 Mar 1979 DV, before post production was completed on Rocky II (1979, see entry). Although a HR news item did not officially announce the return of composer Bill Conti until 25 Mar 1981, a 3 Apr 1979 HR item reported that he began scoring Rocky III while finishing the music for Rocky II.
       Over one year later, the 22 Apr 1980 HR stated that Stallone was writing Rocky III, although principal photography was not expected to begin for another two years. The 7 Jul 1980 DV claimed that producer Irwin Wrinkler remained unsure about future production plans, as Stallone had not yet devised a suitable script idea. According to a 14 Jun 1982 Time magazine article, Stallone originally intended the film’s final boxing match to take place in the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, against a Russian opponent, but rewrote the story to address certain themes that related to his own life experiences dealing with fame since the Rocky films. A 5 Nov 1980 DV article listed a projected budget between $10-$12 million; however, the 21 Jul 1980, LAHExam announced that Stallone would singularly receive a $10 million upfront salary to write, direct, and star in the sequel. Time reported that since production of Rocky II, Stallone worked with a nutritionist and practiced an extensive fitness regimen in order to lose thirty-eight pounds and lower his body fat percentage to only 4.5% The fight choreography of the final ... More Less

       Plans for Rocky III were announced in the 19 Mar 1979 DV, before post production was completed on Rocky II (1979, see entry). Although a HR news item did not officially announce the return of composer Bill Conti until 25 Mar 1981, a 3 Apr 1979 HR item reported that he began scoring Rocky III while finishing the music for Rocky II.
       Over one year later, the 22 Apr 1980 HR stated that Stallone was writing Rocky III, although principal photography was not expected to begin for another two years. The 7 Jul 1980 DV claimed that producer Irwin Wrinkler remained unsure about future production plans, as Stallone had not yet devised a suitable script idea. According to a 14 Jun 1982 Time magazine article, Stallone originally intended the film’s final boxing match to take place in the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, against a Russian opponent, but rewrote the story to address certain themes that related to his own life experiences dealing with fame since the Rocky films. A 5 Nov 1980 DV article listed a projected budget between $10-$12 million; however, the 21 Jul 1980, LAHExam announced that Stallone would singularly receive a $10 million upfront salary to write, direct, and star in the sequel. Time reported that since production of Rocky II, Stallone worked with a nutritionist and practiced an extensive fitness regimen in order to lose thirty-eight pounds and lower his body fat percentage to only 4.5% The fight choreography of the final nine-and-a-half minute match comprised fourteen pages of the script, and included 130 punches. A 22 Aug 1980 Var item reported that Stallone scouted locations for the film during a trip to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, NV, and a 17 Dec 1980 Var item suggested Stallone was also interested in New Zealand as a prospective location; however, neither location was used during production.
       According to Time, Stallone believed “it would be easier to teach a boxer how to act than an actor to box,” and auditioned heavyweight champion Earnie Shavers, who proved to be too aggressive with Stallone in the ring. The 10 Oct 1980 HR stated that Stallone offered boxing champion Larry Holmes, who frequented his personal gym in Culver City, CA, the role of his trainer. On 27 Oct 1980, HR indicated that the filmmaker also offered a role to Muhammad Ali, although an undated United Artists (UA) press release in AMPAS library files insisted that rumors of Ali’s casting as “Clubber Lang” had been invented by the media. A 27 Jan 1981 HR news item indicated that Stallone cast his mother, Jacqueline Stallone, as his onscreen mother, but neither the actress nor the character appear in the final film. According an undated Mar 1981 HR item, recording artist Bill Medley was set to appear in the film, but he is not mentioned in onscreen credits.
       The 20 Mar 1981 DV announced that principal photography was scheduled to begin 30 Mar 1981. According to an undated United Artists (UA) press release, Muhammad Ali’s home in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA, was used as the location for “Rocky Balboa’s” mansion. In addition, scenes were filmed in Market Street, Lariat Bar, Sassony Penny Arcade, Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles City Jail, the University of Southern California athletic building, the Huntington Sheraton hotel in Pasadena, CA, and on the beach in Malibu, CA. The final fight sequence was shot in the Olympic Auditorium, Olympic Gym, and Main Street Gym in downtown Los Angeles. As stated in a 2 Apr 1981 DV item, a bomb scare during production at the Los Angeles Sports Arena forced an evacuation of 4,000 cast, crew, and background actors.
       Production notes in AMPAS library stated that production later moved to Philadelphia, PA, where a bronze statue of Stallone’s character, commissioned as a set piece for the film by Colorado sculptor A. Thomas Schomberg, was placed outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. According to an 8 Jul 1981 LAT story, after filming concluded, museum directors denied Stallone’s request to leave the piece in place, and the statue was transported back to California. On 25 May 1982, NYT announced that Philadelphia Mayor William J. Green agreed to allow the statue to be positioned outside the Spectrum arena after thousands of fans signed a petition to have the prop returned to the city.
       Following an undated HR brief announcing the scheduled 11 Jun 1982 domestic release, the 9 Mar 1982 LAHExam stated that Stallone held a private screening of the film for boxer Sugar Ray Leonard on 4 Mar 1982. According to a 15 Apr 1982 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M) press release, the studio planned an advance screening and appearance by Mr. T. as part of a two-day press event for youth-oriented publications during the weekend of 16-17 Apr 1982. On 20 Apr 1982, the Santa Monica Evening Outlook announced that the release date had been moved forward from 11 Jun 1982 to 28 May 1982. In addition, the 4 May 1982 HR stated that Stallone would present a screening on 8 Jun 1982 for the attendees of a championship fight at Caesar’s Palace 11 Jun 1982. A 9 Jun 1982 UA press release noted that the screening took place at the Cinedome Theatre in Las Vegas.
       As reported by the 7 May 1982 DV, the Los Angeles premiere was scheduled to take place 26 May 1982, at the AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater, benefitting the Committee to Cure Cancer Through Immunization for the John Wayne Cancer Clinic at University of California, Los Angeles; the 28 May 1982 DV claimed the event raised $35,000. A 10 May 1982 UA press release announced the gala world premiere benefitting the Police Athletic League was scheduled for 24 May 1982 in Philadelphia, while a 12 May 1982 UA press release noted that the screening would occur at the city’s Sameric Theatre. In addition, Stallone, Talia Shire, and Mr. T. participated in individual promotional tours around the country throughout the month of May, with Stallone visiting ten cities 9-29 May 1982, beginning in Los Angeles.
       According to the 2 Jun 1982 HR, Rocky III grossed $16,015,408 its opening weekend in 939 theaters. The film was expected to expand to 289 additional theaters beginning 11 Jun 1982. On 11 Jun 1982, HR stated that Stallone would earn a percentage of the film’s box office earnings once its gross exceeded $80 million.
       As reported by a 27 Oct 1982 UA press release, Mr. T. was scheduled to attend a 21 Oct 1982 screening at Metropolitan’s California Theatre, which benefitted the Skid Row Development Corporation Downtown Women’s Center.
       The following year, an 8 Aug 1983 DV news story reported that Film Artists Management Enterprises (FAME) filed a $1,116,000 lawsuit against Stallone and his production company, Moonblood Prods., for breach of contract, alleging that FAME was entitled to 10% of Stallone’s earnings received after the $22 million break-even point. The outcome of the lawsuit, however, could not be determined as of the writing of this Note. In 2003, the 1 May DV reported that Mr. T. sued Best Buy Co. for using doctored footage of him from Rocky III in an advertisement without his permission. The outcome of this lawsuit also has not been determined by AFI Catalog.
       A 17 May 1982 UA press release announced the publication of a novelized adaptation of the screenplay, written by Robert E. Hobbs, to be released by Ballantine Books in conjunction with the film’s 28 May 1982 theatrical opening. Following the release of Rocky III, the franchise continued with Rocky IV (1985, see entry), Rocky V, (1990, see entry), and Rocky Balboa (2006, see entry), all of which were written by Stallone and feature principal cast members from the first three Rocky films.
      Opening credits list actor Laurence Tureaud as “Mr. ‘T’” while end credits list him as “Mr. T.” End credits include “Special thanks to: Associated Film Promotions; Harley-Davidson Motor Corp.; North Beach Leather Int., Inc.; Nissan Motor Corp.; California Jewelsmith, Inc.; Lifecycle; Tuf-Wear MFG. Co. Inc.; Nike.” A statement indicates that Survivor, performer of “Eye Of The Tiger,” “Appears thru the Courtesy of Scotti Brothers Records.” In addition, end credits note, “This film is dedicated to the enduring memory of Jane Oliver,” filmmaker Sylvester Stallone’s first personal manager, who died in 1977.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 Mar 1979.
---
Daily Variety
7 Jul 1980.
---
Daily Variety
5 Nov 1980.
---
Daily Variety
20 Mar 1981.
---
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1981.
---
Daily Variety
8 May 1981.
---
Daily Variety
7 May 1982.
---
Daily Variety
28 May 1982.
---
Daily Variety
8 Aug 1983.
---
Daily Variety
1 May 2003.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Apr 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Oct 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Oct 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jan 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
Mar 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 1982.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 May 1982
p. 3, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jun 1982
p. 1, 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 1982.
---
LAHExam
21 Jul 1980
Section A, p. 2.
LAHExam
9 Mar 1982.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Jul 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 May 1982
p. 1, 3.
New York Times
25 May 1982.
---
New York Times
28 May 1982
p. 8.
Santa Monica Evening Outlook
20 Apr 1982.
---
Time
14 Jun 1982
pp. 58-60.
Variety
22 Aug 1980.
---
Variety
17 Dec 1980
p. 36.
Variety
19 May 1982
p. 23.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Robert Chartoff-Irwin Wrinkler Production
Rocky III from MGM/UA Entertainment Co.
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
Addl 2nd asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Panaglide photog
Panaglide focus puller
Still photog
Spec photog
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadperson
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Standby painter
"Rocky" statue sculpted by
COSTUMES
Men`s ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd mixer
Boom op
Utility sd tech
Sd eff editorial staff
Sd eff editorial staff
Sd eff editorial staff
Looping group
Re-rec eng
Re-rec eng
Re-rec eng
Re-rec recordist
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles & opticals by
Title des
Title des
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod exec
Scr supv
Prod office coord
Boxing trainer
Nutritionist trainer
Physical culture expert
Cornerman
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Transportation coord
Transportation co-capt
Prod accountant
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Casting, Philadelphia
Extras casting
Asst auditor
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Wrestling tech adv
Boxing choreog
Stunt double
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
SONGS
"Eye Of The Tiger," composed and produced by Jim Peterik and Frank Sullivan, performed by Survivor
"Pushin," music by Bill Conti, lyrics by Frank Stallone, performed by Frank Stallone
"Take You Back," written and performed by Frank Stallone.
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
28 May 1982
Premiere Information:
Philadelphia world premiere: 24 May 1982
Los Angeles and New York openings: 28 May 1982
Production Date:
began late March 1981 in Los Angeles, Malibu, and Pasadena, CA, and Philadelphia, PA
Copyright Claimant:
United Artists Corporation
Copyright Date:
4 June 1982
Copyright Number:
PA137609
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses/Prints
Lenses & Panaflex Camera by Panavision; Prints by Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
99
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26573
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After claiming the title of World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native, Rocky Balboa rises to celebrity status as “The Italian Stallion,” signing product endorsement deals and defending his title ten times in fights around the globe. Meanwhile, a Chicago, Illinois, boxer named James “Clubber” Lang watches Rocky’s success and rises in the ranks, eventually declaring that he wishes to challenge Rocky as World Champion. One night, Rocky’s best friend and brother-in-law, Paulie Pennino, drunkenly wallows in jealousy over Rocky’s fame, smashing a “Rocky”-themed pinball machine in an arcade. Later, Rocky bails Paulie out of prison as Paulie berates his friend for never sharing in his success. Rocky calls him a “jealous, lazy bum,” and they fight until Paulie asks him for a job. During a charity event, Rocky fights an ostentatious wrestler called “Thunderlips,” who takes the competition seriously and throws Rocky into the crowd. Rocky removes his gloves and climbs back into the ring, strangling Thunderlips until the referees force them to reconcile. At his mansion, Rocky eats breakfast with his young son before attending a ceremony unveiling a statue of his likeness outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Clubber Lang appears in the crowd and challenges Rocky, accusing him of only fighting against weaker opponents that would guarantee him wins. Rocky’s trainer, Mickey Goldmill, refuses to get involved and leaves. When Lang questions Rocky’s masculinity, the champion accepts the challenge. At Rocky’s home, Mickey admits that all of Rocky’s recent opponents were hand-picked to ensure Rocky could defend his world championship title. Refusing to retire knowing this information, Rocky begs Mickey to help him train for one final match, and Mickey agrees. To Mickey’s chagrin, Rocky ... +


After claiming the title of World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native, Rocky Balboa rises to celebrity status as “The Italian Stallion,” signing product endorsement deals and defending his title ten times in fights around the globe. Meanwhile, a Chicago, Illinois, boxer named James “Clubber” Lang watches Rocky’s success and rises in the ranks, eventually declaring that he wishes to challenge Rocky as World Champion. One night, Rocky’s best friend and brother-in-law, Paulie Pennino, drunkenly wallows in jealousy over Rocky’s fame, smashing a “Rocky”-themed pinball machine in an arcade. Later, Rocky bails Paulie out of prison as Paulie berates his friend for never sharing in his success. Rocky calls him a “jealous, lazy bum,” and they fight until Paulie asks him for a job. During a charity event, Rocky fights an ostentatious wrestler called “Thunderlips,” who takes the competition seriously and throws Rocky into the crowd. Rocky removes his gloves and climbs back into the ring, strangling Thunderlips until the referees force them to reconcile. At his mansion, Rocky eats breakfast with his young son before attending a ceremony unveiling a statue of his likeness outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Clubber Lang appears in the crowd and challenges Rocky, accusing him of only fighting against weaker opponents that would guarantee him wins. Rocky’s trainer, Mickey Goldmill, refuses to get involved and leaves. When Lang questions Rocky’s masculinity, the champion accepts the challenge. At Rocky’s home, Mickey admits that all of Rocky’s recent opponents were hand-picked to ensure Rocky could defend his world championship title. Refusing to retire knowing this information, Rocky begs Mickey to help him train for one final match, and Mickey agrees. To Mickey’s chagrin, Rocky rents a hotel ballroom and opens his training sessions to the public, posing for photographs and speaking with reporters. Meanwhile, Lang trains rigorously in an empty gym. Just before the match, Lang attempts to fight Rocky in the halls and pushes Mickey to the ground, causing him to suffer a heart attack. Despite his condition, Mickey forces Rocky to continue with the fight while he stays backstage with Rocky’s wife, Adrian. Rocky’s former opponent, Apollo Creed, serves as a commentator and encourages Rocky to beat Lang. After the fight begins, Lang overtakes Rocky and leaves him bloodied and out of breath. Lang wins the match, and Rocky trudges back to Mickey, who is in critical condition. Rocky leads Mickey to believe that he won the fight, and Mickey dies in his embrace. After Mickey’s funeral, Rocky visits his former training gym, where he runs into Apollo Creed. Reminiscing on Rocky’s once vigorous fighting style, Apollo convinces Rocky to let him take over as his trainer and defeat Lang. Apollo brings Rocky, Adrian, and Paulie to his former training facility in Los Angeles, California, and introduces him to his trainer, Duke. Paulie protests Apollo’s fitness regimen, which includes dancing and swimming workouts that cause Rocky to struggle. While practicing in the ring, Rocky recalls being brutally beaten by Lang, and Apollo reminds him that Lang is a dangerous, possibly deadly, opponent. One afternoon, Apollo and Rocky sprint along the beach, but Rocky stops running, overwhelmed by memories of Mickey’s death. Later, Rocky says he feels guilty for Mickey’s passing, but resents him for lying to make Rocky seem like a better fighter. Although he admits to being scared, Adrian encourages him to fight Lang in order to overcome his fear. Rocky resumes his training until Apollo is satisfied that he is ready to confront Lang in the ring. Prior to the rematch in New York City’s Madison Square Garden, sports commentators express their doubts about Rocky reclaiming the title. Apollo presents Rocky with the red, white, and blue-striped shorts that he wore during their first match together, and reminds Rocky that he owes him a favor once the fight is over. Although Rocky leads the first round of the match, Lang reclaims the second by knocking his opponent to the ground. In round three, the two men taunt one another until Rocky surprises Lang by overtaking him and winning the fight. Following the victory, Apollo and Rocky enter their training ring for a private rematch as friendly competitors. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.