There’ve been a multitude of fantastic boxing films over the years, but only one series and fictional boxer has remained a household name for nearly half a century. 1976’s breakout hit Rocky cast Sylvester Stallone as the titular southpaw boxer from Philadelphia who was chosen at random to fight heavyweight world champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) after his original opponent suffered injuries. The underdog story saw Stallone take what could’ve been a one-note tough guy and give him an emotional depth and affability that transformed a traditional sports flick into a compelling character study way ahead of its time.
Of course, Stallone’s stellar performance went over well with moviegoers, and Rocky quickly became 1976’s highest-grossing film and one of the decade’s most talked-about theater events. Its resounding success led to five larger-scale sequels focused on the character, and the story now lives on with the Creed franchise, which sees a much older Rocky train and mentor Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis (Michael B. Jordan).
Many fans of the series stand by the belief that the best film of the bunch was the Stallone-directed Rocky IV, which saw Rocky face off against the Soviet Union’s most well-trained and steroid-enhanced boxer, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). At the very least, the pic was the most emotionally and physically traumatizing experience for the character, leading to effects and overarching plot threads that lingered throughout the remainder of the franchise before being largely resolved in Creed II.
Thankfully for those fans of Rocky’s fourth outing, Stallone recently took to Twitter to formally announce that he’s personally working on a Rocky IV director’s cut for its 35th anniversary.
The actor has been teasing this upcoming version of Rocky IV for a while now, even going so far as to show off some footage that never made it into the original cut back in 1985. Unfortunately, however, he hasn’t confirmed a release date for it, but we’re likely to hear more about that relatively soon. After all, there are only a handful of months left during its anniversary year.