There are risks to being a cinematic hardman and every action icon in Hollywood history can reel off a string of stories about how they’ve been injured on set. Sylvester Stallone is no exception and, during the making of Rocky 2, he found himself nursing plenty of quite serious after-effects from the final fight.
Rocky 2, of course, famously concludes with Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers knocking each other around the boxing ring as Rocky and his pugilist nemesis Apollo Creed. It provides us with a terrific moment in one of the best movies of Stallone’s career as a bloodied and battered Rocky delivers a rousing victory speech after his narrow win.
As it turns out, those war wounds weren’t just fictional elements of one of the best sports movies ever made. In an interview with the late Roger Ebert, Stallone explained that his list of injuries was considerable and gnarly-sounding, admitting he was “pretty messed up” after filming the scene.
“I took a terrible beating. I let Carl Weathers really pound me. It was the most gruelling thing I’ve ever been through. Broken bones, the works,” said Stallone. “The fight’s four times as long and has eight times as many punches as the first one. A lot of those shots aren’t faked. It’s as hard to learn not to hit somehow as to hit them.”
And that’s not the end of it. Actually, Stallone’s list of wounds gets even worse than that. We’d never step on a Rocky set again after this, let alone make six more new movies, if you include his two Creed outings.
Stallone said: “Right now my health is pretty bad. It’s really bad. I have to go in for extensive testing. They talk to me about enlarged intestines, rearranged insides… I’ve lost a lot of weight. Don’t worry. I’ll get it all fixed up.”
Perhaps this is why we’re not acclaimed actors and stars of the best action movies. If someone told us we’d done something that had completely rearranged our insides, we certainly wouldn’t be doing it again. Stallone, meanwhile, went on to get hospitalized after taking a punch from Dolph Lundgren on Rocky 4. No lessons learned then.
If you want to watch the fruits of Stallone’s labor, find out how to stream the Rocky movies in order. You can also learn about how Stallone nearly got a serious gun injury while making The Expendables and find out why Stallone only ate three foods while making Rocky 3.
As for the rest of the franchise, check out our Creed 3 review and look ahead to the Creed 4 release date. Elsewhere in the action world, we’ve got detailed guides to Deadpool 3, the Dune 2 release date, and the Mission Impossible 8 release date.