Sylvester Stallone, or, to be more accurate, ‘Rocky,’ brought out the fans (and some fellow movie stars) this past weekend, this as the 77-year-old movie legend was handed the keys to the city of Philadelphia, Philly of course being the place that gave the world the fictitious but ever so seriously inspirational ‘Rocky Balboa.’
It was “Rocky Day” in Philadelphia, with Stallone appearing at the famous steps near the Philadelphia Museum of Arts, close to where ‘Rocky’ has a fabulous bronze statue erected in his fictitious honor. It was 47 years ago on December 3 when the 1976 classic opened in cinemas in America, and all these years later, people everywhere continue to pump their fists with passion as they watch the film, talk about the film, or recall where they were when they first saw the film.
Stallone (who may or may not appear in the forthcoming spin-off, ‘Creed IV’) gave a nice speech as he and his fans sheltered from the rain.
“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart – and Rocky’s, too, because we’re very close – to all of you, who, believe it or not, are the real-life Rocky’s because you live your life on your own terms, you try to do the best you can, and you keep punching,” Stallone said. “I was very ambitious because there was no plan B. At the time (of writing ‘Rocky’), all I had to fall back on was my butt. Rocky was just a perfect storm. It came along at a time when politics were changing, and people were looking for more positivity, and I just happened to fall into it. To me, when you get up there, you feel like you can be the champion of your dreams. But the real victory is never giving up and going the distance for yourself and your loved ones. Standing at the top, you are reminded that all things are possible. Keep punching!”
A speech that could easily have been taken from a film. Or will perhaps be used in one. But putting aside the corny aspect some may focus on when hearing Stallone’s words (if not watching the ‘Rocky’ movies themselves), we must applaud Stallone’s ability to connect with the people.
Stallone drew genuine affection from the fans in attendance on Sunday, and he and his films really do have the power to, for want of a better description, make us feel good, make us feel great.
Chevy Chase, who was a perhaps unlikely guest at Sunday’s event, generated press due to his arrival in a wheelchair. However, the 80-year-old rose up and posed with Stallone, this as the two actors, who each gave us some of the biggest box-office hits of the 1980s, beamed in front of the famed ‘Rocky’ statue.
“Life is a fight,” Stallone said. “It’s a tough fight, and get ready. You’re going to win some, and you’re going to lose a lot.”
The older we get, the more fully we can agree with Stallone’s words.