40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic is squaring up for a digital release. The making-of documentary, which features narration from Sylvester Stallone himself, is set to be released on digital on-demand this June.
Deadline reports that the behind-the-scenes Rocky documentary, 40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic has set its digital on-demand release for June 9, 2020. Virgil Films & Entertainment is releasing the film in North America and internationally on iTunes/Apple TV, Amazon, Vimeo On Demand and Google Play.
Written and directed by Derek Wayne Johnson, who profiled the director of Rocky in the 2017 film John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs, uses footage captured by John Avildsen, who died in 2017. Avildsen filmed the preproduction and production of the eventual 1976 Best Picture winner on his own 8mm footage, which becomes the basis for the new documentary, which is narrated by the screenwriter and star himself, Stallone. In the narration, Stallone reflects on the film that turned him into a pop culture icon
As Deadline describes, “Stallone’s narration describes not only the shooting of the film but the story behind getting it green-lit and how he preserved his original script and starring role, one of the legendary film business fables. In a stream-of-consciousness style, the star recalls details like the origin of Rocky Balboa’s pork pie hat. Stallone says he picked it up for $3 in a Philadelphia shop and thought it ‘completed’ the character and was the boxer’s ‘suit of armor.’ He fended off arguments from studio execs and producers, who thought he should ditch the hat because they felt it would be seen as copying Gene Hackman’s look in The French Connection.”
“The documentary is a golden nugget for ‘Rocky’ fans and casual audiences alike,” Johnson said in the press release. “It’s a charming piece of film history narrated by Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone, and will give audiences an intimate, and at times, emotional experience. We’re proud of the film, and audiences can expect new stories and new footage that they’ve never seen before in a blend of director John Avildsen’s home movies, rehearsal footage and behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the ultimate underdog film.”
Lloyd Kaufman, who was a production manager on Rocky and would go on to run Troma Entertainment, also shared some never-bef0re-seen footage he shot on set. His footage shows makeup tests, boxing choreography sessions, and other sweet moments with Stallone and co-stars Carl Weathers and Talia Shire.
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