Sylvester Stallone Reflects on 'Rocky' Legacy at TIFF 2023

Sylvester Stallone's Cinematic Journey: From Usher to Icon

by Zain ul Abedin
Sylvester Stallone Reflects on 'Rocky' Legacy at TIFF 2023
© Robert Okine/Getty Images Entertainment

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2023 is currently abuzz with cinematic wonders, but one moment that's left the audience genuinely moved is when legendary actor Sylvester Stallone graced the event to reflect upon his timeless masterpiece, 'Rocky.'

The 1976 classic film about an underdog boxer from the streets of Philadelphia continues to inspire generations, and Stallone's insights shed new light on its enduring legacy. At the heart of Stallone's remarkable journey as an actor, director, and screenwriter lies a pivotal childhood moment when he first encountered the 1958 adventure fantasy film 'Hercules,' starring Steve Reeves, at the tender age of 12.

Stallone candidly expressed, "I was very lucky, in the golden age of films, when dialogue was important. But the dialogue didn't move me as much as the actual physical embodiment of overcoming odds." Stallone's passion for cinematic storytelling deepened further as he found inspiration in comic novels, where he envisioned himself as an action hero.

He explained, "Coming to the rescue, not so much as a superhero, just as a guy who was forced to."

Stallone's Theater Epiphany

His determination to be part of the film world led him to work as an usher in a movie theater after completing his education, a step that would later prove instrumental in his career.

Stallone revealed, "Watching those films over and over and over, you get to see the magic. You realize, here comes that scene again. And then I said, I can do better than that. And then I realized I couldn't, okay." Despite initial doubts, Stallone persevered, using his time as an usher to educate himself about filmmaking.

He remarked, "I just wrote about what I knew. I was writing about this little kind of mentally challenged guy who happened to have a lot of heart," referring to the inception of his iconic character, Rocky Balboa. Stallone's journey from a young cinephile and usher to an influential Hollywood figure mirrors the underdog spirit that 'Rocky' embodies.

As the film continues to captivate audiences and inspire dreamers worldwide, Sylvester Stallone's insights at TIFF 2023 serve as a poignant reminder that with passion, persistence, and heart, anyone can overcome the odds and achieve greatness in their chosen field.

Sylvester Stallone