Sylvester Stallone Marks 40th Anniversary of ‘Rocky III’ in Grateful Post

by Caitlin Berard

This week in 1982, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) appeared on the silver screen for the third time in Rocky III. The third installment in the Rocky franchise was a particularly exciting addition, as the legendary boxer reached out to an unlikely person for help. His long-time rival, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), assisted Rocky in preparing prepare for battle against a fierce new competitor, Clubber Lang (Mr. T).

The film takes place five years after the events of Rocky II, in which Rocky Balboa captures the World Heavyweight Championship in a fight with Apollo Creed. Rocky is now both famous and wealthy, and though his life is easier, he’s lost the edge that carried him to stardom in the first place.

His long-time mentor and manager, Mickey Goldmill, is dead, forcing Rocky to team up with Apollo. In Sylvester Stallone’s words, Rocky III is about Rocky Balboa rediscovering the eye of the tiger and finding himself again amidst the fame.

To celebrate the anniversary of the iconic film, Sylvester Stallone shared a few Rocky III images to his Instagram page. In the caption, Stallone wrote, “Today is the 40th anniversary of this Film! I will always be indebted to the LOYAL fans for taking ROCKY into their hearts!!! Never stop Punching!!!”

‘Rocky III’ Star Sylvester Stallone Calls Film ‘Best of the Three’

In the eyes of most Rocky fans, nothing can beat the magic of the original film. Even though the Rocky movies that followed, and even the Creed franchise that came along decades later, are fantastic, the first Rocky movie is widely regarded as the greatest of them all.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, Rocky III was special. Back in 1982, Stallone felt that Rocky’s journey in the third film mirrored his own. This allowed the actor to add a layer of realism to Rocky Balboa that strengthened the character even further.

“I like it the best of the three because it jumps ahead,” Stallone explained in an interview following the film’s release. “It isn’t a continuation. Rocky III is a whole different film. It’s Rocky now – wealthy, whatever – and all the pitfalls. It becomes a star trip that backfires, and I went through the same thing. I just put my problems in his mouth and it seems to work.”

“I guess you might say it parallels the old adage, ‘You can’t train an old dog new tricks’. Which is wrong,” Stallone continued. “We’re never too old to change. We’re never too old to adapt. It’s all in the mind. The mind is the most extraordinary muscle in a man’s body. The more reflective, the stronger it gets. And that’s what this story is all about.”