‘Tulsa King’ Star Sylvester Stallone Speaks Out About Painful ‘Rocky’ Subject That ‘Eats at His Soul’

by Chris Piner

While movie fans remember their favorite stars or directors, there is another crucial role often overlooked. Being a producer might not come with all the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, but for Irwin Winkler, it became his mark on the entire industry. Recently celebrating his 91st birthday, Winkler’s success in movies dates back to the 1960s. He worked with legendary talent like Elvis Presley on Double Trouble. That is just the start as he produced films like Rocky, Goodfellas, and The Wolf of Wall Street. Recently, Sylvester Stallone shared his thoughts on the producers and something that continues to “eat at his soul”. 

Sharing some interesting art depicting the producer, Sylvester Stallone, who is featured in the upcoming Tulsa King, wrote, “A VERY Flattering portrait of The Great Rocky/ Creed Producer , IRWIN WINKLER, from one of the country‘s greatest artist … ALSO after IRWIN controlling ROCKY for over 47 years , and now CREED, , I really would like have at least a little WHAT’s LEFT of my RIGHTS back, before passing it on to ONLY YOUR CHILDREN – I believe That would be a FAIR gesture from this 93 year old gentleman?”

The actor known for his power in the ring as Rocky Balboa revealed some truth as well. “This is a painful subject that eats at my soul , because I wanted to leave something of Rocky for my children, but it’s always great hearing from the loyal fans… Keep Punching.”

Changing The End Of Rocky

Back in November of 2021, Irwin Winkler discussed his work with Rocky and Sylvester Stallone. Winkler was adamant the character was not to die on screen even when it was written. Known for losing to Apollo Creed in the theatrical release, Winkler once again stepped in. He believed the ending was too lackluster. “What happened was when we had screenings for friends and some press, and during the fight scene, everybody was standing on their feet, cheering and yelling and all that.

Winkler added how the changed ending saved the film. “When he loses the fight, he and Adrian meet up and they walk out of the arena… very kind of ’70s realistic ending. That whole high that we were getting from the audience suddenly dipped down to a real low. It was kind of depressing, which by the way, the mid-’70s in America was pretty depressing!” 

Sylvester Stallone Wins In The End

The ending was changed, leading to Adrian embracing Rocky in the ring. Winkler admitted, “He [didn’t win] the fight, but he won his self-respect and he won the woman he loves. That’s a great, great ending.”

No matter his thoughts on Winkler, Sylvester Stallone’s career surged after the film released in 1976. He went on to helm films like Rambo, The Expendables, and the new show Tulsa King