We've rounded up 46 of the best, most unforgettable quotes from the original Rocky movie.
Sylvester Stallone only had $106 in his bank account when he decided not to sell the rights to his movie Rocky, a film he’d written himself. While studios were interested in the script—and why wouldn't they be, with its triumphant storyline and famous quotes like "Yo, Adrian!"—they wanted big stars like James Caan, Ryan O’Neal or Nick Nolte to play the main character, scrappy boxer Rocky Balboa. But Stallone was so sure that he had to be the actor to play the role that (as he once told Howard Stern) he turned down a $360,000 offer for the film’s rights (about $1.7 million today), even though he was broke.
With its inspiring message and oh-so-quotable lines, Rocky called out to working-class underdogs everywhere; a nobody from Philadelphia, who feels like he’s past his prime, gets one big shot to battle the heavyweight champion of the world. Along the way, he meets and falls in love with the love of his life. Amazingly, Stallone wrote the script (and all those great quotes in it) in only three days. “[It sounds] pretentious, but it took three days—of which 90 percent was terrible,” Stallone said. “But the idea was there. That was it. And then after that, it took maybe 25 rewrites.” The film was shot in just 28 days. It turned out to be the best gamble he could have made.
When the film was released on Nov. 21, 1976, Rocky became the highest grossing picture of the year and ended up nabbing 10 Oscar nominations. But even showing up to the Academy Awards the next year showed how far Stallone had come. "Literally, I was parking cars 10 months earlier and now here we are [at the Oscars]," Stallone remembered later. "I rented a tuxedo and on the way to the Oscars the tie broke and the driver goes, 'You want to borrow mine?' I go 'nah, I guess it doesn't matter,' so I walk into the Oscars looking like Vinny Boom Bots, 'how you doin?' and people were like, 'oh my god, what arrogance, how dare he?'" It was a lucky night for the film; it won three awards, including Best Picture.
Stallone kept Rocky alive, writing and starring in five Rocky sequels (and there was even a Rocky musical!). These days, the Rocky universe has expanded to include two Creed films starring Michael B. Jordan as the son of Apollo Creed, Balboa’s original adversary and eventual friend. In fact, there will be a third Creed movie in March 2023.
There might even be a Rocky prequel series if Stallone has his say; he claims he’s started writing one with no deal in place. “This may be the strangest posting yet,” the 75-year-old wrote on Instagram in April 2021. “I started out this morning by writing a treatment for a Rocky prequel for streaming. Ideally, 10 episodes for a few seasons to really get to the heart of the characters in their younger years... Hope it happens... Talk about extremes! Keep punching my friends.” He shared a handwritten notebook page which clearly lays out big events of the 1960s that a show might follow.
All in all, the Rocky franchise has made over $1 billion so far. In 2021 (the year of the picture's 45th anniversary) and 2022, there are a slew of events scheduled to celebrate the movie, including the Nov. 12, 2022 “Rocky Run,” a themed concert, a sneaker collection and an app that allows fans to do a self-guided tour of Philadelphia, the city where the film takes place (the Art Museum’s steps are, of course, a popular place for fans to snap shots.)
In honor of Rocky’s 46th anniversary, here are 46 memorable quotes from the film that started it all.
46 Best Rocky Quotes
1. “Yo Adrian!”
2. “Now remember, I want 500 hard ones. Go!”
3. “Bob. Listen, Bob. You wanna dance, you gotta pay the band. You understand? You wanna borrow, you gotta pay the man. Hey, I ain't emotionally involved, Bob. You understand? Give me some money. Give me some money.”
4. “You’re gonna eat lightning, you’re gonna crap thunder!”
5. “Well don’t figure, let me do the figurin’, ok Rock?”
6. “I’ll break both arms, so they don’t work for ya!”
7. “Yeah, the morning after a fight, you're like a large wound, you know what I mean? Sometimes I got pains all over me. I feel like calling a taxi to take me from the bed into the bathroom.”
9. “Do you believe that America’s the land of opportunity?... Well Apollo Creed does, and he’s gonna prove it to the whole world by giving an unknown a shot at the title.”
10. “Come here, Rock. My main man. Rocky, ain't you Italian? [Now what does that mean?] That means, if he can't fight, I'll bet he can cook.”
11. “If you wanted help why didn’t you ask? Why didn’t you just ask me, kid?”
12. “I was nobody. But that don't matter either, you know? 'Cause I was thinkin', it really don't matter if I lose this fight. It really don't matter if this guy opens my head, either. 'Cause all I wanna do is go the distance.”
13. “Nobody's ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood.”
14. “I been comin' here for six years, and for six years ya been stickin' it to me, an' I wanna know how come!”
15. “My old man, he was never too smart. He says to me, "You weren't born with much of a brain, "so you better start using your body." So I become a fighter. You know what I mean? Why you laughing?”
16. “How 'bout I stay here and you fight?”
17. “He doesn't know it's a damn show, he thinks it's a d**n fight!”
18. “Cut me Mick!”
19. “Look. It's the name man...The Italian Stallion. The media will eat it up. Now, who discovered America? An Italian, right. What would be better than to get it on with one of its descendants?”
20. “If I can change, you can change. EVERYBODY CAN CHANGE!”
21. “Why do you wear that sweaty old thing?”
22. “What about my prime, Mick? At least you had a prime! I had no prime, I had nothin'!”
23. “Keep hittin' 'em in the ribs, ya see? Don't let that b**tard breathe!”
24. “[Where did you get the name, the Italian Stallion?] Oh I made that up one night while I was eating dinner.”
25. “She's pushing 30 freaking years old, and if she don't wise up, she's gonna die an old maid.”
26. “Forget about sports as a profession. Sports make ya grunt and smell. See, be a thinker, not a stinker.”
27. “OK, I'm gonna tell ya! You had the talent to become a good fighter, but instead of that, you become a legbreaker to some cheap, second rate loan shark!”
28. “Yeah, to you it's Thanksgiving; to me it's Thursday.”
29. “I always knew you was pretty…”
30. “Took you long enough to get here. Took you ten years to get to my house. Huh, what's the matter? You don't like my house? Does my house stink? That's right-it stinks!”
31. “I dunno, she's got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.”
32. “You see, that's why I can't connect you with Gazzo. You know that, Paulie. Because you got a big mouth. You know, you just talk too much.”
33. “Ain't gonna be no rematch.”
34. “Down! Down! Stay Down!”
35. “I ain't no bum, Mick. I ain't no bum.”
36. “Adrian, I ain't mad. It's just that, uh, when a reporter's around, I get out of joint 'cause they take cheap shots, and Paulie knows that. Paulie keeps askin' me for a job all the time, but he don't know nothin' about fighting.”
37. "I don't want nothin' from you. I don't want nothin' from you. This ain't no charity case. Get outta my house."
38. “Now you're a big-shot fighter on your way up, you don't even throw a crumb to your friend Paulie! When I go out and get your meat every morning! You forgot that! Then I even give you my sister, too!”
39. “What do I owe you Paulie? What do I owe you? I treat you good! I cook for you! I cleaned for you! I pick up your dirty clothes! I take care of ya, Paulie! I don't owe you nothin'! And you made me feel like a loser! I'm not a loser!”
40. “I just want to say hi to my girlfriend, OK? Yo, Adrian! It's me, Rocky.”
41. “You put my stuff on skid row? I been in that locker six years; you put my stuff in a bag on skid row?”
42. “I think we make a real sharp couple of coconuts - I'm dumb, you're shy, whaddaya think, huh?”
43. “Paulie gets three grand. I get the robe.”
44. “Tonight, we have had the privilege of witnessing the greatest exhibition of guts and stamina in the history of the ring!”
45. “It ain't gonna be no rematch! Oh, come on! I had enough things in my face tonight! Adrian!”
46. "Keep punching my friends."