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Stallone was inspired to write ‘Rocky’ after watching a Muhammad Ali fight.

While living meagerly in the Valley, the then-unknown actor attended the 1975 championship match between legend Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner. “For one brief moment, this supposed stumblebum [Wepner] turned out to be magnificent,” Stallone once said of the fight, in which Wepner lasted 19 rounds before Ali took home the win. “[Wepner] did something extraordinary. I said, ‘Now ‘that’ is what I need as a catalyst for an idea: A man who’s going to stand up to life and take one shot ,and maybe go the distance.” Stallone took inspiration from the match, and three days later, he had the “Rocky” script.

14 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Rocky’

Yahoo MoviesAugust 22, 2014

It was the first sports movie to win an

Oscar for Best Picture, it put Sylvester Stallone on the map, and it made the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art a must-see icon. Despite initial mixed reviews, "Rocky," the rags-to-riches story about a demure debt collector-turned-boxer given a shot at a world championship , stands as one of the most memorable films in sports-cinema history, more than 30 years since its 1976 debut. While Stallone is currently showing off those famous muscles in "The Expendables 3,"we’re looking back at his first big hit (pun intended).