One of Hollywood’s all-time musclemen, Sylvester Stallone, nearly died shooting the American cinematic opus known as Rocky IV (1985).
From the set of Rocky IV, to receiving an IV in the ICU, Stallone was in a near-death situation as a result of taking too many hits from co-star Dolph Lundgren.
The untold story was released as part of Stallone’s marketing effort for the film’s Director’s Cut re-release in theaters, which is already breaking ticket pre-sale records.
While filming the infamous bout between Balboa and Soviet superhuman Ivan Drago (played by Lundgren), Stallone received a hit to the chest that had him on the ropes and, shortly after, in a helicopter en route to a hospital.
“The first thing we shot [was] my entrance, his entrance and the introductions and then I got really injured during the fight and I had to be flown into intensive care to California from Canada,” the actor stated in the promotional video.
“Well, he pulverized me. And I didn’t feel it in the moment, but later that night my heart started to swell. My blood pressure went up to 260 and I was going to be talking to angels, next thing I know I’m on this emergency, low-altitude flight.”
Thankfully, the Italian Stallion pulled through and finishing filming the movie, which fans now remember as one a premier slice of Americana in the history of cinema.
Stallone starred and directed Rocky IV. He directed four of the installations in the series and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars after reprising the character in Creed (2015). (Which he should’ve won.)
Rocky IV remains the highest grossing of the eight-film series (including the Creed spin-offs), making over $300 million at the global box office, according to Screen Rant.
To this day, Stallone thanks his saints that he survived Lundgren’s hits. “I’m in intensive care surrounded by nuns and then after that, I had to go back and finish the fight,” Stallone said.
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