Advertisement

10 Iconic Movie Moments With Unexpected Origins

10. The Rocky Steps - Rocky

MGM

The Scene

Who can forget the inimitable training montage from the very first Rocky, where Sylvester Stallone's plucky underdog runs up the steps leading to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, serving as a perfect metaphor for his impending battle against world champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers)?

Often parodied but never bettered, the scene has been a pop-culture mainstay for over four decades, and unsurprisingly, the "Rocky steps" have remained a hot tourist attraction ever since.

How It Happened

Director John G. Avildsen knew that he wanted to feature a scene with Rocky ascending the soon-to-be-iconic steps, but struggled to figure out a way to execute the scene without drawing attention to the camera operator's movements. This was a low-budget movie in 1976, after all.

In an incredible bout of good luck, shooting for Rocky coincided perfectly with the invention of the Steadicam camera system by Garrett Brown.

Brown had pioneered a system which allowed for smoother and more stable camera movement even when the camera operator is performing complex movements, and he tested his rig by filming his girlfriend running up what would eventually become the Rocky steps.

Brown then attempted to shop his rig around to production companies, only for Avildsen's assistant cameraman to learn about it.

He showed the footage of Brown's girlfriend to Avildsen, who quickly hired Brown and his Steadicam system, resulting in Brown receiving a "special camera effects" credit on Rocky.

Without the good fortune of Brown and Avildsen crossing paths, we wouldn't have the Rocky steps scene as we know it - and much of the montage's fist-pumping appeal would surely be lost.

Advertisement
Contributor
Contributor

Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.