Today! Because there is no tomorrow! There is no tomorrow!
Rocky III (1982)
Directed by Sylvester Stallone (x2)
Starring Sylvester Stallone (x2), Mr. T, Talia Shire (x2), Carl Weathers (x2), Burgess Meredith, Burt Young (x2), Tony Burton (x2), Hulk Hogan, Al Silvani
That’s right, we’re back where it all started – Rocky Balboa! Cast your mind to nearly two months back when this long journey began, as Rocky IV was the first movie announced on the Set of 400. Seems like yesterday, right? And yet here we are, with another Rocky movie! How fun for you!
3 has it over 4 in many respects, in my opinion. First, it has Burgess Meredith, at least for a little while. Second, it’s the rare Rocky film where the fights don’t go to the scorecards. Third, awesome beach running montages featuring a completely jacked Carl Weathers, and later his completely improbable footrace defeat by the much shorter Stallone. Fourth, Mr. T’s terrific bad guy turn as Clubber Lang. And lastly, Thunderlips, in the flesh, baby!
This is the film that rescued the franchise, after 2 worked so hard to undo what the original put together. By ignoring any remaining realistic aspects of boxing and limitations of the human body, 3 was the locus of Rocky’s superhero transformation, and when the series discovered what it could use forever as a motivating factor for the Italian Stallion – killing his friends and loved ones. Eight films strong and growing, folks! It just keeps happening!
This is the Rocky film I’ve probably seen the most times, as its unintended cross promotion with the WWF in the early ’80s saw Mr. T and Hulk Hogan team up at Wrestlemania I – an event which I watched to death on a copied VHS tape. Also, they made a great Saturday Night Live appearance opposite Billy Crystal’s Fernando around the same time, which I realize was years after Rocky III, but all happened for me at once. I was two and half years old when 3 came out, for Chrissakes! I wouldn’t have understood the nuances of Rocky and Adrian’s raging beach duet at that age! ’85 is when I started to take notice of pretty much everything, I’m guessing.
Besides the Oscar nominated “Eye of the Tiger,” Rocky III was not lavished with awards, so it had to content itself with being the fourth highest grossing movie of 1982 – nearly $400 million in today’s dollars. So how about a Best Fictional Muppet Show Episode honor, cutting in the real Sylvester Stallone episode from the show’s third season, but dubbed so that Rocky Balboa was hosting. Nice!
Due to 4‘s holding the 400th spot, we’ve got lots of folks joining the Two-Timers list – Stallone is the first person to make the club as both actor and director (and third director overall), while Talia Shire, Carl Weathers, Burt Young, and Tony Burton all join the acting wing as well.
Not to be outdone, Clubber Lang himself also joins the Two-Timers club, albeit not from a double-barreled appearance in the Philly pugilist series – Mr. T. first found himself on the list back in #387’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs!