More than 40 years ago, in 1976, the film Rocky was released. It tells the story of an Italian-American boxer (Rocky Balboa) who pursues the American dream and fights to become the best heavyweight boxer while he struggles for the love of a woman.
The film was starred and written by Sylvester Stallone, being it the film work that made him a movie star. Rocky won 3 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and 1 Golden Globe, in addition to being nominated for other 32 awards in different categories.
It has, undoubtedly, been one of the films printed in the memory of thousands of people who have let Philadelphia know how big is their love for Rocky. Since this city is the location where the entire saga was recorded, every year, hundreds of tourists gather in Philly to personify the most popular scene, the one running up the stairs of the Museum of Modern Art.
The setting appears in the first Rocky movie, however it gained fame in the sequel thanks to a scene where the main actor runs through the Philadelphia streets, as part of his training, then he runs up the museum stairs until he reaches the top where he raises his arms while the song “Gonna Fly Now” plays in the background. Since then, the stairs adopted the name of “The Rocky Steps” and became an emblematic location for the city, even more than the museum itself.
The fame that the Rocky Steps gained thanks to the first two films made the entire saga use this place as scenery, so it has also appeared in Rocky III, Rocky V, Rocky Balboa and Creed. In all of them the main character runs up to the rhythm of the song and raises his arms when he reaches the top, just in the same way as all the tourists and locals who join the challenge do. It has turned into something iconic.
On your next trip to Philadelphia from New York we recommend you visit this location, even if you are not a fan of the movie, you will surely dare to take on the challenge of running up the stairs. There you will feel that you have reached a new achievement and you will not miss the celebration selfie.
Besides, if you arrive at the place in order to celebrate just like Rocky did, take the opportunity to visit the Museum of Modern Art and enjoy the great skyline view, from that spot you can appreciate the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Philadelphia City Hall and the Eakins Oval.
Rocky has his own statue
In order to immortalize the famous scene, in 1983 Sylvester Stallone had a life-size bronze statue of Rocky manufactured to promote the film Rocky III. Once the statue was installed, it was first placed at the top of the stairs which dramatically increased the arrival of tourists, so the museum decided to put the sculpture at the bottom of the stairs to promote the visit to the museum, in addition to running and taking the photo or video. However, this didn’t happen most of the time since people came to the place only to recreate the scene without visiting the museum.
The statue location created some discord in the city, so the population decided to install it in the Philadelphia Spectrum Arena, but in 1990, following the premiere of Rocky V, it was temporarily returned to its original location, and then did it again in 2006 to celebrate Rocky’s 31st anniversary. Since then, the statue has a new permanent location right next to the famous staircase.
FUN FACT: 2 statues were manufactured, the first is the one located next to the museum facilities and the other was put up for auction in order to raise funds for the Sport and Olympic History International Institute, the initial price was 5 million dollars but shortly after they had to lower it to 1 million. At the end, it was never sold.
Once you get to the top of the stairs, on the floor there is a pair of footprints of the sports shoes that Rocky used when he was training, this in order to pay tribute to the character and the artist who recovered the tourist life in Philadelphia.
The excitement of the film was such that, in 2015, the Philadelphia director of commerce assured that Stallone and his character are the ones who have done the most for the city after Benjamin Franklin, since they managed to highlight the city on the map, promoting trade, tourism and the local economy.
If you choose to take a day trip to Philadelphia from New York, or visit the oldest city in the United States as a vacation or work journey, take the opportunity to take a walk through the streets of the city and go up to the main entrance of the museum. We assure that, in addition to being a pleasant experience, you will be able to enjoy a pleasant view and visit one of the most important museums in the city. Are you up for the challenge?