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Rocky IV’s Dolph Lundgren Has A Funny Take On Sylvester Stallone Being Sent To The Hospital During Filming

Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV: Rocky vs. Drago.
(Image credit: MGM)

It’s become a fairly popular story over the years that during the production of Rocky IV Sylvester Stallone received a fairly significant “real life” beating at the hands of Dolph Lundgren. Stallone has said that he ended up in the hospital due to the injury, but Lundgren has a pretty good sense of humor about the whole thing, calling it all an “insurance scam.”

Sylvester Stallone has spoken about the injuries he sustained filming the boxing scenes in Rocky IV but Dolph Lundgren has said less about his perspective on what transpired. Speaking with Men’s Health, Lundgren responds to an online comment asking if the story is true. Lundgren says he only found out what happened to Sly after the fact. And he jokes that he’s not sure Stallone was really hurt, though he admits it’s possible he really did send the star to the hospital. Lundgren says…

Well, we both got hit. This is Rocky IV in 1985, there is no CGI. Everything has to happen on screen, in-camera. So we both got hit, especially to the body. We shot for two weeks—that last fight—in Vancouver. And then I come back to LA, and the producer calls me and says, ‘Hey Dolph, you got a couple weeks off.’ I go, ‘Great. What’s going on?’ [He says,] ‘Oh, Sly’s in the hospital.’ Then I heard they blamed me for it. I think it was like an insurance scam or something. I mean, I did hit him...And in those days, I was in pretty good shape.

Dolph Lundgren certainly was in “pretty good shape” filming Rocky IV. He had to look like a human wall of muscle, and he didn’t have CGI or a padded suit to make him look like that way, so he had to do the work. Lundgren says the punches were, at least to some extent, real, so both actors got knocked around. 

Dolph Lundgren’s recounting of the story does match up with what Stallone has said about the experience in the past. Specifically, that Stallone didn’t realize how much he had been hurt during the filming. It was only later that he realized he was seriously injured and ended up in the hospital. 

Lundgren was apparently already out of town by that point, so he learned he’d been blamed for hurting Rocky only later when hew was given extra time off. The Aquaman actor has said previously that he thinks the punches may have only been part of what was ailing Stallone, as the man was overworked producing the film. 

Luckily nobody died, though Sylvester Stallone has said he was far from certain that would be the case at the time. Rocky IV would go on to possibly become the most popular entry in the entire franchise. It’s plot was the starting point for Creed II  and it’s even received a special Director’s Cut, so we can now get a fresh look at the time Dolph Lundgren beat up Sylvester Stallone on film. 

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.