Sylvester Stallone Reveals How He Almost Died Filming Rocky IV

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

Sports films come with intense physical demand as they aim for realism. Sometimes, committing to making the sports scenes look realistic comes with a cost. Sylvester Stallone learned that the hard way while filming 1985’s Rocky IV. Given how intense the boxing scenes were, one on-set moment could’ve ended Stallone’s career early. The Hollywood star revealed an incident where he almost died after filming a scene for his directorial debut.

Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago’s main match served as the focus for the sequel as Rocky sought to avenge his friend Apollo Creed’s death. But apparently, one boxing scene got too intense between Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren. While filming and directing Balboa and Drago’s infamous boxing match, the fight choreography went wrong as Lundgren accidentally connected with Stallone. Looking back at the scary incident, the Suicide Squad star recalled the almost deadly aftermath to Daily Mail.

In the first round, where he knocked me down, that is for real. He pulverized me and I did not feel it at that moment but later that night my heart started to swell. He had bruised the perio cardio sac, which is when the heart hits the chest – like in a car accident when your chest hits the steering wheel. My blood pressure went up to 260. They thought I was going to be talking to angels.

Of course, on-set accidents are bound to happen, but this frightening episode would make others reconsider their choices. But for Sylvester Stallone, the show had to go on as he was starring in and directing Rocky IV. Knowing how close he was to death put those boxing scenes as well as the film in a distinct perspective. It was honestly a miracle the Rocky III sequel was completed. Most health crises would’ve promptly shut down production or caused the film to be shelved, especially when regarding the film’s star. Luckily, Stallone made it through the life-or-death scenario and managed to complete the film.

Revealing such a surprising story may give Rocky fans a new outlook on Rocky IV. The film was a labor of love for Sylvester Stallone. Many fans have noticed that dedication as Stallone crafted a director’s cut to show off his true vision. He’s kept his followers in the loop by showing every step from the re-edits to the re-release’s first trailer. His steadfast commitment to see Rocky Balboa rise again has kept the franchise going for four decades.

His love for Rocky IV translated to a potential impressive box office, which Sylvester Stallone took notice of this milestone. Of course, the set accident was just the latest story Stallone revealed from shooting the fourth installment. With its release on the horizon, moviegoers will finally get to see the Hollywood star’s full vision when Rocky IV re-release arrives in theaters for one night on Nov. 11.

Adreon Patterson
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A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).