The Rocky franchise has been the most popular of Sylvester Stallone's films, so it's no surprise that the series holds a special place in Stallone's heart. Recently, the actor admitted that the first Rocky is probably the best movie he's ever made, but when considering the movie that he's most proud of, he picked another part of the franchise, the largely unappreciated Rocky Balboa.
Sylvester Stallone took to Instagram to answer questions from fans as a way to pass the time and entertain people while we're all stuck at home. The first question he answered dealt with the fact that he though Rocky was his best film, but the actor/writer/producer/director then goes on to say that he's most proud of the sixth Rocky film, because it was the hardest one to make happen. According to Stallone...
I’d have to say my best movie probably of course is Rocky. The one I’m most proud of is Rocky Balboa. Because no one wanted to make it. I sat around for six years trying to make that film and when it came out, I was so proud of it, because of what we had to go through to get it done.
The first Rocky movie is pretty much universally agreed to be great. It was nominated for 10 Oscars and it won three, including Best Picture. Most of the Rocky movies that followed were popular with fans, but Rocky V under-performed at the box office, making only a fraction of what the popular Rocky IV had made.
It's likely this reason that there was little interest in making Rocky Balboa, there was a feeling the franchise was done. Sylvester Stallone, however, clearly believed in the movie, as he continued to push to make it happen until he finally won out. The actor is mostly proud of the movie simply for existing it seems, but Rocky Balboa is possibly the most underrated in the franchise. It's a perfect book end to the series, coming as close to the tone and feel of the original Rocky as any of the sequels. Both films are true character pieces where the boxing is merely the setting, and both show that, while Stallone's reputation may be for brainless action, he's a capable actor as well. It's a film that's about the struggles that Rocky goes through when his career has reached its end. The movie was also better received by both the box office and critics than Rocky V.
Rocky probably is Sylvester Stallone's best movie, the underdog story really is that good, but if you haven't seen Rocky Balboa, you should really take a couple hours and fix that. What else are you going to do right now?