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DW in the News: Rocky still packs a punch in Philly

Philadelphia was once again the main backdrop for the latest in the Rocky film franchise, Creed. The Development Workshop's Craig Schelter made it into the news overseas in international coverage of the film's release. Below, read more from Thomas Urbain of the L’Agence France-Presse (AFP).


South China Morning Post/L’Agence France-Presse: Rocky still packs a punch in Philly

By Thomas Urbain | December 5, 2015

It is a classic slice of pop culture: Sylvester Stallone – aka Rocky – jogging up the steps of the art museum in Philadelphia. For four decades, the boxing saga helped put Philly on the map.

The 72 “Rocky Steps” – as they are known – are an irresistible draw to tourists who come to mimic the iconic scene from the Oscar-winning 1976 movie about an aspirational boxer named Rocky Balboa.

“The Rocky movie series has been an incredible part of the history and the legacy of the city of Philadelphia,” Mayor Michael Nutter says. “I mean, this has been going on for 30 years now. It’s a part of us and we are a part of it.”

At the foot of the famed steps towers a three-metre bronze statue of Rocky, commissioned by the saga’s star and creator Stallone for Rocky III and donated to the city after the shoot.

On a crisp autumn day, Agga Dharma, a Buddhist monk newly arrived from Myanmar, waits in turn with a dozen tourists to snap a selfie beside it. Yes, he says, Rocky is a phenomenon in his country, too.

The statue is Philly’s most popular landmark behind the Liberty Bell, a symbol of the birth of the United States, says Anne McGuigan, a volunteer at the tourist office.

Visitors can pick up Rocky-themed maps guiding them to the steps and statue, but also to a dozen locations: from the Italian market, home to Esposito’s Butcher shop, to Pat’s King of Steaks – the Philly cheesesteak sandwich spot – or the Penn’s landing waterfront.

“The Rocky movie series,” says Nutter, “put Philadelphia on the international map.”

“For that, we’re very proud and very grateful.”

Nutter expects the latest chapter, Creed, which hit American screens just in time for last month’s Thanksgiving holiday, to be a knockout.

The saga’s seventh installment sees Stallone return as the veteran Balboa, called out of retirement to mentor the son of a late friend and boxing rival.

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