The Rocky Steps72 famous steps that take visitors from Kelly Drive and Martin Luther King Junior Drive to the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Actor Sylvester Stallone first made the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art famous in his 1976 rags-to-riches drama Rocky — the tale of a scrappy boxer from South Philly named Rocky Balboa who rises to national fame when he's selected to square off with a heavyweight champion Apollo Creed.
In the movie, Rocky jogs up the steps during one of his early morning workout sessions just before his climactic fight against Creed.
Tens of thousands of people jog up and down the Rocky steps every year.
For decades, the 72 stone steps known today as the "Rocky Steps" were simply the way to get to the The Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of the largest art museums in the entire country, home to over 300,000 works of art spanning 2,000 years.
Then in 1976 the motion picture "Rocky" was released, and the steps suddenly became famous. While training for his big fight, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) is depicted in an intense training montage that culminates with Rocky ascending the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Upon reaching the top, Rocky celebrates as the cameras pan to show Philadelphia's Skyline in the background as Rocky jumps up and down with his arms in the air, stretched in triumph.
In "Rocky II," Rocky once again embarked on a training montage that ended up becoming more famous than the one that preceded it. In this montage, Rocky runs all over Philadelphia as excited children join him until once again the montage culminates with Rocky ascending the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Rocky Steps were also subsequently used in the films Rocky V and later Rocky Balboa.
- A bronze statue of Rocky Balboa was placed at the top of the steps during the filming of Rocky III.
- This bronze Rocky statue was moved after filming and is now located at the bottom right of the steps.
- Tens of thousands of people recreate the run up the steps each year.
- In the lead up to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Dawn Staley, Basketball Hall of Fame member and Philadelphia native ran up the steps as part of the Olympic torch relay.
- The scene of Rocky running up the steps was made possible by the Steadicam, a new technology at the time that allowed a camera to be stabilized on a special mount for action shots.
- The steps are the backdrop for the annual Independence Day celebration.
- The 2017 NFL Draft, the first to be held outside, was held from the steps.
- The Rocky Steps were ranked 2nd of the 10 most famous movie locations by Break Media's website Screen Junkies.
The 72 stone steps leading up to the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, have become known as the "Rocky Steps" as a result of a scene from the film Rocky.Rocky Steps:
- Tourists often mimic Rocky's famous climb, a metaphor for an underdog or an every man rising to a challenge
- A bronze Rocky statue was briefly situated at the top of the steps for the filming of Rocky III. This statue, now located at the bottom right of the steps, is a popular photo opportunity for visitors.
- The top of the steps offers a commanding view of Eakins Oval, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and Philadelphia City Hall.
In 2006, Rocky creator Sylvester Stallone recounted the genesis of the iconic scene: (while filming the 1976 movie) the film crew, bound by a tight budget, identified the steps one night while searching for filming locations around the city. Stallone first thought Rocky should carry his dog Butkus up the steps, but the big bull mastiff proved too heavy for the scene to work. Still, the view from the top of the stairs inspired him to re-shoot the scene without the dog. Also in Rocky Balboa, Rocky lifts his dog Punchy when he reaches the top of the steps. The closing credits of Rocky Balboa show a montage of dozens of people running up the steps.
This scene was one of the first uses in a major film of the Steadicam, a stabilized camera mount that allows its operator to walk and even climb steps while smoothly filming.
Making the Statue:
Before Rocky III, released in 1982, Stallone commissioned A. Thomas Schomberg to create a bronze statue of Rocky. Three 2-ton, 10-foot tall copies were to be cast.
- One was installed atop the steps for the filming of Rocky III, and was ultimately relocated to the bottom of the steps.
- The second Rocky was in the San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum in San Diego, California, until it closed in 2017. The statue was then put up for auction and purchased by an anonymous buyer who was later revealed to be Sylvester Stallone himself.
- In 2006, Schomberg realized the casting mold for the statue was beginning to decay, and the third and final edition of the statue was cast in bronze and put up for auction on eBay to raise funds for the International Institute for Sport and Olympic History. It is currently exhibited at the Schomberg Studios Gallery in Denver, Colorado.