‘Rocky’ returns to Philadelphia Museum of Art

Daria Gredysa

Anyone driving by the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Friday evening was probably encountered a state of confusion. For many loyal fans, however, Sept. 8 was a day of celebration and excitement as the famous “Rocky” statue was reinstated at the base of the museum. As themed music blared and thousands of fans cheered, Sylvester Stallone himself was there to ask, “Yo, Philly! How you doin’?” Rocky Balboa is back; underdogs unite.

The bronze statue of Rocky, like its character, has had a tough road battling its way back, even if it’s not back to the top. “Rocky” was commissioned by Sylvester Stallone back in 1983 and donated to the city of Philadelphia, originally placed on the top of the steps of the museum for the filming of “Rocky III.” Controversy erupted after filming wrapped, and the meaning of “art” became a heated debate between the museum and the city’s Art Commission. In the end, the “movie prop” was moved to the front of the city’s sports stadium complex in South Philadelphia, the Wachovia Spectrum.

The statue was returned briefly to the museum for use in the filming of “Rocky V,” “Mannequin” and “Philadelphia,” but was moved back to the Spectrum shortly afterward. The only thing to be left in Rocky’s memory was a set of footprints reading “Rocky.”It is no wonder that after 25 years, the Rocky Balboa statue has sparked so much excitement in the hearts of those who have used the movie as an anecdote of perseverance and a roadmap for success.

The city Art Commission voted 6-2 to move the statue out of storage and put it back where it can continue to inspire the “City of Underdogs.” Now the statue resides to the right of the museum on a street-level pedestal near the museum steps. All 9 ft. 11 in. 1,300 lbs. of “Rocky’ can once again raise spirits and victory in all that come to admire the bronze statue.

Stallone took one more run up those legendary stairs to the delight of the adoring crowd, raising his arms in triumph like the millions who have emulated him through the years.

“It’s about love; it’s about passion; it’s about having something inside of you that you know must be filled,” Stallone said.