The story of how Sylvester Stallone fought to get Rocky made is one of the most fascinating in film history.
Given how many sequels were pumped out (the most recent just a couple of years ago, it seems amazing that anyone could turn the combination of actor and material down. But that's exactly what happened when the scrappy young wannabe film star started shopping his idea around.
To understand why it was such a struggle, you need to go back and consider the fate of boxing movies in Hollywood. And why sometimes genres are ready for a comeback…
1. Boxing Films Punch Back
A long time ago, boxing films were huge across the pond. William Holden was a man torn between a love of music and a talent for the ring in Golden Boy in 1939.
James Cagney had punched above his weight in 1940's City For Conquest as a truck driver who tries his hand - well, his fist - at the "fight game", with tragic consequences.
And in 1947, John Garfield was Charley Davis, an amateur fighter with a bright career and family trouble, who fell in with a dodgy promoter and made some tough choices.
But in the years immediately preceding Rocky, the fight film had fallen out of favour with audiences, who seemingly preferred the likes of The Exorcist and Jaws and The Godfather.
That was about to change, thanks to one man with a dream. His name? No, not Sylvester Stallone… Chuck Wepner.