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Home » Original script reveals how Sylvester Stallone died in Rocky V

Original script reveals how Sylvester Stallone died in Rocky V

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Sylvester Stallone had his demise written into the script for the 1990 movie “Rocky V” until a late change of heart halted the final bow.

Tommy Morrison’s character “Tommy Gunn,” who Stallone trains in the fifth installment of the franchise, sensationally kills off Rocky at the end.

Behind-the-scenes script information revealed the news in a shocking twist to the early draft of the movie plot.

Sylvester Stallone dies as Rocky Balboa

Widely received as the most unloved of the films made under the banner, “Rocky V” had quite an ending that may have made things worse for some.

After his famous fight with Gunn, played by former world heavyweight champion Morrison, Balboa passed away.

He suffered from brain damage confirmed early in the movie, which remained in the film. Balboa had ringing in his ears from the irreversible [but later reversed in Rocky Balboa – 2006] ailment.

According to the drafted screenplay, which was going to be used until a late change, it fell to his wife, Adrian, to announce Rocky’s death.

In a further twist that didn’t make the final cut, Adrian was also pregnant with a girl at that time.

An early draft of Rocky V script

A POLICEMAN SPEAKS: “The ambulance is a minute away.”

ADRIAN: “When you get to the hospital, you’ll be all right.”

ROCKY: “My hands are cold.”

ADRIAN [she takes his hands]: “I’ll warm them; Whatever you want.'”

ROCKY: “I don’t want the kid [son Rocky Jr.] to see me like this.”

ADRIAN: “He won’t.'”

ROCKY: “Adrian, you’re the only thing I ever loved. I only want us to be happy, y’know?'”

ADRIAN [pregnant with a girl]: “I know. When you get better, we’ll go away for a rest. Get ready for the baby.”

ROCKY: “I can’t wait to see my daughter. It’s going to be great.”

Rocky’s hand slackens in Adrian’s grip, and his body slips into motionless repose. His eyes close, leaving his face sublimely peaceful.

ADRIAN: “Rocky? Rocky? Oh God, don’t go, Rocky. Please, Oh God, don’t take him! I love you’, don’t leave me!”

[An ambulance arrives, and paramedics force their way through the crowd.]

PARAMEDIC: “We’re ready, Mrs. Balboa. We’ll take him now.”

ADRIAN [softly]: “You’ll never take him.”

Rocky tributes

The scene fades and dissolves through the image of Adrian cradling Rocky’s head and fades in on the museum steps. Adrian stands beside the massive bronze statue of Rocky: Below her is a large gathering of press and friends.

ADRIAN: “Rocky Balboa passed away early this morning. With my husband went a man who proved you don’t have to be born great to achieve greatness.

“From his humble beginnings, he became a symbol for many that life doesn’t make the man. The man makes the life.

“As long as there are people willing to meet the challenges of life and not surrender until their dreams become realities, the world will always have their Rockys. (She looks at the statue)

“I’ll always love you,” she concluded.

The camera tilts up to the mighty statue. After a moment, it dissolves into the same spot where, years before, an unknown fighter danced jubilantly and raised his hands in his victory over life.

The scene freezes on Rocky’s leap of triumph.

Script change

It could have been that Morrison wasn’t quite on board with being the one who ends Rocky’s life. Ivan Drago [Dolph Lundgren] is held with infamy for what he had done to Apollo Creed [Carl Weathers] in Rocky IV.

But it seems Stallone was the one who firmly thought Rocky should not only survive but once again come out on top by knocking Gunn out.

It was the correct decision. In 2016, Stallone won his one and only major acting nod for his role as Balboa in the hit spin-off ‘Creed.’

Creed III was released in 2023 without involvement from Sylvester Stallone due to a long-running feud with Irwin Winkler.

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