are certain films that hold a unique place in history… and Hollywood
had better keep their grubby, remaking mitts off of them! While the
trend to “re-imagine” or “re-envision” everything around them has been
going on for some time, these films have so far managed to escape the
fate of some of their less fortunate compatriots. I speak of course

The 25 Movies They’d Better Never Remake.

These films are not just near and dear to our
hearts, they should be considered OFF-LIMITS to those jerks at the
studios. The films on this list were special when they premiered and
continue to be so today, and we’re going to explain why they shouldn’t
be remade – as well as why they can’t be. So enough jabbering, on with
the list!

ROCKY (1976)

DIRECTED BY: John G. Avildsen
STARRING: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Burgess Meredith, Carl Weathers, Tony Burton.


Rocky Balboa (Stallone) is a local Philadelphia club fighter and debt collector for a loan shark who gets the opportunity of a lifetime to challenge the undefeated world heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed (Weathers) for the title.  Rocky is at first reluctant, because he knows his limitations as a fighter, but ultimately accepts the offer.  Rocky has little hope of defeating Creed; rather, he’ll be good to just go the distance with the Champ, something no other fighter has ever done.  Rocky is approached by former fighter and local gym owner, Mickey Goldmill (Meredith), whom Rocky resents somewhat for never taking real interest in him “in his prime”, with an offer to train him.  Rocky ends up accepting Mickey’s offer, though, and undergoes a torturous training regiment, which includes drinking raw eggs and pounding slabs of beef at the local meat packing plant, courtesy of Rocky’s friend, Paulie (Young).

Rocky also begins dating Paulie’s shy sister, Adrian, who is a clerk at a local pet store, and who also has a volatile relationship with her brother.  Rocky’s kindheartedness draws Adrian out of her shell and the two find strength in each other’s company: Rocky to transcend his limitations in preparation for the fight, and Adrian to finally stand up to her abusive brother.  When the fight finally occurs, Creed, a flamboyant and overconfident champion, gets his first wake up call when Rocky scores a surprise knockdown in the first round.  From then on, Creed knows he’s in for a real fight and, despite his obviously superior skills in the ring, is unable to put away the gritty challenger.  The fight does indeed go the distance, and at the end, both men, battered beyond belief, agree that there will be no rematch.  Although Rocky loses the fight in split decision, he’s already won, because he achieved his goal to take the champ to the limit, and has won Adrian’s heart – in one of the most stirring conclusions in film history – in the process.


Well, there’s the obvious: that Rocky is simply a fantastic film, one of the all-time great inspirational stories, touchstones of Americana, the American dream and a tribute to the working class.  Balboa is an everyman who pursues his dream with gritty determination, hard work and belief in himself.  Stallone’s script and portrayal are deeply affecting, and the cast, populated by several relative unknowns, including Stallone, all give memorable performances.  Rocky was the little film that could, earning three Oscars, including Best Picture, and is one of the most profitable and popular films in history.  Rocky Balboa is an American film icon and the film is still highly regarded as a classic nearly four decades later. 

Balboa is Stallone’s signature role and a true original.  Someone else trying to portray Balboa would be like someone else trying to portray older Vito Corleone or Han Solo or George Bailey.  There are just some characters that are and will always be associated with the actor portraying him, and Balboa is one of those.  The film is populated with many original and noteworthy moments, which have been frequently lampooned and outright copied for decades.  Just as memorable is Bill Conti’s score, which is instantly recognizable and one of the all time great pieces of film music. 
Rocky is a product of its time and one of the more unique real-life film stories ever to come down the Hollywood pike. 

The film not only launched an iconic American film character, but also the career of its star and creator.  As Stallone has progressed, Balboa has progressed, and not always for the better.  The careers of both men have mirrored each other in fact.  In the first film, Balboa and Stallone come out of virtually nowhere to capture the imagination of the world.  In II, they returned to prove that the first go-round wasn’t a fluke.  By III, both men were on top of the world.  By IV, Stallone was at his peak, one of the biggest stars in the world; Balboa was still champ…and Brigitte Nielsen was making both of their lives difficult.  By V, both suffered downturns that would take years from which to recover.  Flash forward to Rocky Balboa, and both men find redemption in the eyes of the public.  Balboa is Stallone and vice versa; and no other actor could ever possibly have the relationship with Balboa that Stallone has had.  The two entities are intertwined for as long as people will watch film.  Rocky cannot be meaningfully remade.

  • That first grimy fight in the sweaty, decrepit boxing hall.
  • Training in the meat packing plant.
  • Gonna fly now. / The Steps of the Philly museum of Art.
  • The Fight.
  • “I love you!”  “I luv you!”

Honestly, who could possibly recreate Balboa to make him distinctive, but still an homage to the original?  Any attempt to portray a punchy Philly fighter with a big heart is going to come off as derivative at best and laughably asinine at worst.  Balboa isn’t an icon simply because of his story, but also his mannerisms and how Stallone portrayed him on film.  You know Balboa the second you hear him talk.  I see anybody else try to utter the words “Yo, Adrian”, I reach for the remote or head for the exit.  Come on, you’re not reproducing this.  You’re just not.

Bay’s been producing remakes all over town, using his Platinum Dunes
company as a front. So naturally he’d be the logical choice to spearhead
any attempt at remaking this classic. How would it pan out, you ask?

  • Rocky would be running up the steps with bullets flying / explosions going off.
  • When Rocky was getting his ass beat
    by Creed the worst, he’d take a ball of VX, shove it in Creed’s mouth,
    land an uppercut, then whip out the atropine.
  • In Rocky IV, Drago would be a crazy Russian boxer who hasn’t talked to anybody in 18 months.
  • President Ford would have some rousing speech somewhere.
  • If Stallone broke his hand during the film, Bay would simply write it into the script.
  • Rocky and Adrian reaffirm their
    undying love for each other in Rocky II and then she’s replaced by a
    Victoria’s Secret model in Rocky III.
  • Rocky III: At the first fight, Rocky
    says he’ll try to beat Clubber.  Paulie tells him that losers complain
    about trying, winners go home and fuck the prom queen.
  • Rocky V: When Rocky comes back from Russia, not only is Rocky, Jr. much older but a special ops commando or some shit.
  • Rocky: Nicolas Cage.

  • Reportedly, in an earlier draft of the script, Mickey was going to be a racist and Rocky was going to throw the fight.
  • This is one of the first films to utilize Garrett Brown’s Steadicam.
  • Stallone had to include dialogue to address the real-life inconsistency in the promo material for Rocky’s trunk colors and for the size of his robe, which was too big.
  • Susan Sarandon was considered for the role of Adrian, but reportedly dropped because she was too pretty.
Rebuttal: None, we agree.

Discuss this on our message boards.