The Rocky Statue is a bronze statue of the character Rocky Balboa, played by Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky movie series. The statue is located at the bottom of the “Rocky steps” of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which was featured in the movie as the location of Rocky’s famous training montage. Let’s take a look (feel free to hum a few bars of Gotta Fly Now, Eye of the Tiger, or even Living in America – depending on your preference for Rocky music).
Commissioned by Sylvester Stallone after the release of Rocky III in 1982, the Rocky statue initially stood atop the Art Museum steps before being moved to the Spectrum sports arena, and later to the bottom of the steps. Weighing around 2,000 pounds and measuring 8 feet tall, the statue was created by artist A. Thomas Schomberg, who is known for other sports statues across the country.
Critics question the appropriateness of honoring a fictional character over real-life contributors to the city, while some view the statue as lacking dignity and promoting a narrow, stereotypical view of Philadelphians as working-class. Others associate the statue with the commercialization and negative sequels of the Rocky franchise.
Despite criticism, the statue remains a beloved symbol of Philadelphia and a reminder of Rocky’s underdog spirit. Millions of tourists visit each year, recreating Rocky’s famous run up the steps. The statue has become an essential part of the city’s cultural heritage and a testament to the enduring appeal of the Rocky movies.
I appreciated this pretty good grift by this guy wearing an “Event Staff” jacket (there was no event) and a “Security” beanie (there is nothing to secure). He’s there to take your photo with Rocky with your cell phone or camera for a few dollars in tips.
The steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art have become an iconic landmark for visitors to the city in their own right. The steps were the finale of the famous training montage scene in which Rocky Balboa runs up the steps and raises his arms in triumph at the top.
We covered the statue already, but the steps themselves are worth appreciating on their own merits. The steps were designed by architect Julian Abele and were inspired by the steps leading up to the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. They were completed in 1928 and are made of granite.
There are a total of 72 steps in the main staircase.
Many visitors come to the steps to recreate Rocky’s iconic run, but others come to use the stairs for their own workouts. The stairs are often packed with runners, walkers, and other fitness enthusiasts looking to challenge themselves.
The steps have also become a popular spot for events and gatherings. Every year, the city of Philadelphia hosts a Rocky Run, a 5K and 10-mile race that ends at the steps. Participants dress up in Rocky-inspired outfits, with some even carrying a boombox blaring the famous theme song, “Gonna Fly Now.”
In addition to the Rocky Run, the steps have been used for other events such as art installations and concerts. The steps were even transformed into a gigantic piano for the movie “Big,” in which Tom Hanks famously played “Heart and Soul” and “Chopsticks” with his feet.
The steps have also played a role in political protests and rallies over the years. In 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech on the steps as part of his nonviolent protest for equal rights.
More recently, the steps were used as the backdrop for a massive demonstration during the Democratic National Convention in 2016. Thousands of protesters marched up the steps to demand action on issues such as climate change and social justice.
Today I was able to witness this celebration of an engagement at the top of the steps. Even the dog is jumping for joy!
Those who reach the top are given a stunning view of the city skyline looking down Ben Franklin Parkway.
When it comes to public art, don’t forget to visit the Love sculpture at Love Park a little farther up the Ben Franklin Parkway.
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