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Statues & Fountains

Rocky Balboa Statue - Tribute to down and out club fighter named Rocky Balboa who defeats the reigning heavy weight boxing champion of the world in the sports film Rocky (1976) starring Sylvester Stallone.

Rocky Balboa at the Spectrum Sports Arena

To prepare for this big fight, Rocky Balboa began a training regimen of early morning runs through the streets of South Philly that culminated atop the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

As Rocky finished running up the Museum's 72-step entrance, he raised his arms in triumph. Since then, thousands of visitors to Philadelphia have climbed the stairs and raised their arms in triumph, as well.

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

In 1982, Sylvester Stallone returned to Philadelphia in the sequel Rocky III. Part of the film included a scene where Rocky Balboa dedicates a 9-foot-tall 1,500-pound bronze statue of himself that was to remain in front of the Art Museum.

Unfortunately,  "reel" life met "real" life when the Museum of Art refused the Stallone's gift statue and declared it was not "art" but just an ugly "movie prop." The Rocky statue was the creation of Denver artist A. Thomas Schomberg.

The huge public debate that ensued over where to put the statue elicited such suggestions as "Put it near the Liberty Bell" and "Dump it in the Schuylkill." (a local river) .

Eventually, the statue was placed at the entrance of the Wachovia  Spectrum, a Philadelphia sports arena at 11th and Pattison streets.

In 1991, the statue was temporarily placed atop the Museum steps once again for the film sequel Rocky V but it was soon returned to its place of honor at the Spectrum.

On May 16, 2003, the International Institute for Sport and Olympic History (IISOH), a non-profit educational, literary and research corporation listed the Rocky statue on eBAY for $5 million in its first major fundraising event.

The statue for sale was one of three made for the Rocky III film. The Rocky #1 statue originally stood in front of the Spectrum. Rocky #2 resides at a IISOH museum in State College, Pennsylvania, and Rocky #3 was sold at auction to a private benefactor.

Rocky Statue below the Philadelphia Art Museum

On September 7th, 2006,  the Philadelphia Art Commission placed the statue of Rocky at the foot of Eakins Oval next to the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps so visitors had easy access to the famous statue.

The Rocky #1 statue has also been seen in such films as Trading Places with Eddie Murphy, Mannequin with Andrew McCarthy and Philadelphia with Tom Hanks.


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