'Rocky' runners unite!

94813__rocky_lI’ve only skimmed it, and already I’m in love with the book Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope, and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps. (It had me at the title.) Two Pulitzer Prize-winners from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Michael Vitez and Tom Gralish, spent a year at the Philadelphia Museum of Art interviewing and photographing "Rocky runners," fans who climb the stairs and strike Sylvester Stallone’s famous pose.

It may sound like a movie tie-in, but it’s not. It’s just a fascinating testament to how the words "Rocky" and "underdog" are still interchangeable 30 years after the film’s release. The 52 stories range from the expected (businessmen celebrating a deal; a bridal party on its way to the reception; survivors of disease, addiction, and other heartaches) to the unexpected (Flavor Flav, who had to be coached on how to "Rocky" by the director of a documentary on his life — nice).

In the foreword, Stallone suggests a reason why people still run the steps: "You can’t borrow Superman’s cape. You can’t use the Jedi laser sword. But the steps are there. The steps are accessible."

Have you run the Rocky Steps? Which movie locations have you made pilgrimages to?

addCredit(“Rocky: United Artists/Photofest”)


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  • ag

    I’ve run up the Rocky steps. Well, to be fair, I’ve panted and struggled up the Rocky steps but still…
    I went to the cafe in Santa Monica where De Niro and Pacino filmed their first on-screen scene in “Heat”. And I’ve been to The Dresden (from “Swingers”). I’ve been to the harbourside bar that Chris Elliot and Ben Stiller go to in “There’s Something About Mary”. And to the bridge where Chief Brody spies the shark swimming into “the pond” in “Jaws”.
    And I’ve met that crazy guy on rollerblades with the red & white striped electric guitar who appears in “Point of No Return” and “White Men Can’t Jump” who is apparently a colorful local figure in Venice Beach.

  • anon

    The Art Insitute of Chicago where they filmed Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off communing with pointillism.

  • Rebecca

    I have run the ‘Rocky’ steps, even though i’m not a fan of the films. But when you are in Philly, there are things you have to do – see the Liberty Bell and running those stairs are just two.
    I’ve been to the little town in Georgia where ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ was filmed; the Whistle Stop Cafe still serves great food. I used to live near the old Detroit train station featured in ‘8 Mile’ and ‘The Island’. And in 3 months i’m going to New Zealand to see many of the locations where ‘Lord of the Rings’ was filmed.

  • Elizabeth

    I went to Katz’s deli in NYC where Sally had her famous scene in When Harry Met Sally. You know what I’m talking about.

  • sb

    While my then-boyfriend (now husband) was attending Georgetown University, we visited the famous staircase from The Exorcist. It is extremely steep and narrow (not a visual trick) — and totally creepy. Worth a visit if you’re ever in D.C.

  • Rahul

    Griffin Observatory – ‘Rebel Without a Cause’

  • Chris

    The Home Alone house north of Chicago. It’s tiny!!

  • Paul

    Is this Heaven? Now it’s Iowa.
    The Field Of Dreams in Iowa-
    On a trip out west we went two hours out of our way to play some baseball in the world’s most famous cornfield. Everything is still there, the house, the bleachers, the lights. It’s a must for every sports and movie fan.

  • steph

    Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii where Jurassic Park was filmed and the set of Lost out on Oahu’s North Shore.

  • MIMI

    I was lucky enough to attend a luncheon at The Regent Beverly Wilshire from “Pretty Woman”. The sidewalk isn’t as wide as it looks in the movie, but the hotel is beautiful. If you’re in LA, drive down Rodeo Drive. It isn’t nearly as wide as it looks on TV.

  • sj

    “Musso & Franks” in Hollywood. I went there, and *then* recognized it in “Ocean’s Eleven” (from the wallpaper and the china).
    It’s really weird to see locations you know well in television or film. Mammoth Mountain has been used in “Smallville” (as the Swiss Alps!), and was the setting of an episode of “Newlyweds.” I spent the whole time yelling at the screen – “that is *not* the inside of the buiding they just walked into!”

  • cn

    The world has waited far too long for another installment in the Rocky series. While I patiently wait, I’m going to buy a plane ticket to Philly and run the steps continuously until the film opens. Yo, Adrian!

  • Dave

    I run ‘em every day! May not strike the pose at the top, and it helps that I live 5 blocks down the street, but it’s the best free exercise in Philly!

  • Julie

    I live in Philly so I have run up the art museum stairs a few times, but more importantly I have run DOWN the stairs at the New York Public Library a la Ghostbusters.
    “Did you see it? What was it?!”
    “We’ll get back to you!”

  • Phil

    I’m a Philly Native too, and pretty much everytime you’re atop those fabled steps, you kinda can’t help having a “Rocky” moment. Its not so much as throwing your hands up like Balboa, you just think about the movie and that character.
    But as far as other popular movie locales, my younger sister went to Georgetown University and actually lived on the same street as the eerie steps from the first “Exorcist” movie in DC. My friends & I stayed at her place on New Years Eve a few years ago & my one friend who is a huge horror movie fan, about died when I told him what was across the street! He insisted we go out on new Years morning so he could take pictures of them, which until that point I had no clue of the significance of the steps in the film, I just knew about them from my sister. Taking pictures of those steps made my friend’s New Years day.

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