Rocky’s Philadelphia: How The City Has Changed From 1976 To 2015


Striking Differences In The Skyline, Benjamin Franklin Parkway & More

Beloved boxer Rocky Balboa might be surprised if he ran up the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps today and turned around, arms raised in triumph, to see the city’s gleaming skyline. It’s remarkably different from the modest skyline he looked out on in the original 1976 film, which welcomes its seventh installment, the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema drama Creed, to theaters just before Thanksgiving. The fictional fighter could be forgiven for not recognizing the tall buildings on both sides of the river, beautiful parks along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the addition of the Barnes Foundation and the many other attractions and amenities built in Philadelphia over the past nearly 40 years.

Here’s a look at how some of the places featured in the original Rocky film have changed since 1976:

  • The Skyline: In 1976, the tallest building in Philadelphia was City Hall. Today, the 58-story Comcast Center, completed in 2007, crowns the city’s skyline. It also holds the designation of the tallest building between New York and Chicago. Next up for the city: the 59-story Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, which will be the eighth-tallest building in the United States.
  • Benjamin Franklin Parkway: Perhaps the most notable addition to the Parkway in recent years is the Barnes Foundation, home to one of the world’s most important collections of impressionist, post-impressionist and early modern paintings. Other new additions since the 1970s include: Sister Cities Park and Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building. In June 2014, The Franklin Institute opened the doors to its 53,000-square-foot Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, and in September 2015, Pope Francis will preside over a mass on those famed Art Museum steps for more than a million people.
  • Italian Market: In the original Rocky film, the Italian Market boasted mostly Italian merchants, showcasing fresh seafood, mouthwatering pastas, local vegetables and decadent pastries. Today’s vendors hail from all parts of the world, with strong representation from Mexico, Vietnam, Cambodia and other countries.
  • South Philly Sports Complex: In 1976, the Spectrum, where Rocky fought, and Veterans Stadium served Philadelphia’s sports teams. Although these legendary arenas no longer stand, three new venues play host to four of the city’s major-league teams: Wells Fargo Center (Sixers and Flyers), Lincoln Financial Field (Eagles) and Citizens Bank Park (Phillies).
  • Broad Street: Part of his training run took Rocky down Broad Street, now often referred to as the Avenue of the Arts. That’s because it’s now a cultural hotspot with places like the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Merriam Theater, The Wilma Theater and the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

About the film:

Creed explores a new chapter in the Rocky story and stars Academy Award nominee Sylvester Stallone in his iconic role.  The film also reunites Coogler with his “Fruitvale Station” star Michael B. Jordan as the son of Apollo Creed.  Also starring are Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad and English pro boxer and former three-time ABA Heavyweight Champion Anthony Bellew.  Coogler directs from a screenplay he wrote with Aaron Covington, based on characters from the “Rocky” series written by Sylvester Stallone.  The film is being produced by Robert Chartoff, Irwin Winkler, Charles Winkler, William Chartoff, David Winkler, Sylvester Stallone and Kevin King Templeton, with Nicholas Stern executive producing.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures present, in association with New Line Cinema, a Chartoff Winkler Production, Creed.  Opening on November 25, 2015, the film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, with select international territories as well as all television distribution being handled by MGM.

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