Sylvester Stallone Reveals How Dolph Lundgren Stopped His Heart On Rocky IV

Sylvester Stallone has built several franchises throughout the years, but few rank higher in people's minds than Rocky. Stallone has brought the character of Rocky Balboa from small beginnings in the original Rocky and Rocky II to success in Rocky III and down to Earth again in Rocky IV and V. He's also explored the character's older years in Rocky Balboa and now the Creed films, but amidst all of that time as Rocky one of the most memorable outings is Rocky IV, and that's easy to understand once you know that the actor's heart was stopped literally by his opponent Dolph Lundgren.

Lundgren played the role of a Russian fighter named Ivan Drago in the film, and Stallone always wanted as many real punches as possible to keep things looking realistic on film. As Stallone revealed in a conversation at Cannes, that method managed to get him sent to the hospital (via THR).

Stallone spoke about one incident on the set of Rocky IV in which Lundgren hit him so hard Balboa's heart almost stopped, and he had to be rushed to the hospital's intensive care unit. It's funny now because he survived, and Lundgren evidently takes this as a badge of honor. This fit perfectly with Stallone's initial impression of Lundgren when he auditioned for the role, quipping "Dolph Lundgren walked in and I hated him immediately. Oh yeah, he's perfect."

While the method almost backfired, thankfully he was okay and it worked great onscreen. The Rocky series is known for its thrilling boxing, and that film definitely kept up the franchise's rich tradition.

Since then Rocky has gone on to help train Apollo Creed's son in the Creed films, though at Cannes he also brought up another idea he had for a new Rocky.


"[Rocky] finds this fella in the country illegally and it becomes a whole thing,” Stallone said. “That could be different. You throw him [Rocky] out of the country and into another world.”

Rocky hasn't fought in a ring since Rocky Balboa, but he's shown that he has significant value in being a mentor and friend, and that would definitely be an interesting direction to take the franchise if he wants to do another one that is. For now, fans can watch him alongside Michael B. Jordan in Creed and Creed II, as well as the original Rocky franchise.