Sylvester Stallone returns to Philadelphia and shares top frustration: ‘Not getting the opportunity to fail’

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Sylvester Stallone’s iconic character, Rocky Balboa, is still resonating with audiences 47 years after his debut in 1976, and now fans can gather in celebration of the beloved fictional boxer on a dedicated day.

Dec. 3 marked the inaugural “Rocky Day” in Philadelphia, with festivities led by Stallone.

“Life is a fight,” he said in a speech to the thousands gathered at the base of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where Rocky famously and triumphantly runs up the steps while training in the film. 

“It’s a tough fight and get ready,” he continued. “You’re going to win some and you’re gonna lose a lot. But the real victory is in never giving up and going the distance for yourself, your loved ones, and standing at the top of these steps you’re reminded that all things are possible.” 

SYLVESTER STALLONE SHARES VIDEO OF HIS VISIT TO THE ROCKY BALBOA STATUE IN PHILADELPHIA WITH HIS FAMILY

“Keep punching!” he concluded with cheers from the crowd.

Speaking with Fox News Digital, Stallone explained why the character still connects with people nearly five decades later.

“There are certain conundrums, issues, problems, journeys, challenges that everybody from every country, every culture has to face,” he said.  “And they may be somewhat different, but they usually deal with the same kind of — I just want to achieve something, I want people to be proud of me, I want to raise a family, I want to support my daughter. It’s this kind of fear — or [thinking] I’m really nobody inside. People look at me but, on the inside, I feel weak and shallow, that’s what the character was.” 

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Sylvester Stallone posing with the Rocky Statue

Stallone continued, “He even said, ‘I’m going to lose, I know I’m not good enough,’ and people may feel that way but at least they want to try.

“I think the biggest frustration on the planet is people not getting the opportunity to fail. Forget win, they may win, but at least give me a shot. And that’s the biggest frustration I think that universally binds this whole underdog situation. I could talk to a billionaire and he thinks he’s an underdog. It’s just ingrained in the psyche of humans.”

WATCH: SYLVESTER STALLONE EXPLAINS WHY ‘ROCKY’ RESONATES WITH AUDIENCES NEARLY 50 YEARS LATER

Stallone wrote and starred in “Rocky”, launching his film career and earning him Oscar nominations for best original screenplay and best actor.

The 77-year-old was reflective about his life and career at the ceremony, readily admitting to having “tons of regrets.”

Sylvester Stallone cuts the ceremonial ribbon on "Rocky Day" in Philadelphia.

“Usually it’s the kind of regrets that we all have, befriending people that didn’t like you as much, being involved with people you shouldn’t have been involved with, going left when you should have gone right, there’s tons of regrets,” he said. “Getting in fights, arguing with people that you should have been a little more gracious to, a little more compassionate with, [there are] tons of regrets.”

But it wasn’t all somber, as he added with a laugh, “Choosing some movies, big time regrets!”

WATCH: SYLVESTER STALLONE SHARES HE HAS ‘TONS OF REGRETS’

“Rocky” not only has a dedicated day, Dec. 3, but a dedicated “Sly Stallone Shop” inside the Parkway Visitor Center Outpost between the base of the steps and the Rocky statue, where visitors regularly recreate Rocky’s run to the top.

Stallone’s wife, Jennifer Flavin, was on hand to celebrate with her husband, telling Fox News Digital, “I just love Philadelphia, I love the people here, they’re amazing.”

Sylvester Stallone and Jennifer Flavin arrives at "Rocky Day" in Philadelphia.

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“It’s overwhelming,” she added, getting slightly emotional.

Chevy Chase, a long-time friend of Stallone’s was also at the event quipping to Fox News Digital that “the rain made me come!” (It was an unfortunately rainy day for the otherwise celebratory occasion.)

Chase then added Stallone is “a good old friend,” and noted that his friend did the mural at the location, saying “It’s a big deal and Sly loves it and I love him.”

The SNL star couldn’t resist one last joke when asked about the highlight of Stallone’s career, he teased, “We used to make love a lot.”

Sylvester Stallone and Chevy Chase pose for a photo on "Rocky Day".

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The outpouring from fans in attendance was overwhelming and included a new, young generation growing up with the movies.

One little boy, nine-year-old Ro Knight, went viral when he approached Stallone and performed almost word for word Rocky’s inspiring speech to his son from 2006’s “Rocky Balboa.”

The speech includes powerful lines like, “But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward” and Stallone joined the little boy in enthusiastically reciting the words together, concluding with a big hug.

WATCH: YOUNG FAN RECITES ‘ROCKY’ SPEECH WITH SYLVESTER STALLONE

Future generations will continue to love “Rocky,” and when asked if there would be another film in the series, Stallone said, “I wish.”

The rights to the “Rocky” series are currently held by Irwin Winkler, who produced the “Rocky” franchise and its sequel films in the “Creed” series. 

In a 2019 interview with Variety, Stallone claimed he initially asked for ownership rights after the second and third movie, and felt it was owed to him since he created the story. However, he was told this usually isn’t done in Hollywood. 

Sylvester Stallone posing on the steps in Philadelphia

“When I finally confronted them [just before ‘Rocky IV’ in 1985], I said, ‘Does it bother you guys that I’ve written every word, I’ve choreographed it, I’ve been loyal to you, I’ve promoted it, directed it and I don’t have 1% that I could leave for my children?’ And the quote was, ‘You got paid.’ And that was the end of the conversation,” Stallone told Variety in 2019.

In 2022, Stallone called Winkler out on Instagram, writing in a post, “After Irwin controlling ‘Rocky’ for over 47 years, and now ‘Creed’, I really would like to have at least a little [of] WHAT’S LEFT of my rights back, before passing it on to ONLY YOUR CHILDREN — I believe that would be a fair gesture from this 93-year-old gentleman?”

Fox News Digital’s Lori Bashian contributed to this report.

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