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Sylvester Stallone Nearly Died in ‘Rocky IV’ Fight: Dolph Lundgren ‘Pulverized’ and Hospitalized Him

Stallone was hospitalized for four days after his heart swelled due to a punch from co-star Lundgren.

ROCKY IV, Sylvester Stallone, 1985, © United Artists/courtesy Everett Collection

Sylvester Stallone, “Rocky IV”

©United Artists/Courtesy Everett Collection

Sylvester Stallone marked the release of his “Rocky IV: Rocky vs. Drago” director’s cut with a behind-the-scenes documentary released on his YouTube channel. The video is stirring up buzz for Stallone’s revelation that he nearly died filming an iconic fight scene opposite Dolph Lundgren. The fight resulted in Stallone being hospitalized for four days before he could return to set and continue filming the fight scene. Lundgren’s punch that landed Stallone in the hospital made it into the final cut of the film.

“The first thing we shot [was] my entrance, [Lundgren’s] entrance, and the introductions and then I got really injured during the fight and I had to be flown into intensive care to California from Canada,” Stallone said. “[Lundgren] pulverized me. And I didn’t feel it in the moment but later that night my heart started to swell. My blood pressure went up to 260 and I was going to be talking to angels. Next thing I know I’m on this emergency, low-altitude flight. I’m in intensive care surrounded by nuns and then after that, I had to go back and finish the fight.”

When asked why the punch that landed him in the hospital remained in the film, Stallone responded, “How could you take that out?”

“Rocky IV” was released in 1985 and was written and directed by Stallone. The cast also included Burt Young, Talia Shire, Carl Weathers, Tony Burton, Brigitte Nielsen, and Michael Pataki. Although it received a mixed critical response, the film grossed $300 million worldwide to become one of the biggest sports movies ever made. With the film celebrating its 40th anniversary, Stallone went ahead and re-edited the project into what is now being released as “The Ultimate Director’s Cut.”

The director’s cut of “Rocky IV” is playing in theaters for one night only on November 11, courtesy of Fathom Events. The new version has been touted as “delivering 40 minutes of never-before-seen footage” from the movie. The synopsis adds: “The fight scenes are more intense, the music is more powerful and the drama is heightened as world heavyweight champion Rocky Balboa (Stallone) must defend his title once again, this time against his most formidable opponent: Ivan Drago (Lundgren).” The new edit will be available on VOD starting November 12.

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