Rocky is a 1976 American drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. It is the first installment in the Rocky franchise. It also stars Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, and Burgess Meredith. In the film, Rocky Balboa, an uneducated, small-time club fighter and debt collector gets an unlikely shot at the world heavyweight championship held by Apollo Creed. Rocky entered development in March 1975, after Stallone wrote the screenplay in three days. It entered a complicated production process after Stallone refused to allow the film to be made without him in the lead role; United Artists eventually agreed to cast Stallone after he rejected a six figure deal for the film rights. Principal photography began in January 1976, with filming primarily held in Philadelphia; several locations featured in the film, such as the Rocky Steps, are now considered cultural landmarks.