To commemorate Thursday’s one-day-only theatrical release of Rocky IV: Rocky vs. Drago – The Ultimate Director’s Cut (yes, it’s really called that), Sylvester Stallone dropped a whopping 90-minute long documentary on the making of the ’80s classic that essentially distilled the Cold War into a boxing match, as was the custom of the time. In the behind-the-scenes video, Stallone reveals a fascinating nugget regarding the film’s iconic fight with Dolph Lundgren‘s Ivan Drago, namely that the Swedish actor — playing Russian, because… sure — punched Stallone so hard that the Rocky star nearly died.
According to Stallone, the situation was so dire that he had to be flown on an emergency flight that had nuns on-board in case he didn’t make it. Via IndieWire:
“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.”
As Stallone goes on to reveal, he was in the hospital for four days after getting pummeled by Lundgren, but he was adamant that the shot that nearly killed him be used in the final cut of the film. “How could you take that out?” Stallone quipped in the documentary that’s practically its own movie.