The Inspirational Story of a Broke Sylvester Stallone Selling his Dog for $40 and Buying Him Back for $15,000

Have you heard the famous story of Butkus Stallone who was tragically separated from his human before being reunited and starring in the film Rocky? Sylvester Stallone got Butkus when he was just a tiny puppy in 1971. This is when he was a struggling actor and could barely afford food or housing for him or Butkus. But Butkus was there for him when he had no money and no friends, always keeping his spirits up.

Inspired by boxer Muhammed Ali, he wrote the script for the original Rocky film. While confident his script would make an amazing film, movie studios didn’t feel the same way. The few studios that did like the script, wanted to buy, rewrite it and hire a famous actor to play the lead. They thought he didn’t have what it takes to be the star, being unknown in Hollywood and having his now-signature vocal slur he had since birth.

Despite being offered around $1 million (at today’s rate) for the movie rights, Stallone was determined to achieve his dream of creating it his way. But times got worse for him, getting to the point of not having enough money for food for him or Butkus. He was then made the heart-breaking choice to sell his only friend, getting $40 from a stranger he met outside a 7-11.

Sylvester Stallone - dog - Butkus Stallone

Then a miracle happened soon after and he was able to sell his script with his as the writer and the lead. He tracked down the man who bought Butkus, who knew Stallone was desperate to get him back. He ended up paying $15,000 to get him and even cast the man in a small role in Rocky. And with the smaller budget, Butkus even got to his first acting job as Rocky’s pet. The movie went on to be nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning three. The 6-film franchise has earned more than a $1 billion worldwide, along with making Stallone one of the most recognized actors in Hollywood.

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