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F.I.S.T. (1978) Poster

(1978)

Trivia

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The Cleveland scenes were filmed in Dubuque, Iowa, partly because the houses and buildings still had rooftop television antennas, as cable television was not yet available in the city, and it fit the period of the film.
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The scene where the company sign was pulled down in front of the factory could only be filmed once. They only had one sign, which could not be replaced if it was damaged.
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Newly a big star, Sylvester Stallone was frequently hounded, screamed at, and sought out to be touched by fans during principal photography on this picture. Thousands of fans from more than one hundred miles away gathered daily to filming locations in Dubuque, Iowa chanting "Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!" from behind rope and police barriers, and frequently only a block away from the on-set filming. Reportedly, Stallone would make about three pilgrimages a day to the security barriers to shake hands with fans, pose for photos taken with their Instamatic cameras, let some of the more daring kiss him. When time did not allow for signing autographs, Stallone apparently would say: "You'd only lose it. A handshake lasts forever!"
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The picture is loosely based on the Teamsters Union and the life of union boss Jimmy Hoffa who fourteen years later would himself be the subject of the movie biopic Hoffa (1992), where the title character would be portrayed by Jack Nicholson.
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Was filmed in Dubuque, Iowa.
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First of two collaborations of Rod Steiger and Sylvester Stallone who were reunited sixteen years later for The Specialist (1994).
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Actors Richard Herd, Peter Donat, and James Karen also appeared in The China Syndrome (1979).
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First of two collaborations of Sylvester Stallone and Brian Dennehy who both later starred in First Blood (1982) four years later. The pair are both also credited with thank you credits for Son of Rambow (2007).
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Debut produced screenplay of Hollywood screenwriter Joe Eszterhas.
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The film's director Norman Jewison once said of this movie in an interview: "Somehow I failed. Maybe it was the casting".
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Almost fifty American cities were location scouted for principal shooting until the town of Dubuque, Iowa, with a population of around 60,700, was chosen by director Norman Jewison and his staff. Dubuque, Iowa was chosen because it could resemble Cleveland, Ohio during the 1930s and 1940s.
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Norman Jewison said of Sylvester Stallone for this film's publicity: "Stallone isn't just a movie star to those fans. He has become a cult hero to them. They identify with him as they do with rock stars, like Elvis Presley or The Beatles. They're more reserved with other film stars, who seem less approachable. They think of Stallone, like Rocky, as part of them. He's very open."
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The film's title acronym "F.I.S.T." stands for any of the following wordings: "Federated Inter-State Truckers"; "Federation of Interstate Truckers"; "Federated Interstate Truckers"; and "Federation of Inter-State Truckers". Sylvester Stallone's Johnny Kovak character says of the acronym during the early days of the truckers' federation: "It ain't a bunch of letters like any other union. It says 'Fist'. One fist - - that's what we are!"
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The film's cinematographer László Kovács and the movie's central character Johnny Kovak (played by Sylvester Stallone) had similarly sounding last names.
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Sylvester Stallone was touted to possibly receive a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his dramatic performance in this film but this did not happen.
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First movie that Sylvester Stallone starred in after his box-office hit, and multi Academy Award winning boxing movie Rocky (1976).
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Sylvester Stallone played the film's central character of Johnny Kovak who's seen in the movie over a period of twenty years.
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Apart from a title that is an acronym for a truckers' union, the movie's "F.I.S.T." name is also a play on words double-entendre (and apparently unintentional) evoking star Sylvester Stallone's previous box-office hit film and multi Academy Award Best Picture winning boxing movie Rocky (1976) because boxing requires punching with one's "fists".
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Second of four collaborations of Rod Steiger and Norman Jewison. Jewison directed Steiger in this film as well as in The Hurricane (1999), and In the Heat of the Night (1967), the latter of which Steiger won the Best Actor in a Leading Role Academy Award. Steiger also co-starred in the Jewison produced The January Man (1989).
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One of several collaborations of Norman Jewison and Producer Patrick J. Palmer.
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Rod Steiger previously portrayed a labor union enemy to Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront (1954) and in F.I.S.T. (1978) Steiger again portrayed a labor union enemy but this time opposite to Sylvester Stallone. The two pictures were made and released twenty-four years apart.
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Debut theatrical feature film of actor David Huffman who played Abe Belkin.
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The movie was scored by Bill Conti who had composed the Oscar winning music score for Sylvester Stallone's Rocky (1976). F.I.S.T. (1978) is one of around ten collaborations of the pair and one of just a handful of non-Rocky franchise films scored by Conti and starring Stallone with the others being Lock Up (1989), Victory (1981), and Paradise Alley (1978).
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Norman Jewison had previously auditioned and then rejected Sylvester Stallone for the role of James Caan''s sidekick in Jewison's previous picture Rollerball (1975).
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Norman Jewison ran into Sylvester Stallone a day after Jewison attended a private pre-released screening of Rocky (1976). Jewison said: "After predicting that Rocky (1976) would be a big success, something that many were questioning at the time, I asked him (Stallone) if he'd like to read the script of my next picture [F.I.S.T. (1978)]. He took it home and called me the next day to say that he wanted to do it. All we had was a verbal agreement. But he kept it. I have to respect him for that. I understand that he was later offered more than a million dollars to do another film instead".
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Sylvester Stallone in publicity for the film said of comparisons between his characters of Rocky Balboa in his previous film Rocky (1976) and Johnny Kovak in this his then next film: "They are alike only in that Rocky [Balboa] and Johnny Kovak come from the street. Each, in his own way, is an underdog who becomes a winner. The difference is that Rocky would always be a contender, always a follower. Kovak was born to be a leader of his domain, a leader of men. He controls their destinies instead of being controlled by them. He's a much more intelligent guy than Rocky".
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The Wikipedia website states that, according to an article entitled 'Stallone Wins Heavyweight-Purse' by Gregg Kilday published in the April 2, 1977 edition of the Los Angeles Times, reportedly, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas was paid 85,000 dollars for writing the original screenplay while Stallone received 150,000 dollars also for screen-writing and 350,000 dollars for acting, totaling to a 500,000 dollar pay packet for Stallone for the picture.
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The movie's opening title card states: "Cleveland, 1937".
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Director Norman Jewison and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas worked on the film's screenplay for about a year. The Wikipedia website states that, according to an article entitled 'Stallone Wins Heavyweight-Purse' by Gregg Kilday published in the April 2, 1977 edition of the Los Angeles Times, Sylvester Stallone rewrote Joe Eszterhas' script, saying "Joe Eszterhas wrote a script that was nearly four hundred pages and was more of a novel than a shootable screenplay. A great deal of work was done by myself, along with Norman Jewison, to hammer it into shape, but Joe had conceived a great concept".
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Campaign banners for Johnny Kovak (Sylvester Stallone) boasted such headline slogans as "KOVAK", "Win with Kovak" and "Johnny's Our Man!".
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Norman Jewison directed Rocky (1976) star Sylvester Stallone in this picture. Stallone has played the legendary boxer character Rocky Balboa seven times in movies. Jewison directed his movie about a boxer starring Denzel Washington called The Hurricane (1999) twenty-one years after F.I.S.T. (1978).
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

In the final scene of the film, a truck driving on a highway is seen from the back. The camera slowly moves in to a bumper sticker on the back of the truck which reads "Where's Johnny?". This is a reference to an actual bumper sticker that was seen after the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa (who was the model for Sylvester Stallone's character in this film.). After Hoffa's disappearance on July 30, 1975, trucks started displaying a bumper sticker which read "Where's Jimmy?".
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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