TV and Movies

When Sheffield became Cleveland, Ohio

F.I.S.T. is a movie. It was released in 1978 and starred Sylvester Stallone as a Cleveland warehouse worker who becomes involved in the labour union leadership of the fictional Federation of Inter-State Truckers (F.I.S.T.).

Directed by Norman Jewison, several other well-known actors and actresses appeared in F.I.S.T. They included Kevin Conway, Brian Dennehy, Rod Steiger, Melinda Dillon, Richard Herd, Peter Boyle, and Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis.

Most of the filming was done in Dubuque, Iowa, chosen because of its similarity to Cleveland of the 1930s, and because the city used cable TV instead of  TV aerials on its roofs.

But there were other locations used, including Washington, Wisconsin, Los Angeles, Culver City Studios, and… Sheffield.

The chances of seeing Sylvester Stallone in Sheffield were nil. His star was on the ascent after the success of Rocky, and he remained in the United States.

F.I.S.T.(1978). Directed by Norman Jewison. Opening credit. Image: United Artists

A glance at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) confirms Sheffield’s claim to fame, and the website, British Film Locations, had this to say: –

“For some inexplicable reason, this movie, which takes place entirely in the Midwest of America, features shots of Sheffield during its title sequence. Most of the Sheffield locations are unrecognisable now, due to redevelopment.”

Sheffield was seen as being suitably dismal with gloomy shots of Hawke Street, Leveson Street, Blast Lane, Carbrook Street, Hadfield Steelworks, Orgreave Coke Works, the canal towpath, and a fittingly dirty River Don. (Rotherham even managed to be represented as well).

F.I.S.T. was regarded a succesful movie, $20,388,920 on an $8 million budget,

By the way, Sylvester Stallone did eventually visit Sheffield.

In 2015, he gave a talk at Sheffield City Hall and even popped into Nonnas, on Ecclesall Road, for a meal afterwards.

Hawke Street. Image: British Film Locations
Leveson Street. Image: British Film Locations
Orgreave Coke Works. Image: British Film Locations
Canal towpath. Image: British Film Locations

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