Paradise Alley is a 1978 film about three brothers in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City in the 1940s who become involved in professional wrestling. It was written and directed by Sylvester Stallone, and was given the green light by Universal Pictures after Stallone’s success with 1976’s Rocky. Stallone also stars as Cosmo, one of the brothers, and sings the film’s title song.
This was the first major film in which Armand Assante appeared. A number of professional wrestlers also appeared, including Terry Funk as the foil to the hero. Cameos include Ted DiBiase, Bob Roop, Dick Murdoch, Dory Funk Jr., Don Leo Jonathan, Don Kernodle, Gene Kiniski, Dennis Stamp, Ray Stevens, and Uliuli Fifita. Playwright and screenwriter John Monks Jr appeared as Mickey the bartender.
Victor, the youngest and largest of the Carboni brothers (Cosmo and Lenny are the other two), becomes a local wrestler (named Kid Salami) at the request of Cosmo, who thinks there is big money to be made. Lenny agrees to manage his career. They look to Victor to win enough matches so they can get out of Hell’s Kitchen for good.
Each brother has his own style. Cosmo is a hustler and con-artist, always looking for the next easy buck. Lenny is the former war hero, now an undertaker who came back to the neighborhood with a limp and a bitter attitude. Victor is a gawky, strong, dumb yet sincere hulk of a man, who leaves his job hauling ice up tenement stairways once he is persuaded to become a wrestler.
Initially, it is Cosmo that dominates the proceedings, aggressively encouraging Victor to wrestle against the wishes of his girlfriend. Lenny is at first unsure of all this, and constantly tries to warn off Victor, reminding him that he could get hurt. As the story progresses, the roles begin to reverse. Cosmo becomes concerned for Victor’s welfare and feels guilty about getting him into this while Lenny becomes ever more keen to exploit Victor as far as he can. Lenny seems to undergo a complete personality change, losing his cool demeanor and becoming an aggressive, manipulative high roller.
Summary via Wikipedia.