From the gritty gangster drama Lords of Flatbush to the balls-to-the-wall action films Rambo and Demolition Man, Sylvester Stallone has entertained fans for decades. Check out these 10 of his best movies to get a feel for his impressive acting abilities. Stallone stars as Gabe Tucker, a mountain climber haunted by the death of his friend in this 1993 film. It’s a cheesy, yet enjoyable movie.
One of the best movies by Sylvester Stallone, Rocky is a sports drama about a poor Philadelphia boxer who is given a shot at stardom. The movie isn’t perfect, but it features some brilliant writing and an iconic performance by Stallone. It’s a film that anyone who considers themselves a Stallone fan should watch at least once.
Stallone followed Rocky with a series of macho action films that met with varying degrees of success. While Cobra (1986) and Over the Top (1987) weren’t great, the sequels to both Rocky and Rambo wowed audiences. The third installment, Rocky III, is a fun and stylish entry in the franchise that boasts some of Stallone’s finest acting work. He’s especially good during the final fight with a ruthless Russian henchman, when his character laments all of the hatred he suffered in Vietnam.
After he scored with 1976’s Best Picture Oscar winner, Rocky, Sylvester Stallone tried his hand at a few movies that weren’t about bulging biceps. One of those gnula films, First Blood, was a gritty thriller about Vietnam War veteran John Rambo fighting to protect a native village from ruthless government soldiers. It starred Richard Crenna as his mentor Sam Trautman and Brian Dennehy as Sheriff Teasle.
Directed by Ted Kotcheff, this story set in the wilds of northern British Columbia is a high-octane action thriller with plenty of shootouts and explosions. But unlike many of its ilk, this film also featured something more: an understated but compelling character study. Stallone and Kotcheff smartly made Rambo more than just a one-man army. He’s a man of near-immortal resilience, but he’s still susceptible to psychic vulnerability. It’s the combination of that vulnerability and his almost unbreakable resolve that makes him so believable as a hero.
The Expendables was one of the most highly-anticipated movies of the summer. It was impossible to not be excited when it was announced that Sylvester Stallone would be uniting the likes of Jet Li, Jason Statham, Randy Couture, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Mickey Rourke in one movie together. The hype was almost too much to handle!
The repelisplus film follows a team of mercenaries, led by Barney Ross (Stallone), who are hired to travel to a South American locale and overthrow a ruthless dictator. The team consists of a variety of different specialists, including former SAS blade expert Lee Christmas, hand-to-hand combat specialist Yin Yang, long barrel weapons expert Hale Caesar, and demolitions expert Toll Road.
While some of Stallone’s more out-there movies — like 1987’s arm-wrestling drama Over the Top and 1992’s utterly unfunny Stop or My Mom Will Shoot — might get lost in the noise of his more iconic films, Demolition Man is a delightfully wacky, futuristic action movie. In this sci-fi hit, the actor showcases his ability to pull off a bit of comedy as well as big-budget action, and he’s joined by 1990s star Sandra Bullock as his wide-eyed partner and love interest, Lt. Lenina Huxley.
While the film certainly isn’t as good as the original Blade Runner, it’s a fun ride nonetheless. The premise is simple: A reckless police officer, John Spartan (Stallone), is cryogenically frozen after an accident and thawed out in 2032 to find a utopian society where crime is virtually nonexistent. When a criminal from the past, the vicious and unhinged Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes), escapes and starts wreaking havoc, Spartan must bring his rough-and-ready tactics to bear to track down the man who’ll turn this world upside down.
Over the Top
After Rocky turned Stallone into a movie star, he followed it up with a series of action movies that featured even more brawn. First Blood is the best of these movies, a fast-paced thriller that features some of Sylvester Stallone’s most intense acting. The film’s take-no-prisoners attitude has made it a favorite of many fans, and it spawned several sequels.
Over the Top is another movie that showcases Stallone’s ability to act. In the movie, he plays Lincoln Hawk, a truck driver who enters a Las Vegas arm wrestling competition to win money and custody of his son. The film features a lot of sweaty, bare-knuckle action and a soundtrack by disco legend Giorgio Moroder. Although it’s not as good as the original Rocky, it’s still a fun flick.