Best Known For
One of the most popular action stars of all time, Sylvester Stallone is best known for portraying boxer Rocky Balboa and Vietnam War veteran John Rambo.
Studio executives describe the risk of releasing "Rocky" in movie theaters in November, 1976 and some of the brutal reviews from critics.
Sylvester Stallone and crew members talk about filming the scene where Rocky runs up the stairs.
Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers recall their first meeting during a cattle call for the role of Apollo Creed.
After the success of "Rocky," Sylvester Stallone and his manager immediately started to negotiate deals for a sequel.
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Released in 1976, Rocky became a critical and commercial hit. The film earned ten Academy Award nominations, including two for Best Actor and one for Best Original Screenplay. Rocky faced stiff competition in the Best Picture category from such films as Taxi Driver, All the President’s Men, and Network. Proving to be the small film with a powerful punch, Rocky emerged victorious and won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The story of Rocky Balboa,
the quintessential underdog, also struck a chord with movie-goers and earned the film more than $117 million at the box office.
To follow up on his breakthrough role, Stallone next starred as a labor organizer in F.I.S.T. (1978). He received some favorable reviews for his work, but the film failed to attract much of an audience. Returning to the film that made him famous, Stallone wrote, directed, and starred in Rocky II (1979). He kept the franchise going a few years later with Rocky III (1982).
That same year, Stallone introduced a new character to movie-goers—John Rambo, a disenfranchised and troubled Vietnam vet—in First Blood (1982). Rambo ends up going to war with the police in a small town after being mistreated by authorities. Once again, Stallone struck box office gold. He went behind the scenes for his next effort, Staying Alive (1983), which he wrote and directed. A sequel to Saturday Night Fever (1977) starring John Travolta, the film did not fare as well as the original.
Trying to branch out as an actor, Stallone starred opposite Dolly Parton in the comedy Rhinestone (1984). The film proved to be a commercial and critical failure. Fans, however, continued to line up to see Stallone in trademark roles in Rocky IV (1985), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rambo III (1988), and Rocky V (1990).
By the mid-1990s, Stallone’s star power as an action hero started to fade. He made a series of forgettable films, including Judge Dredd (1995) and Daylight (1996). Taking a break from big budget action films, Stallone took a supporting role in the independent drama Cop Land (1997) which starred Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, and Ray Liotta. He earned raves for his portrayal of a sheriff in a small New Jersey town largely inhabited by New York City cops.
Returning to his leading man status, Stallone starred in the crime thriller Get Carter (2000), which received mixed reviews. He then wrote, co-produced, and starred in the car-racing drama Driven (2001). It netted more than $32 million at the box office—a long way from his glory days of Rocky. Another effort, Shade (2004), came and went without much notice.
Stallone once again returned to familiar territory to write the final chapter of his most popular creation. The plot of Rocky Balboa (2006) mirrored Stallone’s own career to some extent. The former heavyweight champion, long retired, decides to go for one more big fight.
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