Rapid-cut fight scenes, cheesy one-liners, and window-dressing female characters – these are just some of the many clichéd-elements that were used to manufacture our favorite nostalgia-filled 80’s action movies with Sylvester Stallone. Following are the 15 best Sylvester Stallone movies ever:
15. Paradise Alley (1978)
Paradise Alley was Stallone’s forgotten directorial début, which was positively reviewed by critics but ignored by audiences around the world.
The story revolves around a clever con man, Cosmo Carboni, who convinces his younger brother to participate in boxing to make money. It was a visually stunning film, filled with plenty of vivid colors to emphasize beauty.
14. The Expendables (2010)
The special effects didn’t do much justice, and even the cast at times had this air of sarcasm infused in their performances.
Regardless, the powerhouse of a movie – The Expendables, was still a hit at the box office and devoured us in nostalgia with Stallone and the gang of elite superstars.
13. Bullet to the Head (2012)
This was Stallone’s supposed solo-comeback film. Although it captivated the audience with some loud sound effects (parallel to every punch that landed on anyone’s flesh), cheesy dialogues and some controversial racially oblivious pointers, it failed at the box office.
However, at the end of the day, the entertainment that it provided was top-notch, and the pacing of the movie was also nice.
12. Rambo (2008)
One of Stallone’s most iconic roles has been Rambo. It was a movie that put the audience in much awe throughout and justified the credentials of Stallone as a solid director and a versatile actor.
The brutality on display in the film might be deemed exaggerated, but it, without doubt, displayed the wartime conditions quite accurately.
11. Demolition Man (1993)
This was another movie where Stallone tried to experiment with his acting. It had decent action scenes, and the story was compelling, to say the least.
It was a fresh take on how the future was deemed to be, and one must admit that it wasn’t far off its own predictions. This was indeed one of the best Sylvester Stallone action movies ever.
10. Shade (2003)
Shade is one of the coolest movies that Stallone has ever done. It attracted viewership based on a collection of some witty dialogues, striking setting and catchy tunes.
The final plot was a bit misleading, but it still gripped the audience with some epic and high-intensity scenes.
9. The Lord’s of Flatbush (1974)
An old classic, it touched many who could relate to the similar background and upbringing of the characters in the movie.
This was uncharacteristically one of the few movies, where lack of character development played in favor of the movie as it wasn’t much needed based on the limited timespan of each individual. Barring a few issues, it’s a must-see for everyone.
8. Cliffhanger (1993)
Many of the action sequences in the film were actually performed in realtime by real stuntmen, making those action scenes more intense and tangible. This masterclass was expected from the same director, Renny Harlin, who made one of the Die Hard movies (Die Hard 2).
We saw our main character go through deadly situations in the film, like holding on by a thread over a 3-mile height as the bad guys stomp on his fingers to make him fall down, pretty ironic with respect to the name of the movie, no?
7. Escape to Victory (1981)
Bill Conti gets an honorary mention in this movie for compiling some elite-level music composition. Combining this with the cinematography of the film, you had a confirmed hit.
The way the world’s most popular sport, Soccer, was portrayed in the film is true to be commended. It was an inspirational movie and is still a visual treat for all passionate sports and Stallone fans.
6. Copland (1997)
Although Copland’s plot was a bit confusing, as there were three major lead roles with no clear indication on the screen about who was the alpha one, a few specific scenes were really epic.
Both Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro gave memorable performances for all of their fans to remember.
5. Nighthawks (1981)
The start of the movie was impeccably promising with a typical 80’s action flick feel. However, the progression of the film was a little letdown, as the character-building didn’t accelerate as per expectations.
Exceptions were the two cops, Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams, who complemented each other’s role perfectly. Despite its shortcomings, the movie was an excellent action thriller.
4. F.I.S.T (1978)
The Federation of Inter-State Truckers (F.I.S.T) is a film that is a must-see for all drama lovers. It might not be evident from the rating of the movie or from the cast in place, but it was hailed as one of Sylvester Stallone’s finest performances on screen, especially in a pure drama film.
3. Death Race 2000 (1975)
The movie revolves around the cross-country race of death that involves killing people to earn points. It is extremely graphic and shows violent scenes in which people bite the dust in very oddly creative ways.
It was very dark toned and mean-spirited since there’s no real “good guy” in the movie. It carries on Stallone’s tradition of adopting bad boy roles on screen.
2. First Blood (1982)
This was not only one of the best movies with Sylvester Stallone in them, but this was easily one of the best movies ever to have graced the screen. The genre of action rejuvenated under its poster boy Rambo in First Blood.
The bad boy was actually able to earn empathy from most of the people in the audience, after some solid character development. It set a standard in the ’80s that not many movies have been able to match, thus it makes a must-see for all action genre and Stallone fans.
1. Rocky (1976)
This has to be the movie that defines Sylvester Stallone. A movie more about the character than the story. This was Stallone’s passion project, written by himself and rightfully earned three Oscar Awards, along with creating history at the box office.
You’ll notice in the movie that Rocky was mostly shot in areas that were deserted in order to emphasize the point that he really is a no-name. The movie had many moral lessons hidden amidst and teaches all that even if our struggle is bound to end in failure, we should still give it our best shot. Hands down, this is the best Sylvester Stallone film among all of Sylvester Stallone movies.
- Over the Top (1987)
- Tango and Cash (1989)
- Lock Up (1989)
Did we miss any of the best Sylvester Stallone movies that should have been on our list? Please let us know in the comments below!