There are some names in the entertainment biz who truly deserve to be called an icon and have lived the main lead life both on-screen and off-screen. Sylvester Stallone is a name that has been a pivotal part of Hollywood for years now. The self-made artist had nothing but talent and big dreams when he started his career in Hollywood. The fame that we witness today is not an overnight success and the credit totally goes to Stallone who showed the world what determination and dedication can get you.
Stallone rose to fame with his character Rocky Balboa who depicts the tale of rags to riches, somewhat similar to Stallone’s real life. Once his career kick-started as an actor he never looked back and worked hard towards being a part of some great movies that deserve to go down in history. All the Sylvester Stallone movies are a testimonial to the actor’s talent but some of them are worth rewatching a thousand times. We are listing a few movies with Sylvester Stalone that should be on your watch list.
There is no way I could have any other movie at the top of the best Sylvester Stallone movies. Rocky was released almost five decades ago and has stood the test of time by being the most loved Sylvester Stallone movie to date. When no one in Hollywood believed in a newcomer, Stallone took it upon himself to come up with a script for himself and the rest is history. The movie did not just establish itself as Stallone’s best movie but also as the greatest film of all time.
Rocky is the narrative of an underdog wrestler who makes it big when no one else believes in him. A story quite similar to the actor’s real-life story and maybe that is why he was able to bring out the raw emotions with such sincerity. The movie was nominated for the Oscars in ten different categories and won three for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Editing category.
|IMDb Rating: 8.1/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%|
First Blood (1982)
After the mass success of Rocky, Sylvester Stallone’s movies had to wait until First Blood to experience the same level of success. The 1982 release is based on the Vietnam War and focuses on the story of a soldier suffering from PTSD. The movie gave birth to one of the most successful Rambo franchises with five movies released to date.
The movie did not shy away from showcasing the most raw side of being a Vietnam War veteran and Stallon as usual did an excellent job of doing full justice to the character. The movie created such an impact that even games, comic books, and TV series were released based on the movie.
|IMDb Rating: 7.7/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%|
The 2015 release is a spin-off of Rocky and the actor once again earned praise for his work, earning a Golden Globe Award for the same. The movie was released on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Rocky and fans were not disappointed a bit. The plot revolves around the son of Apollo Creed (Rocky’s friend from Rocky) born out of wedlock who makes a name for himself in boxing.
Michael B. Jordan took the lead this time as Adonis Johnson and Rocky can be seen as his trainer. We gotta give it up to Michael B. Jordan for excelling the audience’s expectations from the movie after the overwhelming success of its predecessor, Rocky. Among all the Sylvester Stallone movies Creed is also the highest-rated movie of the actor.
|IMDb Rating: 7.6/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95%|
Cop Land (1997)
Stallone successfully established himself as an action hero with big muscles but slowly started treading into more experimentation. In Cop Land Stallone takes up the role of a sheriff who is assigned to a seemingly normal suburban area of New Jersey but soon discovers that the town is a melting pot for corrupt officials and mobsters.
Cop Land helped successfully establish Stallone in more dramatic roles as his character Freddy has always wanted to be a cop but his being deaf from one ear hinders his way. He is appointed as the sheriff of a town named ‘Cop Land’ where all the cops who are trying to be safe from the deadly streets of New York have been relocated. But his journey is not as smooth as he slowly unravels the dark secrets of the town.
|IMDb Rating: 7/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 75%|
F.I.S.T.(Federation of Interstate Truckers) is an underrated Sylvester Stallone movie released in 1978. The movie is a neo-noir thriller in which, like most of his movies he fights the evils of society. Apart from acting, he also contributed to the scriptwriting process. His character Johnny Nowak is one of the laborers working at a loading dock.
Nowak becomes an influential figure in the community and is determined to get justice for his people. The movie did not bring anything creative with the plot and feels like a safe play but tapped into the most trending issues of labor unions during the time. Stallone did a convincing job of portraying a strong-headed figure.
|IMDb Rating: 6.4/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 73%|
Rocky Balboa (2006)
After the release of the 1990 film Rocky 5, everyone thought the Rocky franchise had come to an end but since the character of Rocky is so close to Stallone he decided to give him a proper closure with Rocky Balboa. The movie was the perfect gift for the Rocky fandom as it provided a glimpse of the boxer’s retired life.
Of all Sylvester Stallone movies, Rocky Balboa has the most emotional connection for the fans as well as the actor. This time Rocky is getting ready to fight one last time with an opponent half his age. The plot might feel cliche at specific points but it works pretty well if you have been following the franchise. I have a favorite line from the movie, “It’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward,” this pretty much sums up life as a whole and feels weirdly motivating.
|IMDb Rating: 7.1/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 78%|
The Suicide Squad (2021)
One of the most recent additions to the list of Sylvester Stalone movies is The Suicide Squad. Stallone voiced the character of King Shark who is a hybrid of human and shark with a body of shark but legs of a human. The deadly-looking creature is a sweetheart and Stallone’s voiceover just makes the character even more lovable. (The only disturbing factor is that it eats humans)
The movie also features one of Margot Robbie’s loved characters, Harley Quinn. King Shark is part of the supervillains who has been assigned a mysterious project that can lead to the end of the world. The movie is filled with James Gunn’s signature dark humor and gruesome violence but if you are a fan of the genre, the movie is definitely for you.
|IMDb Rating: 7.2/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 90%|
Demolition Man (1993)
Sylvester Stalone has appeared in way too many action movies but Demolition Man can be considered the best executed of them all. The movie was way ahead of its time with the concept of time-traveling mixed with high-end action scenes. The movie stars an ensemble cast including one of the most popular Hollywood actresses, Sandra Bullock.
When the rival duo of a cop, John Spartan played by Stallone, and a criminal, Simon Phoenix played by Wesley Snipes, who has been kept frozen in a lab since 1996 wake up in 2032, their rivalry still continues despite the time gap. At a time when the world is free from any sort of crime, Phoenix’s awakening leads to chaos in the peaceful world. Hence John Spartan has to reprise his duty as a cop to reestablish the lost peace.
|IMDb Rating: 6.7/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 62%|
The animated movie marked the very first voice-over project for Stallone and he stayed true to his original voice without getting too much into voice modulation techniques. Antz, as the name suggests is about the world of hardworking ants. The lead character of Z is voiced by Woody Allen while Stallone voiced the character of Z’s best friend Weaver. The movie was DeamWork’s first entry into the world of animation and they succeeded in leaving a mark.
Z is among a million working ants who live in the anthill, when he falls for the beautiful Princess Bala he has the urge to do something that can make him stand out from the crowd. He asks his soldier friend, Weaver, to switch places with him so he can meet the princess. The movie is humorous with a well-written plot and can be enjoyed every time.
|IMDb Rating: 6.5/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%|
Creed 2 (2018)
Looks like it’s hard for Stallone to let go of Rocky as he makes a comeback with the 2018 release Creed 2. The movie picks from where the 2015 Creed left. Life seems good for Adonis after becoming the World Champion but things don’t stay the same for too long when Ivan Dagro, the Russian boxer who killed Adonio’s father, arrives with his son to challenge him.
Despite Rocky’s advice to not take up the challenge, Adonis decides to participate to take revenge for his father’s death. Stallone once again nails the role of a supportive trainer and a fatherly figure to Adonis. The plot feels familiar when Adonis comes face-to-face with Ivan Dagor’s son and you can’t help but pray for Adnois’s victory.
|IMDb Rating: 7.1/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 83%|
With a Guinness World Record for the most expensive aerial stunt costing $1 million, the movie can still pass as one of the best action movies to date. As per the reports, Stallone reduced his fee for the movie when he learned about the expense involved and nailed the stunt. Sylvester Stallone movies have always had a reputation for high-end stunts and this one is no exception.
The movie stars Stallone as a mountain ranger who is assigned to rescue a stranded group. The only catch is that the stranded group is looking for a bag full of heist money worth $100 million and all they need an assistance from an experienced mountain ranger. The deadly action sequels and unexpected plot twists will keep you on the edge of your seat till the last minute.
|IMDb Rating: 6.5/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 68%|
Death Race 2000 (1975)
As the title suggests, the plot is about a violent death race where the drivers have to run over pedestrians and each other to win the race. The movie is set in the future but that does not apply if you are watching it in 2023. Death Race was released in 1975 but the plot is set in 2000, something you must keep in mind while watching the movie.
Movies with Sylver Stallone were always known were their unique storyline and high-end action sequels. Death Race successfully met the expectations of the audience with his racer character, Joe ‘Machine Gun’ Viterbo. The movie was way ahead of its time with the concept of a game being a part of survival. Today we can see the same essence of the storyline in some of the renowned franchises like The Hunger Games movies.
|IMDb Rating: 6.2/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 82%|
Nighthawks is the OG of B-action movies starring Stallone, Billy Dee Williams, and Rutger Hauer. The movie did not receive the much-deserved recognition at the time of release but later became a cult classic. The movie once again saw Stallone playing a cop and this time he has to fight an infamous terrorist along with Billy Dee Williams’s Matthew Fox. Rutger Hauer plays one of the terrorists and all the other supporting characters add to the overall impact of the story.
|IMDb Rating: 6.3/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 71%|
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
After establishing many successful franchises himself during the 90s, Stallone made an appearance in one of the most successful franchises today, that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you truly want to enjoy all the movies by the franchise, you have to watch all the Marvel movies in order.
Stallone played the character of Starkar Ogord who is associated with Yondu. The character makes an appearance in Vol. 2 and Vol. 3. Though it feels more like a cameo, the actor did his best with what was given to him.
|IMDb Rating: 7.6/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85%|
The Expendables 2 (2012)
The Expendables 2 is the sequel to the 2010 release, The Expendables, and is considered the best in the Expendable series. The series is ready to make a comeback after years with a rather funny title, Expen4bles. If you want a movie with pure action and can care less about the plot, The Expendables can work fine for you. It feels like the movie’s sole purpose was to bring the veteran action heroes back into action but thanks to the well-executed action sequels the movie is always counted as one of the best Sylvester Stallone movies.
|IMDb Rating: 7.6/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85%|
This list is just a small fragment of Sylvester Stallone’s contribution to Hollywood. He has been a part of the industry since the 1970s and still continues to be one of the most in-demand veterans. He earned fame in his early days for being an action icon but later ventured into more experimental roles and the audience welcomed him in every genre with open arms. Hope you were able to find your favorite movie in this list of best Sylvester Stallone movies.