Sylvester Stallone just set Hollywood on fire with his all-star action romp The Expendables, but it's not the first time the 64-year-old actor has hit box office gold with his bulging biceps and tough guy image.
From Rocky to Rambo, Sly Stallone has played more than his fair share of action icons. Looking over his career, it is difficult to pick just five favorite movies. Not only do you have to distinguish between the legitimately good and the cheesy good, but you also have to take into consideration the movie's critical and box-office success. After lengthy (and decidedly unscientific analysis) I've settled on a list of five.
In celebration of the aging actor's recent return to glory, read on my list of the Top Five Best Sylvester Stallone Movies.
In Cop Land, James Mangold's 1997 movie about police corruption, Sly Stallone actually turned away from his action hero status to play a more down-to-earth character. He gained a lot of weight for the role, which significantly changed his appearance, and he scaled down his typical machisimo style for a more restrained performance. While most critics admired the film, it was a box office failure, leading Stallone to question his career path. Nevertheless, the film, and its all-star cast including Rober De Niro, Harvey Keitel, and Ray Liotta, still ranks as Number Five on my list.
Tango & Cash
1989's Tango & Cash was a critical failure for Sylvester Stallone, but the film earned a huge cult following on home video...and it's no wonder why. The buddy cop action-comedy co-starring Kurt Russell is renowned for its cheesy dialogue and action scenes, including great sequences involving the lead characters' amazing vintage cars. It may not be the best Stallone movie, but it is one of the most fun, which is why it lands at Number Four on the list.
After a solid sequel and a somewhat disappointing third movie, Sylvester Stallone resurrected the Rocky franchise with Rocky IV. The film, which pitted Stallone's Italian Stallion against the giant Russian Ivan Drago (played menacingly by Dolph Lundgren), is undoubtedly the most exciting of the Rocky movies and a fantastic reminder of the perennial Cold War fears shared between the United States and Russia during the 1980s. It also has the amazing song Burning Heart by Survivor. It's no Eye of the Tiger, but it's right up there, which is why it's Number Three on the list.
A lot of people mistakenly assume that First Blood, the first of Stallone's popular Rambo movies, is a non-stop action fest. In reality, however, the film is a slow and meditative analysis of one Vietnam veteran's fragile psyche and the trouble that America had accepting the returning veterans of an unpopular war. The film does feature some great action moments from Stallone, but more than anything, it shows he can act, giving it the Number Two spot on the list.
The best Sylvester Stallone movie of all time was also the one that launched his career. Rocky, the Academy Award-winning 1976 film about an aging boxer given a once-in-a-lifetime shot at the title, has gone down in film history as the greatest underdog story of all time and one of the most memorable movies in history. There are so many iconic moments in Rocky, it's almost hard to think of them all, but I'm pretty sure we've ALL run up a flight of stairs at some point in our lives humming "Gonna Fly Now" and pumping our fists in the air. Because of its incredible story and iconic status in film history, Rocky makes the Number One spot on the list.
What are your favorite Sylvester Stallone movies. Let me know in the comments.