Stallone made his film debut with the lead in a 1970 pornagraphic
film, Party at Kitty and Stud's. He
was paid US$200 for two days work. Stallone's other first few film roles were minor, and included
brief uncredited appearances in Woody Allen's Bananas (1971) as a subway thug, in the psychological
thriller Klute (1971) as an extra dancing in
a club, and in the Jack Lemmon vehicle Prisoner of 2nd Avenue (1975) as a youth. In the Lemmon film, Jack Lemmon
chases and tackles Stallone, thinking he is a pickpocket. He had his first
starring role in the cult hit The Lords of Flatbush (1974). In 1975
he played supporting roles in Farewell my lovely, Capone and, another
cult hit, Death Race 2000. He also made guest appearances on the TV series Kojac.
Stallone did not gain world-wide fame until his starring role in the smash
hit Rocky (1976). In 1975, Stallone saw the Ali-Chuck Wepner fight which
inspired the foundation idea of Rocky. That night Stallone went home, and
in three days he had written the script for Rocky. After that, he tried
to sell the script with the intention of playing the lead role. Robert Chartoff
and Irwin Winkler in particular
liked the script, and planned
on courting a star like Burt Reynolds or James Caan for
the lead role. The final result was an unequalled success; Rocky was
nominated for ten Academy Awards in all, including Best Actor for Stallone
The sequel Rocky II which Stallone had also written and directed was released in 1979 and also
became a major success, grossing US$200 million worldwide.
Apart from the Rocky films, Stallone did many other films in the late
1970s and early 1980s which were critically acclaimed but were not successful at
the box office. He received critical praise for films such as F.I.S.T (1978), a social drama in
which he plays a warehouse worker who becomes involved in the union leadership and
Paradise Alley (1978), a family drama in which he plays one of three brothers who is a con
artist and who helps his other brother who is involved in wrestling.
In the early 1980s he starred alongside British veteran Caine
in Escape to Victory (1981), a sports drama in which he plays a POW
involved in a football tournament. Stallone then made
the action thriller film Nighthawks (1981), in which he plays
a New York city cop who plays a cat and mouse game with a foreign terrorist,
played by Rutger Haur.
Stallone had another major franchise success as Vietnam veteran John
Rambo in the action adventure film First Blood (1982). The
first installment of Rambo was both a critical and box office success. Two Rambo sequels Part
II (1985) and Rambo III (1988) followed. Although box office hits, they met with much less critical
praise than the original. He also continued his box office success with the
Rocky franchise and wrote, directed and starred in more sequels to
the series: Rocky III (1982) and Rocky IV (1985).
He also attempted roles in different genres when he wrote and starred in the
comedy film Rhinestone (1984) where he played a
wannabe country music singer and the drama film Overthe Top (1987) where he played a truck
driver who enters an arm wrestling competition to impress his estranged son. But these films did not
do well at the box office and were poorly received by critics. The action films
and Tango and Cash (1989) however were sucesses.
At the start of the 1990s, Stallone starred in the fifth installment of the
Rocky franchise which
was considered a box office disappointment and was also disliked by fans as an
unworthy entry in the series. It was intended to have been the last installment
in the franchise at the time.....but we know that this was not the case.
After starring in the critical and commercial failures Oscar
(1991) and Stop! or my mom will shoot (1992) during the early 90s, he made a major comeback in 1993 with the
blockbuster hit Cliffhanger which became an
enormously successful film grossing over US$255 million worldwide. Later that
year he enjoyed another hit with the action film Demolition Man which grossed in excess of $158 million worldwide. His string of
hits continued with The Specialist (1994)
(over $170 million worldwide gross). In 1995 he played the comic book based title character Judge
Dredd who was taken from
the popular British comic book 2000AD. His overseas box office appeal even saved the domestic box office
disappointment of Judge Dredd with a worldwide tally of $113 million. In
1996 he starred in the disaster movie Daylight which made only $33 million in
the U.S but was a major hit overseas taking in over $126 million, totaling
$159,212,469 worldwide. Originally "Daylight" had been penned as "Cliff Hanger
Stallone went on to receive much acclaim for
his role in the crime drama CopLand (1997) in which he starred alongside Robert
De Niro and Ray Liotta, but the film was only a minor success at
the box office. In 1998 he did the voice over work for the CGI film Antz, which grossed over 90 million domestically.
As 2000 dawned, Stallone starred the thriller Get Carter,
which was poorly
received by both critics and audiences and was a box office failure. Stallone
career declined considerably after his subsequent films Driven (2001), Avenging
Angelo (2002) and D-Tox (2002) also failed to do well at
the box office and were poorly received by critics. He also appeared in film "Assasins (1995)".
Following several poorly reviewed box office flops, Stallone started to
regain prominence for his supporting role in the neo-noir crime drama Shade (2003) which
was a box office failure but was praised by critics.
After three years since his last film appearance in Shade, Stallone
made a comeback to films in 2006 with the sixth and final installment of his
successful Rocky series; Rocky Balboa, which was both a
critical and commercial hit. After the critical and box office failure of the
previous and presumed last installment Rocky V, Stallone had decided that he should end
the series with a sixth installment which would be a much more appropriate
climax to the series. The total domestic box office gross came to a close with US$70.2
million (US$155.3 million worldwide), almost three times its
production budget. His performance in Rocky Balboa has been praised and
garnered mostly positive reviews. He has also completed the fourth installment
of Rambo, which was released in 2008, and again received
praise from the critics.