When Sylvester Stallone finished writing the script for “Rocky,” he knew he had something big on his hands. He also knew that it was his opportunity to launch his acting career. So instead of selling the script and fading into the background, he held onto it, refusing to sell until someone agreed to let him play the starring role.
Fortunately, he was given the opportunity, made the most of it, and never looked back. Since 1976, Sylvester Stallone has been one of the biggest blockbuster stars in the film industry. Today is the legendary actor’s 75th birthday. In honor of the big day, let’s take a look back at some of the best moments from his iconic career.
The Rocky franchise first made Sylvester Stallone a household name all those years ago. But even today, the boxing world that Stallone thought up is a major blockbuster draw. From 1976 to 1990, five “Rocky” movies were made, with Stallone at the center of each. Then, in 2006, he reprised the role as an aging fighter for “Rocky Balboa.”
These days, however, a new generation of the franchise has taken over. The “Creed” movies star Michael B. Jordan in the title role and continue on the legacy of the original “Rocky” movies. Stallone continues to play the Rocky Balboa character in the films. The third “Creed” offering is set to release in 2022.
The movie that started the franchise gave audiences one of the most iconic scenes of all time: Underdog Rocky Balboa running through the streets of Philadelphia to triumphant music in preparation for his big fight.
Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo
A few years after the first “Rocky” movie, Sylvester Stallone pioneered another iconic franchise. In 1982, he co-wrote and starred in “First Blood” as the all-time action character John Rambo. Stallone played the role of the affected Vietnam veteran as recently as 2019 in “Rambo: Last Blood.” It is reportedly the final installment of the franchise. Over 40 years, five total Rambo films were made.
Obviously, with a title like “First Blood,” the first movie was an action-packed thrill ride. But compared to the action movies we’re accustomed to these days, it was actually pretty subdued. In that spirit, the scene below sees Stallone’s Rambo arrive in the town of Hope, Washington for the first time.
Sylvester Stallone has proven himself a franchise master over the decades. His most recent invention came in 2010 with the first “The Expendables” movie. He plays Barney Ross, a retired CIA agent who brings together a team of operatives to take down a dictator.
The ensemble cast has included the likes of Jet Li, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mel Gibson over the years. Since 2010, three of the films have been made and the fourth installment is currently in production.
The Sylvester Stallone franchises mentioned here don’t do his full career justice. But they are easily his most recognizable titles from over the years. And all of them entertaining choices for a casual birthday viewing.