Top 10 Sylvester Stallone Movies

Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Sylvester “Sly” Stallone keeps pumping out the hits well into his 60s, including recent films such as The Expendables, Rambo, and Rocky Balboa. In honor of this feat, I present my list of top 10 Sylvester Stallone movies, a collection of his finest films numbered from ten to one. You’ll no doubt disagree with a few of my rankings or selections, so feel free to make your voice heard in our comments section.

I should also note that Netflix has every Sylvester Stallone movie you can imagine, as well as the works of men like Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jet Li. There are never any annoying late fees, and multiple pricing plans are available for your convenience. Click here to become a member of Netflix.

10 – Nighthawks (1981) – Originally meant as the third French Connection film, the script was retooled into this crime thriller pairing Stallone and Billy Dee Williams as NYPD police detectives on the trail of an international terrorist (Rutger Hauer in his American debut). Even grittier than the real-life streets of New York City.

9 – Cop Land (1997) – Stallone drew rave reviews for his role as Freddy Heflin, a hearing-impaired and overweight sheriff of a New Jersey town filled with corrupt members of the NYPD. While he admires these men in blue, they don’t return the favor, partially because they’re too busy taking money from the mob and plotting the death of a rookie cop. The amazing cast includes Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick, Janeane Garofalo, Edie Falco, Peter Berg, and Michael Rapaport. If you want to see Stallone in a role where he’s not automatically kicking everyone’s ass, then this is one to seek out.

8 – Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) – While the original film focused on psychological motivation, this sequel prefers balls-out action. Rambo (Stallone) begins the film in prison for his actions in the previous installment, but he’s offered his freedom in exchange for going to Vietnam and locating American POWs. He takes the mission, of course, and soon finds himself up to his eyeballs in Vietnamese soldiers and Soviet advisors. But after weathering various kinds of torture, Rambo gets a chance to use all those exploding arrows that he’s been carrying around.

7 – The Lords of Flatbush (1974) – Stallone, Henry Winkler, Perry King, and Paul Mace star as a gang of leather jacket-wearing Brooklyn teens dubbed The Lords of Flatbush. Stallone plays Stanley Rosiello, a young man who’s knocked up his girlfriend and is now expected to marry her. With his greasy hair and leather jacket, it’s hard to look at Winkler and not think of Fonzie from Happy Days, a series that would debut the same year as this film. A wonderful cast and solid coming-of-age drama.

6 – Rambo (2008) – John Rambo now lives in Thailand, capturing snakes near the border of Burma and selling them for a profit. He also occasionally acts as transportation for those brave enough to travel via the river. One such group is comprised of missionaries looking to help the native people of Burma, but their peaceful cause is soon interrupted by the appearance of the brutal Myanmar military. Rambo is then hired to act as guide for a group of mercenaries hired to retrieve the captured Christians, but his formidable combat skills will also be needed to save the day. Incredibly violent, the film boasts more kills by Rambo than any of the previous entries (236). It’s a dark look at the modern state of the world, but it’s also far more realistic than the jingoistic worldview of the second and third films.

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5 – Rocky IV (1985) – After pal Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) is killed in the ring by coldblooded Soviet boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), Rocky Balboa (Stallone) vows to get revenge. Their showdown takes place in Moscow on Christmas Day in a match that pits American ingenuity against Russian treachery. Care to guess who wins? While not the best overall film in the series, Rocky IV is still an entertaining entry for fans of Stallone and American patriotism in general.

4 – Rocky III (1982) – As success and injuries begin to catch up with prizefighter Rocky Balboa (Stallone), he yearns to take on the challenge of hungry contender James “Clubber” Lang (Mr. T in an early role). Their first meeting proves disastrous, with Rocky losing both the title and mentor Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith). Enter Rocky’s longtime nemesis, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), who offers to fill the role of trainer. Cue the workout montage!

3 – Rocky II (1979) – After becoming the first fighter to go 15 rounds with champ Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), pugilist Rocky Balboa (Stallone) is challenged to a rematch. Hoping to preserve his health, he refuses at first, but Creed’s slander campaign–and Rock’s lack of prospects outside of boxing–make his return to the ring inevitable. Almost as good as the first film, Rocky II is a feel-good classic about making your dreams come true through sheer willpower (and a great left hook).

2 – First Blood (1982) – Sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy) is a small-town lawman who decides to make life miserable for a long-haired drifter. Big mistake, Sheriff, because that drifter happens to be Vietnam vet and all-around badass John Rambo (Stallone). What follows is a deadly game of one-upsmanship, climaxing when Rambo takes an M60 to the unlucky town (although the film’s ending is far more upbeat than the novel it was based on). Stallone wears a far-off look throughout much of the film, but it manages to adequately convey the hardship experienced by veterans who return home to find the world has passed them by. The rest of the series favors straightforward action, but First Blood offers surprising depth for a Sly Stallone film.

1 – Rocky (1976) – Stallone gives a nuanced and sympathetic performance as a down-on-his-luck club fighter who gets a shot at heavyweight champ Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). But instead of the easy match the champ was expecting, he finds himself facing a reborn fighter thanks to the efforts of feisty trainer Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith) and the love of gentle pet store clerk Adrian (Talia Shire). The resulting 15-round slugfest is brimming with redemption and inspiration, and let’s not forget about the training montage ending in the run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In case you haven’t already joined, please be aware that Netflix has over 100,000 movies to choose from. Becoming a Netflix member is easy, and you never have to worry about those late fees that Blockbuster seems so obsessed with. Whether you’re looking for the top 10 Sylvester Stallone movies or the collected works of Christopher Walken, the online rental giant has got you covered.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, August 21st, 2010 at 5:22 pm and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Top 10 Sylvester Stallone Movies”

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November 18, 2010

Clubber Lang

I’m sure…they were all acting under the movie director’s whim. They were not "tough," they were trying to act… sorry if I spoiled your make-believe fight.

November 18, 2010


Yeah, my world is now shattered. Thanks a bunch, Clubber.


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