Sylvester Stallone: five best moments
The veteran actor has just won a Golden Globe for reprising the role of Rocky Balboa in spin-off Creed, but what have been his other notable career highs?
Friday 15 January 2016 11.08 GMT
When a seventh Rocky film was announced, the news was met with collective apathy. But with Creed, Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler has found a way to update the franchise with intelligence and passion, centring it on Apollo Creed’s son, fiercely played by Michael B Jordan.
But the film’s masterstroke is keeping Rocky himself out of the ring and allowing Sylvester Stallone’s iconic boxer the chance to confront the realities of age instead. It’s led to the actor’s finest work in years and a Golden Globe for best supporting actor.
But looking back over a long career, what have been his other highlights?
After a handful of small roles in other people’s films, Stallone took matters into his own hands and wrote the script to a boxing movie that he then shopped around to studios. When he finally sold it, director Irwin Winkler was keen to attach an established star, but Stallone insisted he take on the role and his commanding performance helped the film become a worldwide hit and a best picture winner at the Oscars.
Throughout his career, Stallone has made the odd diversion from the action genre, and while his comedic attempts usually landed with a thud (Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Oscar), he often scored with more dramatic work. His first post-Rocky role also saw him using his screenwriting skills; he rewrote much of Joe Eszterhas’s script for this earnest union drama. As well as the grandstanding speeches, he also manages to sell the quieter moments as a man struggling to stick to his principles.
Stallone’s other famous role starting with an R gave him another franchise that ultimately went on too long but started effectively. Not many actors could have sold a character like Rambo quite as well as Stallone and his physicality helps to elevate the material.
After some rum choices (The Specialist, Judge Dredd, Assassins), Stallone wisely took a pay cut to play the lead in this modestly budgeted crime drama. Surrounded by arguably more talented actors such as Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel, Stallone held his own and, as with many of his better latter performances, confronted his age and increasing vulnerability on screen.
As a primer for his subtly devastating turn in Creed, Stallone revisited the character who made him famous in 2006’s sixth film of the franchise. It’s a far lesser film than Coogler’s, but it does see Stallone firing on all cylinders. His performance is tinged with poignancy and somehow, at the age of 60, he still convinces in the ring.