Currently starring in the action thriller Samaritan, Sylvester Stallone proves once again that it's never too late to cement his position as one of the greatest action movie stars of all time. His extensive career spans several decades, and Samaritan is just another in a long line of classic stories that Stallone brings to life with his signature grit and charisma.
Over the years, Stallone has provided audiences with some of the greatest and most beloved action films of all time - alongside a few other movies that subvert his genre stereotype and prove his versatility as an actor. He's one of the last remaining original action stars, and his filmography truly speaks for itself.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
10 Creed II (2018) - 3.5/5
Although it's the Rocky franchise that Stallone is best known for, his role in Creed and its sequel are arguably even more impressive. Not only does he return to the character of Rocky Balboa with an almost unfathomable ease, but he also navigates some genuinely touching and emotional themes in the film.
For fans of the franchise, the Creed films represent everything that a good sequel should be. They capture the spirit of the original films without ever copying them, forging their own story about legacy and destiny that's somehow just as powerful as Rocky was.
9 Cop Land (1997) - 3.5/5
Cop Land is just one of the many procedural thrillers that maintained Stallone's position in the public eye throughout the 1990s, as he adopts the role of a small-town sheriff who uncovers a dangerous conspiracy that threatens to tear apart everything he holds dear.
As a film, Cop Land is pretty by-the-book. It plays out exactly as viewers would expect this kind of film to play out, but Stallone inserts a much-needed energy into the story that keeps things fresh and interesting with a compelling human element to the characters.
8 Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) - 3.5/5
James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is one of the most entertaining and rewatchable movies in the MCU's third phase, whilst remaining very emotional and touching in parts. It develops upon the existing story of the Guardians while also introducing several new elements that would become important for the MCU moving forward.
Stallone's character might not be the most important on the surface, but he actually plays a huge role in the overall journey of protagonist Peter Quill. When it comes to establishing backstory and character development, the film wouldn't be the same without him.
7 Men In Black (1997) - 3.6/5
Sylvester Stallone's role in Men In Black is little more than a cameo, but the film's willingness to have fun in this way is just one of the many reasons that people adore it. Stallone appears in one scene as an alien on a TV monitor - alongside other movie legends like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.
Men In Black is undoubtedly one of the goofiest sci-fi movies ever, but that just adds to the film's charm. Nothing in the film is to be taken seriously, which makes for a much easier viewing experience that many younger audiences can enjoy just as much as the grown-ups.
6 Rocky II (1979) - 3.6/5
It's no secret that movie sequels rarely manage to capture the magic of the original film, but Rocky II is one of the rare exceptions to this rule. The story is just as emotional and inspiring as the first, the character work is just as impressive, the action scenes are equally thrilling, and even the cinematography is just as crisp.
It's not often that such a powerful sequel comes along, but Rocky II really capitalizes on the success of the original and continues the story in a meaningful way. While the other sequels would go on to divert too far from Rocky's true origins, this film understands exactly what it is about this story that audiences love so much - and sticks to it.
5 The Suicide Squad (2021) - 3.6/5
His role in James Gunn's The Suicide Squad is undoubtedly one of Stallone's most unique so far - not only because he's playing a sentient, super-powered shark, but also because of just how funny and witty his character is. There are plenty of lines in the film that will go down as some of Stallone's best of all time.
King Shark may not be Sylvester Stallone's most challenging or emotionally-complex character to date, but it proves that Stallone is willing to have a bit of fun with his career and try out new things that he wouldn't usually be considered for. Because of this, his character ended up being one of the movie's standouts.
4 First Blood (1982) - 3.7/5
Behind Rocky Balboa, the character of John Rambo is probably Stallone's most iconic. First Blood marks the actor's first appearance as the soldier, and it remains one of the most powerful and arresting action movies of all time. Full of dramatic set pieces and thrilling direction, First Bloody definitely deserves its spot in the action movie hall of fame.
Stallone's performance in First Blood is also one of his best, as his character is forced to endure some genuinely traumatic experiences that Stallone navigates expertly. It's impossible not to connect with the character, which is crucial for a film like this. He transforms Rambo from a forgettable soldier into one of the best action heroes of the 1980s.
3 Klute (1971) - 3.8/5
Viewers would be forgiven for forgetting about Stallone's brief appearance in Klute, as he only appears momentarily as a minor, uncredited character - but the film was still crucial for Stallone's rise to stardom throughout the '70s. Klute has everything anyone could want from a noir thrilling like this, including mysterious characters, richly thematic imagery, and atmospheric filmmaking.
The film quickly developed a reputation as one of the defining thrillers of the 1970s. Klute set the framework for many other popular thrillers that would follow, with its dark storytelling and puzzle-like narrative.
2 Creed (2015) - 3.8/5
Ryan Coogler's Creed is not only one of the best legacy sequels ever made, but also one of the greatest sports movies in general. It continues Rocky's story in a way that feels completely natural, whilst also introducing new characters that effortlessly bring this long-running story into a new generation.
Michael B. Jordan absolutely shines as Adonis Johnson, the son of Rocky's old rival Apollo Creed - but no matter how good his performance is, Stallone can't help but steal the show in his long-awaited return to the role of Rocky Balboa. It's everything that audiences have wanted to see and more, which is why fans of the original hold the film in such high regard.
1 Rocky (1976) - 4/5
After almost fifty years, there's a reason that Rocky is still considered to be the finest example of exactly how to do a sports movie correctly. It's full of intense action sequences, poetic storytelling, powerful characters, and an inspirational narrative that will resonate with all audiences.
Rocky Balboa is considered one of the all-time great protagonists for a reason, and that reason is Sylvester Stallone. He brings Rocky to life in a way that no other actor could have, displaying all the raw humanity, vulnerability, and determination of the character through his virtuoso performance that nobody will ever forget.
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