50 Years in Showbiz: The Best of Sylvester Stallone

Not many people will have heard of the film, The Party at Kitty and Stud’s. Released in 1970 and
directed by Morton Lewis, it’s a soft-porn movie, and it’s truly terrible. It is notable, however, for its
lead actor – Sylvester Stallone. Whether “Sly” likes it or not, The Party at Kitty and Stud’s is where it
all began for the Hollywood strongman. But it’s safe to say that his first movie won’t define his
career. Indeed, Stallone has given so much to cinema that it’s impossible to say that any one thing
defines him.

To be frank, however, Stallone is rarely recognised as a thinking person’s actor. But it’s a little bit too
facile to dismiss his entire body of work as muscles and guns. Indeed, Stallone is capable of subtle
work at times. He is much more than, say, a Jean-Claude Van Damme or Stevan Seagal. More
importantly, though, the movie landscape would be a lot less intriguing without him. Below we are
going to look at the best of Sylvester Stallone after 50 years in the business:


The Rocky franchise is massive and lucrative, spanning everything from the current acclaimed Creed
movies to the Rocky-themed. But we tend to
forget what a great film the original Rocky was. It got ten Academy Award nominations, winning Best
Picture and Best Director. Stallone himself was nominated for Best Screenplay and Best Actor. In the
latter category, he was up against the likes of Robert De Niro for Taxi Driver and Peter Finch, who
won for Network – this was a tough year, and Stallone was punching with the heavyweights of
acting. Rocky’s legacy, one would argue, suffers from the countless sequels that came after. But as a
standalone film, it’s a masterpiece.

Cop Land

Does Stallone outshine acting heavyweights like Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta and Harvey Keitel in this
riveting, albeit a little flawed, police drama from director Robert Mangold? It’s debatable, but Sly
certainly held is own in an intriguing portrayal of half-deaf Sheriff Freddy Heflin who slowly comes to
realise the extent of the corruption around him. Cop Land was touted as the movie that was going to
demonstrate that Stallone could act – really act. It didn’t deliver the knockout punch that Stallone
fans arguably wanted after years of tough guy roles. However, it was nevertheless a fine

The Expendables Franchise

The key to watching many of Stallone’s action films is to let yourself go a bit, and not to take
everything too seriously. The Expendable is, as you might expect, extremely aware of itself and its
cast. Empire magazine described the first movie as “one of those MarkMeets Doctor Who quiz episodes where all the old Doctors show up in one show”, and that’s a pretty apt way of describing the line-up of The
Expendables, which is a who’s who of action-movie history. Among the Schwarzenegger and
Stathams, Stallone stands out as the heart of the franchise. But it also told us that Stallone could still
bank plenty of box-office dollars in the Marvel era; not just as an actor, but as a screenwriter and

First Blood

Many actors will use the physical gifts given to them, and Stallone obviously makes the most of his
bulging muscles. However, Stallone was also blessed with the ability to draw audiences into his
psyche with use of his eyes. That haunted look is certainly present in First Blood. Like the Rocky
films, the subsequent Rambo sequels punish the original and its messaging retrospectively. This
wasn’t the first anti-Vietnam War film, but it was the first to truly demonstrate that US veterans of
the war were among its forgotten victims. Without John Rambo, films like Platoon, Born on the
Fourth of July, etc. would never have been made in the same way.

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Mark Meets
Mark Meets
MarkMeets Media is British-based online news magazine covering showbiz, music, tv and movies
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