What The Hell Happened To Sylvester Stallone?

Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone

After knocking around Hollywood for a few years, Sylvester Stallone broke through in 1976 with one of the most beloved movies of the era. It went on to win some awards and make its title character an icon. Six years later, he would move into the role of another iconic character. Stallone rode both these characters to much box office success throughout the 80s. But when he tried to move beyond those franchises the results were either disastrous or ignored. At one point, he was on the verge of being exiled to direct to video territory and the only thing that saved him was to first bring back the two franchises for one more round, then start a whole new one.

What the hell happened to Sylvester Stallone?

As I researched this article I started to suspect that if Stallone could be compared to any other actor or director covered in the What The Hell Happened series it would be Eddie Murphy. The pattern is similar: Massive success followed by a downturn, comeback followed by another downturn. And so on.

Once I started to look closely I realized how accurate that comparison is.

Sylvester Stallone was born on July 6 1946 in New York City. His father was a hairdresser, a profession young Sly once considered (“Yo Adrian! Where’s the trimmer and shampoo?”). According to rumor, his father once told him that he wasn’t that smart and needed to rely on his physique and toughness as a way to succeed.

Here’s an interesting fact from Wikipedia:

Complications his mother suffered during labor forced her obstetrician to use two pairs of forceps during his birth; misuse of these accidentally severed a nerve and caused paralysis in parts of Stallone’s face

That explains his perpetual scowl and mush-mouthed dialogue delivery.

After graduating from high school, he attended College at Miami-Dade College and The University Of Miami before dropping out.

Stallone’s first acting role was in a 1970 porno movie called The Party At Kitty And Stud’s. Stallone played Stud. The film was later re-released under the title The Italian Stallion after the success of Rocky.

Note: The following trailer is not safe for work viewing.

I’ve never actually seen it. But considering that it was a porno film released in what was the golden age of porno films according to the brilliant film Boogie Nights, it might be worthwhile. Seeing as Mark Wahlberg was in Boogie Nights, it might be worthwhile to see Stallone with his own Funky Bunch that is.

stallone - no place to hide

Sylvester Stallone – No Place to Hide

In 1970, Stallone landed a lead role in a thriller called No Place To Hide. I had not heard of this film prior to researching this article and I doubt many readers have either.  The only trailer I could find had no sound.

According to Wikipedia:

The film is about New York in the late 1960s; a politically motivated group of students plans bombings of company offices who do business with dictators in Central American countries. But when they contact a known terrorist and bombing specialist, the FBI gets on their track.

stallone - bananas

Sylvester Stallone – Bananas – 1971

In 1971, Stallone had a small, non-speaking role in Woody Allen’s revolutionary comedy, Bananas.  Stallone played a thug on a subway.  The entire scene is silent-movie style comedy.

stallone - lords of flatbush

Sylvester Stallone – The Lord’s of Flatbush – 1974

Next up for Stallone was 1974’s The Lords Of Flatbush. This film was a look back at Brooklyn Teenagers in 1959, a sort of harder, grittier American Graffiti if you will. Stallone co-starred with Perry King and the man we would soon know as Arthur “Fonz” Fonzarelli, aka Henry Winkler. Lords Of Flatbush also marked Stallone’s first go at screenwriting; reportedly he did a dialogue polish on it.

Richard Gere was originally also cast in the movie. But after he nearly came to blows with Stallone, he was sent packing.

Next: Rocky

Posted on February 12, 2014, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor, WTHH Director and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 116 Comments.

  1. Sly won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in Creed. I’m glad to see him recognized for his work as he gave one of the best performances of his career here. I think if he gets an Oscar nom for playing Rocky again that would just be the icing on the cake.

    I was thinking, is this still part of his comeback that began with Rocky Balboa 10 years ago? Or is this yet another comeback for him? His last batch of films over the past few years – Bullet To The Head, Escape Plan, Grudge Match, Expendables 3 – all flopped and his career was sliding away again. Then, Creed comes out and he’s suddenly on top again. Has anybody ever had more comebacks than this guy, ever?


  2. I like sly but he was more deserving of oscar for first rocky or even COpland . He was good not great in Creed. Keaton ,Mark ruffalo and Christian bale amazing in their roles they deserve noms for their films this year. This s coming from someone who dislikes keaton alot too .


  3. Ironic Sly could be only actor to win oscar during his time on this website. Other have been nominated during their time .


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