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. 151 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 .


  4. 11 Actors Who Survived Career Suicide Twice

    Sylvester Stallone

    It’s no surprise Rocky’s journey to the top is a direct mirror of Stallone’s, since he’s taken plenty of knocks of his own. His filmography is an inspiring story of success against the odds, dramatic failure and then back again; only in his case it’s happened like five times.

    He broke through with Rocky but his follow-up movies – like Paradise Alley – failed, so he made Rocky II, which everyone assumed would be a failure since sequels rarely worked back then. Instead, it and the first Rambo revived his stardom, only for Rhinestone to smother it again. This pattern repeated for a while, but his career really fell on hard times after Cop Land, and he languished for a decade until Rocky Balboa.

    He’s had a steady stream of success since then, including The Expendables and Rambo. All roads lead to Rocky, however, and he’s just been Oscar nominated for playing the elderly Balboa in franchise spin-off Creed; so the odds of a belated Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot sequel are grim.


  5. Sylvester Stallone’s 15 Biggest Movies – Ranked Worst To Best

    Going the distance with the screen legend’s big hitters.


  6. Sylvester Stallone is starring in a TV series based on Mario Puzo’s Omerta

    Stallone is coming to TV in the lead role of mob boss Raymonde Aprile, the last great American Don, based on the final novel by The Godfather author Mario Puzo. According to Deadline, Antoine Fuqua is on board to direct as part of “blockbuster TV package” that The Weinstein Company is shopping to networks.


  7. He’s currently do TV advertisements in the UK for bread.


  8. Nostalgia Critic – Spy Kids 3D: Game Over

    Put on your 3D glasses…wait, you don’t have any? Well then sit back for a trip that’ll make you wanna scratch your eyes out. The Nostalgia Critic takes a look at Spy Kids 3: Game Over. Or is it Spy Kids 3D?


  9. his expnadables co star mickey rourke could use a page . He only had 3 hits post wrestler . . Most of his movies post wrestler have barely seen light of day


  10. Top 5 Sylvester Stallone Films That Aren’t “Rocky” Related


  11. Tylerdurden389

    “The plot had Stallone as a futuristic Robocop knock-off”. If you did your research, you’d know that Robocop was originally gonna be a Judge Dredd movie before they decided to make an original character/story.


  12. Musical Hell: Rhinestone (1984)


  13. Stalloned turn down coming home and witness. Problem is stallone had his choice of dramatic roles but he choose to be action star. His post rocky films where dramatic but they could not find an audeince. the success of first blood gave sly an idea he could be action star. sly could take eastwood route and just direct not act.


  14. wow ive seen stallone on chat shows and always thought what a cool guy he is ? even on his expendable interviews he comes across as humble and laid back and even funny but not arrogant,
    if these storys about him are true then i have to say ive lost respect for him cos i didnt have him down as an arrogant self absorbed asshole.


  15. I heard in 80s he was arrogant


  16. I find it odd people act like his get carter co star mickey Rourke was huge in the day. I did research and most of his film ranged from b movies to flops. his so called heyday was 80s he had a a lot of flops then the 90s where b movie route even after wrestler he went back to b movies so tell me was he reallzy that big casue it seemed like he never had a lot of hits


  17. Good Bad Flicks: Daylight (1996)


  18. I read the story of gere being fired from lord of flatbrush. I must say sly is a dick he goes crazy over chicken greased spilled on him which is accidently . gere doged a bullet . movie sucked


  19. Actually he’s ONE HELL OF AN ACTOR, it’s pretty much normal to have ups and downs, I mean c’mon people he’s not a freaking robot. When you come today at 2017 to find that a girl at her 19 like me addicted to Rocky, Rambo, Copra..etc or people from my country here young and old know everything about that’s a thing.
    He could make some movies & write some scripts that are well saved in our brains & hearts, all I need when I’m down is just a few scenes & qoutes from his movies to have more power & ambition to achieve my goal.
    Sylvester stallone has a Golden name a noticeable mark that he left through his movies, and come to remind you he could almost keep up with every generation’s needs even when he was 50 or 60 years old.
    So I think making alot of movies( either bad or good) but having a large amount of it remembered through decades is 100 time better than just making few good or average movies that can’t be remembered in a few years, ya know what I mean !!


  20. I wouldn’t compare him to Eddie.
    Sylvester stallone was on fire, he did good and bad movies but he never gave up, also he was nominated for oscar once but you know (new always wins).
    And people say he hate his acting !! No no no no and no, our generation just want young, hot actors and romantic or musical movies so you can say we’re a bit too shallow :)) but let me just say I’m only14 and I’ve never been motivated buy ANYONE than him either when it comes to his movies or real life .
    And I wouldn’t judge him cause of the boxoffice or how much money the movie gained, I’d only say that once there’s a movie for sly on TV we watch it now with the same interest and love whatever it was and we always will… Now that’s success so I think the Q. Is Wtf happened to us?! Not to sly.


  21. Sylvester Stallone sues WB for ‘fraud’ and ‘obviously intentional dishonesty’ over its accounting for his 1993 film Demolition Man


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