Paradise Alley (1978)
The Film: Another triple-whammy from Stallone, who wrote, directed and starred in this ‘40s-set drama, which follows three brothers who live in Hell’s Kitchen and get involved in professional wrestling.
Stallone Strength: Sly’s feeling confident after the success of Rocky , and it shows in Paradise – he’s a star in the making here, and boy does he know it.
The Film: Biographical crime drama charting the life of Chicago gangster Al Capone.
Stallone Strength: Sly really proved he could act in Capone, playing Frank Nitti, “the kind of SOB you’d like to kick in the balls” according one IMDb commenter. Relying on strength of character more than anything, Stallone really wows as a miserable bastard.
The Lords Of Flatbush (1974)
The Film: Sly shares the screen with Henry Winkler (yes, the Fonze himself) as they play two members of a Brooklyn gang. Set in the 1950s, it’s a coming-of-ager that celebrates that era with genuine affection.
Stallone Strength: Stallone depends on his natural ruggedness to play tough guy Stanley, but surprises by giving us an insight into the character’s softer inclinations.
The Film: One of Stallone’s more successful comedies, Oscar finds him playing Angelo 'Snaps' Provolone, a criminal who promises his dying father that he’ll clean up and become a businessman.
Stallone Strength: Nothing’s funnier than somebody taking the mickey out of themselves (except for internet cat videos), so Stallone taking a dig at his rep as a hard nut is great in John Landis’ comedy.
Tango & Cash (1989)
The Film: Buddy cop film that was big with audiences, but fell flat with critics. Sly and Kurt Russell play rival LAPD detectives forced to team up to take down a criminal mastermind.
Stallone Strength: Another Golden Raspberry nomination for Stallone (again for Worst Actor), though this time he missed out on the trophy. Thank goodness, he absolutely didn't deserve it. Tango & Cash is bloody aces.
Lock Up (1989)
The Film: Prison drama in which near-parole inmate Jack (Stallone) sees his bid for freedom ruined by big meanie Warden Drumgoole (Donald Sutherland).
Stallone Strength: One of Stallone’s biggest flops (we barely even remember it), Lock Up nonetheless features a fine turn from the actor, who just about holds his own against Sutherland.
The Film: Just 16% fresh over at Rotten Tomatoes, this action thriller written by the Wachowskis went through a dumbing-down rewrite that ruined its chances from the outset.
Stallone Strength: Still, as assassin Robert Rath, Stallone earned praise for rising above the watered-down material and delivering a decent performance as a man tortured by his past deeds.
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
The Film: Stallone’s second outing as John Rambo, with the Vietnam vet released from prison and going on another one-man mission.
Stallone Strength: The Rambo films are all about Stallone’s muscularity, and this second one is no different – heck, its poster features a bare-chested Sly flexing his guns while gripping a bazooka. No subtlety here, please…
The Film: Drama set in the 1930s, where Johnny Kovak (Stallone) climbs the ladder at a trade union, becoming ever more ruthless in his pursuit for power.
Stallone Strength: Stallone continues to corner the market in heavyweight bruisers, and this time he does it rocking a flatcap.
He’s basically on autopilot in F.I.S.T ., though, a shame considering this is just after the emotional sucker-punch of Rocky .
Death Race 2000 (1975)
The Film: Dystopian sci-fi in which racers must kill innocent bystanders in order to win points. The more brutal the death, the higher the grade.
Stallone Strength: The fact that Stallone plays a character called Machine Gun Joe Viterbo pretty much says it all – he gets to show off some impressive fighting skills, and shows flashes of self-depreciating humour.
It's a massively fun performance, in a massively fun movie. We were calling our best mate a "dumb potato" for weeks afterwards.