Worst To Best: Sylvester Stallone

The Party At Kitty And Stud's (1970)

The Film: Caused a bit of a stir when it was re-released in 2007 as an X-rated film – though none of the X-rated footage involved Sylvester Stallone. In the softcore version, also known as The Italian Stallion , he takes his cinematic bow as the titular Stud, a sadomasochistic boor.

Stallone Strength: He worked just two days and got $200 for his efforts – which mostly involved rolling around naked, standing around naked, whipping people while naked… you get the gist. Not too bad for Sly’s first ever acting gig.

Rhinestone (1984)

The Film: Comedy from director Bob Clark ( Black Christmas ) in which Dolly Parton’s giant-haired country singer attempts to turns Sly’s New York cabbie into a stage performer.

Stallone Strength: The film’s poster had Stallone arm-wrestling with Dolly Parton – yep, Sly’s not afraid of taking on the big gals. He’d have to develop a tough skin after this, though – Rhinestone was dragged over the coals by critics.

Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)

The Film: Shambolic comedy in which a cop’s mother comes to stay and interferes with his life. Even Stallone admits it’s bad. “[ That ] was my worst movie,” he said in 2010. “If you want someone to confess to murder make them sit through that.”

Stallone Strength: Ebbing pretty low here, though Stallone at least got an award out of it. Sure, it’s a Golden Raspberry for Worst Actor, but it’s still an award, right?

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003)

The Film: Third film in Robert Rodriguez’s kiddie capers. Stallone supplies the film with its silver-haired villain Sebastian the Toymaker.

Stallone Strength:
Sure, the kiddies lapped it up, but the critics found little to love – especially when it came to the film’s script. Despite Stallone playing three alter-egos, none of them have any pizzazz.

Staying Alive (1983)

The Film: Sequel to Saturday Night Fever directed by Stallone himself. Six years after Fever , Tony (John Travolta) has moved to Manhattan and is working as a dance instructor.

Stallone Strength:
Though Stallone doesn’t act in the film (aside from a brief cameo appearance), he showed he had heft when it came to directing – the film was a box office smash and was one of the most successful films of 1983.

Driven (2001)

The Film: Sadly not a predecessor to Drive , but a hot-wheeled action drama from director Renny Harlin. Stallone plays racing prodigy Joe Tanto, who’s wheeled in to help a rookie racer.

Stallone Strength: Sly wrote the script for this critically-mauled drama, which did him few favours. Still, his natural charisma gets him through most of his scenes.

Rocky V (1990)

The Film: Not quite a disaster, but absolutely the worst of the Rocky films, this fifth entry has Rocky (Stallone) becoming a trainer but being betrayed by his new protégée.

Stallone Strength:
Stallone’s still got it both in and outside the ring. The highlight here, though, is the relationship between Rocky and his son Robert, played by Stallone’s son Sage. It’s a touching on-screen portrayal that’s all the more affecting in the wake of Sage’s tragic death this year.

No Place To Hide (1970)

The Film: A paranoid thriller surfing a brief trend in conspiracy cinema in the early ‘70s, No Place To Hide follows what happens when the FBI plants a moll in a group of anti-war hippies.

Stallone Strength: Critics weren’t kind to the film or Stallone, the young actor getting his first taste of critical failure. No place to hide, indeed…

Get Carter (2000)

The Film: A remake of Michael Caine’s seminal ‘70s thriller. This time, Stallone is Jack Carter, a financial enforcer at a mob casino who’s out to kill the men who murdered his brother.

Stallone Strength: A definite low-point in the early Noughties for Stallone, Get Carter was savaged by audiences and critics – and Stallone himself was lambasted for “sleepwalking” through most of the film.

Zookeeper (2011)

The Film: Atrocious family comedy starring Kevin James as a lovelorn zookeeper who finds true romance with a little help from his animal friends.

Stallone Strength: Alright, the film was pants, but Stallone came along with his tongue in his cheek as the voice of Joe the Lion. It’s not every day you get to see a big cat speaking like Sly…

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.