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Sylvester Stallone's Most Enduring Movie Characters

Updated on July 26, 2014

Sylvester Stallone has been in the entertainment field since 1970, but America didn’t really know him until the movie Rocky came out and then Sylvester Stallone became a household name. Rocky was such a loveable character that it produced six movies featuring Rocky Balboa.The movies of Rocky worked not only because of the character of Rocky, but the actor Sylvester Stallone made you care about this guy.

Sylvester Stallone has been extremely successful in producing multiple movies based on a movie character. We have Rocky Balboa and the movies that had the character in them were Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV, Rocky V, and Rocky Balboa. Comedians would create jokes about the number of Rock y movies that were made, but there is no denying the world had a soft spot for Rocky because the movies showed that Rocky was all heart, he was fun to watch because he could be serious and then come up with very funny lines. He appealed to women, men and kids with the way he never gave up, the love he had for his friends and family, and his determination to never give up against all odds to do what he loved doing best boxing.

Best Quote: The interviewer asks Rocky where he got the name The Italian Stallion and Rocky replies “I made it up one night while I was eating dinner.”

Rocky IV was the most successful of the Rocky movies making over 300 million dollars. The movie is about Rocky going to Russia to fight Drago who killed Apollo Creed in the ring. It is Russia vs. America and a tale of revenge.

Rocky- Rocky was inspired by a boxing match Sylvester Stallone watched between Mohammed Ali and a lesser known boxer named Charles Wepner. The match went 15 rounds with Ali being the favorite to win and it almost became an upset in the 9th round when Ali slipped. In the end Ali won, but it wasn’t an easy win because Wepner wouldn’t stay down. Sylvester wrote the script in three days and the rest is history. Who could not love Rocky the down on his luck boxer that never gave up and kept on fighting because he loved the sport and it was all that he was good at.

Rocky was also inspired by other boxers. The most obvious one is Rocky Marciano. Marciano was the heavy weight champion from September 23, 1952 to April 27, 1956. He was the undefeated heavy weight champion throughout his career. The character Rocky Balboa wants to be just like his idol which is Marciano, but Rocky wasn’t as successful as his hero.

The next person that Rocky was based on is another heavy weight fighter and this boxer is Rocky Graziano. He was considered the greatest knockout boxer and he too could take a punch and never gave up. In the fight against Tony Zale Rocky had a cut above his eye and the fight was almost stopped but he was allowed to continue when the bleeding was stopped. He ended up winning the boxing match in the 6th round.

Last Joe Frazier was also an inspiration with his Philadelphia background. Joe worked at a slaughter house and he would punch the sides of beef that were stored there.

Rocky though down and out never gave up being a fighter and fought the odds and was given the answer to his prayers when he was set to fight the more well-known boxer Apollo Creed. In the movie who doesn’t want to go home and get into shape after watching Rocky and his creative ways of preparing himself for a fight.

Rocky may not have been the brightest guy around but he was loveable, loyal to his boss, his trainer Mickey, his friend Paulie and his girlfriend, and later wife, Adriane. Rocky won the hearts of the world and has been made into six movies so far. It seems the public can never get enough of that loveable lug Rocky Balboa.

The most successful of the Rambo movies is Rambo: First Blood Part II. Part one had the audience wondering what had become of John Rambo when he was taken to prison after the first Rambo movie had ended. This movie has Rambo being asked to go to Vietnam and see if there are still POWs there. If he can do that he will be pardoned for his crimes. Rambo is a man of action and that is where we see Rambo and all his skills as a soldier and we want to see him rescue the POWs and to gain freedom for himself.

Trivia It is the only Rambo film nominated for an Oscar.

The total body count in the movie was 67 with 57 being killed by Rambo himself.

Best quote from movie: “Sir to we get to win this time?”

John Rambo -this character appeared in the 1982 movie First Blood. John is a former member of the United States Army Special Forces. Movie goers rooted for his character when he was picked on by the town’s sheriff and his deputies he has flashbacks of Vietnam and defends himself. He then escapes to the woods where he fights to protect himself from his pursuers. Sylvester changed the character to be more likeable than the book’s version of John Rambo. Rambo is the only surviving member of his troop and he must have felt like it was him against the world when he fought to be taken into custody.

Rambo gets the audiences sympathy he is down on his luck and being harassed when all he wants to do is be left alone. In these movies Sylvester Stallone makes John Rambo more human and more feeling than the original Rambo books written by David Morrell.

The Rambo movies have spanned the years 1982 to 2008. Rocky movies have spanned from 1976 to 2006. Not many actors could have such success in film roles to be able to span the years that these movies have, but Sylvester Stallone was not done yet. In 2010 he created another character that would charm movie audiences worldwide, and that character would be found in the movie The Expendables. The film was released in 2010 and since then Sylvester has made The Expendables II and there will soon be an Expendables III.

The most successful of The Expendable movies has been The Expendables II it grossed over $310 million worldwide. This movie worked better than the first movie did because of its humor and action scenes.

Trivia for The Expendables -Sylvester Stallone’s character Barney Ross was chosen by Sly himself. It was the name of a real man who was a World War II hero and a 3 time boxing champion.

Best Quote “Rest in pieces.” Barney Ross uttered this line from the movie

Barney Ross was introduced to us in the movie The Expendables. This movie is reminiscent of movies such as The Dirty Dozen, The Magnificent Seven, and Saving Private Ryan. There is a gang of guys working together (they are mercenaries) and they must over throw a Latin dictator. There is plenty of action, crashes, gun fire, physical fights, but there is also a fun atmosphere in the air as the men ignore all the danger and go where most people would dare not tread. The head of the group is Barney Ross played by Sylvester Stallone. Once again Stallone creates a character that draws the audience in and keeps them entertained. Barney is a great fighter, pilot, and friend. Barney is a bit like Rambo but with more humor. There is an air of mystery about him and we really don’t get to see his personality like we did with Rocky. The things known about Barney are that his favorite hobby is Calligraphy, and he likes all John Ford movies

There have been a few actors that have reprised their roles in movies with success Arnold Swartzenagger, Bruce Willis, and Nicolas Cage to name a few. None of them has done it three times playing three different characters.

Sylvester Stallone began his career writing a character that would become his greatest creation Rocky Balboa. He also took a script of Rambo and rewrote to mold him into the character audiences could relate to. Lightning struck a third time when he wrote The Expendables. His characters possess strength, drive, devotion, loyalty, and a determination to do a job they love well. Sylvester also gave them heart and that was the most important element to his success.


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    • cfjots profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Conway, SC

      Thanks Fullerman5000 for your comments. I saw Cliffhanger and that was a great action movie by Stallone. I also liked The Expendables, but I have to say Rocky is my favorite. Thank you for reading the article.

    • Fullerman5000 profile image


      6 years ago from Louisiana, USA

      For me Sly will always be Rambo. First movie I saw of his. Never was a fan of Rocky even though they were great films. I also liked Cliffhanger, Demolition Man and The Expendables. Great action flicks. Thanks for writing this little piece.

    • cfjots profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Conway, SC

      Thank you FlorishAnyway for your comments. I agree with you Rocky is my favorite movie character that Sylvester Stallone has portrayed. He has even said that if he had to choose just one movie character to be associated with it would be Rocky because that was his first baby so to speak.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      To me, Sly will always be Rocy Balboa. Thanks for a trip down memory lane.


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