The 5 Best Sylvester Stallone Action Movies of All Time

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Rocky is a 1976 American sports film directed by John G. Avildsen and both written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. It tells the rags to riches American Dream story of Rocky Balboa, an uneducated but kind-hearted debt collector for a loan shark in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
February 24th, 2014

Sylvester Stallone is one of the most highly regarded action stars in Hollywood, best known for movies like "Rocky" and "First Blood." Stallone's trademarks are his muscular physique, powerful fighting skills and barely intelligible mumble. Although the actor is still going strong with films like the 2013 "Grudge Match" and "The Expendables" series, his most explosive action films are from the 1970s through the early 1990s. The following five films include everything that a great action movie needs, including a well-paced plot, talented actors, good visual effects and exciting fight scenes.

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Photo Credit: United Artists

"Rocky"

This 1976 film follows a struggling boxer named Rocky Balboa who is working as a debt collector in downtown Philadelphia. His ex-trainer Mickey believes that he could have become a successful boxer if he tried, but Rocky is just getting by and living his life day to day. He soon meets a beautiful woman working at a pet shop, and a relationship begins to develop. When a publicity stunt gives Rocky the chance to fight heavyweight boxing champion Apollo Creed, he has the opportunity to transform himself from a "nobody" into a "somebody." Rocky trains hard for the match of his life in hopes of making a name for himself. "Rocky" went on to win three Oscars, and it has spawned a number of sequels. The cultural importance of this movie has led to its induction to the National Film Registry alongside titles like "Casablanca" and "The Wizard of Oz."

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Photo Credit: Orion Pictures Coporation

"First Blood"

Released in 1982, "First Blood" follows the story of John Rambo, a Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient who is haunted by his past. While Rambo is traveling to visit a friend, a local sheriff insults him and drives him out of town. Rambo rebels against the officer and is soon arrested, but he later escapes from the county jail into the forest. The disillusioned Rambo goes on a rampage as the sheriff and deputies attempt to locate and kill him. However, Rambo is in his own element, and his Vietnam fighting skills begin to surface. Meanwhile, Rambo's commanding officer arrives to explain how dangerous the veteran really is. "First Blood" spawned three sequels that were all written by Sylvester Stallone.

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

"Tango & Cash"

This 1989 action flick is a buddy cop film starring Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell as a team of Los Angeles narcotics detectives who don't get along with each other. Upon seeing their success, crime lord Yves Perret realizes that the two cops need to be dealt with, but he knows that killing them would only make them look like martyrs. Instead, he frames them for the murder of an undercover agent in hopes that they would go to prison where he could safely have them killed. Arriving at a maximum security prison, Ray Tango and Gabriel Cash know that they must escape if they want to survive. After their great escape, their next step is to track down Perret.

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

"Demolition Man"

In this 1993 science fiction film, a convicted killer named Phoenix, who was frozen in suspended animation in the 1990s, is released for parole in a peaceful, crime-free future. Phoenix continues to kill, and no one knows how to stop him except for one man. Spartan, the officer who initially captured Phoenix, has been frozen for a crime he didn't commit. The society thaws him out in hopes that he can help them capture Phoenix once again, but Spartan must adapt to an unfamiliar time as he tracks down the deadly criminal. Although "Demolition Man" received mixed reviews from critics, it was a huge box office success.

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Photo Credit: Tristar Pictures

"Cliffhanger"

The 1993 classic follows Gabe, a tough climber who is troubled by the past. When he and a friend are crossing the ledge of a cliff 4,000 feet high, an accident occurs with the climbing equipment of Gabe's friend, and she falls to her death. One year later, he is reluctant to go back to the same mountain to search for and rescue a group of stranded people alongside an old friend who now despises him. Unknown to the two climbers, the lost group is actually a team of thieves searching for large cases of money that had fallen out of an airplane after a hijacking.

The athletic Stallone is an actor, screenwriter and director, bringing a special touch to every film on which he works. Although he is best known for the characters John Rambo and Rocky Balboa, he has played a wide range of unique characters over the course of his career. Despite the star's advancing age, fans can certainly look forward to many more exciting films featuring this Hollywood legend.