Sylvester Stallone – or, as you may know him, John Rambo or Rocky Balboa or Barney Ross – is one of the biggest movie stars in the world and he has been for over forty years now. Not many actors manage to remain consistently popular among a wide moviegoing audience for that long, so you have to be pretty special to maintain stardom for that period of time. The key to Stallone’s success is just how damn likable he is. It’s as simple as that. The moviegoing public adores the guy. He’s a great guy! Here are 10 reasons why people love him.
10. He admits to his mistakes
One great thing about Sylvester Stallone is that he is willing to admit to his mistakes. If you ask him whether or not conceding to studio demands that The Expendables 3 be rated PG-13 was a bad idea, he won’t kick off like most movie stars and storm out yelling, “This interview is over!” Instead, he will admit to making a mistake. He said, “Absolutely, unequivocally yes. I believe it was a horrible miscalculation on everyone’s part in trying to reach a wider audience, but in doing such, diminish the violence that the audience expects. I’m quite certain it won’t happen again.” Jackie Chan has been offered a role in every Expendables movie since the first sequel, and he has consistently turned it down. We might be seeing him in the fourth movie, finally. He said, “Sly [Stallone] wants me for Expendables 4. I said, ‘Okay.’ Because they already asked me to be in two and three, but I refused. Well, I didn’t refuse, but I said, ‘Sly, can’t we just do you and me? Not just a bunch of people and me only coming out for five minutes.’ Because then the audience is, ‘Oh!’ And then I’m gone.” So, maybe he just wants to do a team-up movie with Stallone, which would be awesome anyway!
9. He commits to his roles
Most action movie stars seem to just phone it in. They get the role because of their ripped body and then they think that as long as they keep that in check, they’ll be fine. These people don’t actually commit themselves to a role. They don’t play a character. They just show up and say their lines. Sylvester Stallone isn’t like that. He commits. He even sacrificed his Rambo bod to play a regular guy in Cop Land and gained 40 pounds of fat for the role. He doesn’t just play one dimensional roles either. He saw that veterans were coming back from Vietnam and being shunned from society, so he decided to bring their struggles to the big screen, convey the emotions properly, and draw attention to this issue. That’s just an example. Stallone’s acting as Rocky Balboa is actually incredible. The gravitas of his performance is what keeps the focus of those movies on the love story and not on the boxing. That’s what it was all about. He’s the only guy to be simultaneously nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay besides Orson Welles and Charlie Chaplin. Most people wouldn’t put those three together on the same level, but dig a little deeper and you’ll see the similarities in their talents.
8. He knows what his fans want
The story of John Rambo came to the perfect conclusion in his fourth cinematic outing. He had returned reluctantly to his heroic ways to save a bunch of well meaning activists from the rebels in Burma, then he had come back to the United States to live out his days in the countryside. Rambo had never lived comfortably or peacefully ever since he came home from ‘Nam, but he had finally achieved a peaceful existence. If Stallone had his way, that would be the end of the story and he would retire the John Rambo character for good. But of course, his fans haven’t had enough. We want more. So, just as reluctantly as Rambo himself jumps into action, Sly has signed on to do a fifth Rambo movie. In this fifth installment, the character will take on a Mexican drug cartel at the border, which sounds strikingly relevant in today’s political climate. But then the Rambo movies have always been politically relevant. The first two were about ‘Nam when that was the hot issue, the third movie was about Afghanistan when that was the issue, and the fourth movie was about Burma when they were having their troubles over there. So, it makes sense that the fifth movie, in production right now for a fall 2019 release, would be about relations at the U.S./Mexico border.
7. He rediscovered his faith in God when his daughter was born
As a child, Sylvester Stallone was raised to be strictly Catholic, but as he became one of the world’s biggest celebrities, his faith in God and his churchgoing sort of went away. But then when his daughter was born with medical problems, he rediscovered his faith in God to save her. Over the years, his allegiance to the specific faith of Catholicism has wavered, but he still believes there is a God. Now, he still considers himself to be a spiritual man. In a 2010 interview with GQ magazine, when he was asked if he was a religious man, Stallone said, “I’m pretty spiritual. I believe a lot in the spirit of man. I’m certainly not an atheist…I was baptized Catholic, but I don’t belong to a structured church. I have no opposition to it. I think there’s great nuggets of knowledge in there, some wonderful rules to live by. Then the flip side is the amount of agony that’s caused, which is, excuse me?” Stallone’s religious views are so prevalent that they have been satirized in a piece by The Onion entitled “Pope Francis Told Sylvester Stallone Over Twitter That He Did Everything He Could But Sylvester’s Going To Hell.”
6. He has a bromance with Arnold Schwarzenegger
In the 1980s, the two big action movie titans, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, were rivals. Stallone explained recently, “We really disliked each other intensely for twenty years.” So, how did they end up being such good friends? Today, they share a bromance! Well, Stallone’s theory is that the rivalry that the two shared would eventually bring them together, since their competitiveness is something that they had in common. He said, “Eventually you start to appreciate something – maybe the reason we were so competitive is what made us get where we are. Seriously, I think it helps. It’s what gets you out of bed in the morning and go, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to get at it again.’” Now, having been in movies together, Stallone has said that on the set, “There was so much testosterone, it was slippery. We were constantly just trying to out-man each other. On the way out of a set, I’d call the police and have his car searched. And he had my car searched.” What do two guys like Stallone and Schwarzenegger do on the weekends? Well, according to Stallone, they go shopping on the weekends between filming and play chess. So, they’re not as badass as they seem. They’re just old guys who act like teenage girls.
5. He is the king of motivational quotes
Sylvester Stallone is the undefeated heavyweight champion of motivational quotes. He is very down to Earth and spiritual and he has used that to come up with some of the most inspirational words that anyone has ever spoken. He once admitted to his own shortcomings and offered up advice for how to find success if you have similar shortcomings. He said, “I am not the richest, smartest or most talented person in the world, but I succeed because I keep going and going and going.” He also once told us, “Your spiritual sense will make you either a winner or a loser.” He’s saying it’s up to you whether you’re a winner or a loser in this world. Where your head is at will decide that. So deep, and yet so true! That’s the kind of stuff he always comes out with. He gave us this interesting definition of success: “Success is usually the culmination of controlling failures.” And then there’s the crème de la crème of the Stallone inspirational quote library: “You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
4. He wasn’t a sore loser after missing out on an Oscar
The first time he played Rocky Balboa back in 1976, Sylvester Stallone was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. So, it was only right that almost forty years later, after his career had taken him to dizzying highs through camp action movies in the ‘80s and more contemplative and dramatic works in the ‘90s, when he returned to the role of Balboa alongside Michael B. Jordan in a spin-off/sequel in which he handed on the baton of the franchise, Stallone would be nominated for another Oscar. This time, it was Best Supporting Actor. If he had won, it would have made for a beautiful end to this story. Instead, the award went to the arguably equally deserving Mark Rylance. While Sly’s brother Frank Stallone was furious and salty about the loss, saying, “The Academy should be ashamed of themselves. It’s as clear as the nose on your face that Sly won,” Sly himself wasn’t a sore loser about it. He simply told fans, “To all the ‘real Rocky’s’ of the world, please hang on to your dreams.” Sly’s friend Arnold Schwarzenegger posted a message on social media to support him after he lost out on the Oscar. He wrote, “To me, you’re the best, no matter what they say.” Aw.
3. He always plays the hero
In almost all of his movies, Sylvester Stallone is the hero. Whether he is the underdog boxer that we want to triumph in his latest fight or the Vietnam veteran who reluctantly goes back east to save a bunch of prisoners of war, Stallone is always the guy that you root for. John Rambo is a soldier who fought for his country and was then unjustly cast out from society when he came home. That makes him the ultimate kind of hero to root for. His Rocky Balboa character is so iconic that there’s a statue of him up in Philadelphia, and Stallone has a place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame – he’s not even a boxer! He got in there just for playing a boxer who has become such a legendary cinematic icon. Stallone has played a bunch of heroic type characters over the years: police officers, FBI agents, superheroes. If he’s a mercenary or a hitman in his movies, then he’s not a bad one. He takes on the really bad guys in this world, like the dictators that rule Latin American country or the megalomaniacs bent on world domination.
2. He’s a great dad
Another reason why so many people love Sylvester Stallone is that he is a dedicated father to five great children. He loves those kids, one of whom sadly died in 2012 at the age of 36. He was found to have died of heart attack caused by atherosclerosis by the coroners. When his son Sage died a few years ago at a tragically young age, the world mourned for his parents. Stallone had previously cast Sage as his character’s son, Robert Rocky Balboa, Jr., in the beloved boxing franchise. He was very close with his son. When he was reached for comment following Sage’s passing, he had the following heartbreaking things to say: “When a parent loses a child, there is no greater pain. Therefore, I am imploring people to respect my talented son’s memory and feel compassion for his loving mother Sasha. This agonising loss will be felt for the rest of our lives. Sage was our first child and the center of our universe and I am humbly begging for all to have my son’s memory and soul left in peace.” To his surviving children, Stallone is as loving a father as ever. He has experienced the worst thing that a parent can go through and come out even stronger.
1. He sold his dog when he was broke and bought him back again when he was rich
If you need any indication that Sylvester Stallone is a good guy, then it is the story of how he sunk so low that he had to sell his dog and then bought him back again when he was back on top. It’s hard to imagine a Sylvester Stallone who isn’t one of the biggest celebrities in the world with millions upon millions of dollars to his name who had more offers for starring roles in movies than he could shake a stick at, but he was once totally broke and couldn’t get any work as an actor. Back when he was struggling and had just over $100 in his bank account, Stallone reached such a point of desperation that he was unable to afford food for his dog and took the dog down to the nearest liquor store where he told passers-by that he would accept any amount for the dog. He got just $50 for the dog. A few days later, he saw a boxing match that inspired him to write a screenplay about a plucky underdog named Rocky Balboa, and when he was paid $35,000 for the script, he used $3,000 of it to get the dog back.