If you think of more compelling action-packed thrillers, Sylvester Stallone movies are among the ones you should see. The legendary movie star is undoubtedly one of the most successful and prolific actors in Hollywood. With his career spanning over four decades, the actor boasts an impressive resume with lots of movies to his credit.
Born Michael Sylvester Gardenzio on the 6th day of July 1946, the Manhattan, New York native began his acting career in 1970. Following his breakout role in the 1976 blockbuster, Rocky, Sylvester Stallone has gone on to appear in a good number of successful Hollywood projects.
Some of his top-grossing movies have been critically acclaimed and have received lots of accolades over the years, thus amassing huge returns in the box office. Throughout his career, Stallone has worked with A-list actors like Kurt Russell, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, to mention a few.
Wondering what movies are the best Sylvester Stallone movies? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. From his hit movies to badass and throwback movies, here are Sylvester Stallone movies as they are ranked from best to worst based on their box office returns.
Sylvester Stallone Movies Ranked From Best To Worst
1. The Expendables Franchise (2010)
The Expendables franchise is one of the most successful Sylvester Stallone movies. The complete action thriller follows a group of elite mercenaries tasked with a mission to save hostages on a vessel from Somali pirates and to overthrow a Latin American dictator who they later found out he is a puppet being remotely controlled by a heartless ex-CIA agent.
In addition to being a co-creator of this franchise, Sylvester Stallone also portrayed the lead role of Barney Ross alongside Jason Statham, Jet Li, and Terry Crews, among others. Since the release of its first installment in August 2010, the film further has two other sequels including The Expendables 2 which was released in August 2012 and The Expendables 3, that followed in August 2014. Having received rave reviews from fans and critics, the franchise which was made on a budget of $272 million, grossed $804.1 million in Box Office.
2. Rambo Franchise (1982)
Sylvester Stallone plays the role of John James Rambo in this action thriller franchise. The movie is based on David Morrell’s 1972 novel titled First Blood. It chronicles the life of John Rambo (played by Sylvester Stallone), an ex-US Army Special Forces Soldier and Vietnam War veteran, who is skilled in many aspects of weaponry, survival, guerrilla warfare, and hand-to-hand warfare.
After its first franchise which was released in 1982, it had four sequels including Rambo: First Blood part II (1985), Rambo III (1988), Rambo (2008), and Rambo: Last Blood (2019). The box office hit series has got mixed reviews from fans and critics alike. Although the first four installments were made on a budget of $152.5 million, it garnered $294.09 million in Box Office returns.
3. Rocky (1976)
Rocky is yet another blockbuster and certainly one of the most successful Sylvester Stallone movies. It follows the story of a small-boxer from Philadelphia named Rocky Balboa (played by Sylvester) who got a rare opportunity to fight the reigning world heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed (Cart Weathers) when his supposed opponent is injured. As a result of this, Rocky would do all he can to prove himself and also keep his self-respect.
Written by Sylvester and directed by John G. Avildesh, Rocky is one of the best sports films ever made and one of the highest-grossing movies of 1976. It grossed $225 million in Box Office returns from its budget of $1 million. More so, it also received ten Oscar nominations in nine categories at the 49th Academy Awards, winning three.
4. Creed (2015)
Creed is a 2015 sports drama film which is a sequel in the Rocky franchise. Made on a budget of $35 million, this movie was a Box office hit with $173.6 million Box Office returns. It follows the life of a young man Adonis Donnie Johnson, the son of an extramarital lover of former heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed as he was visited by Creed’s widow, Mary who offered to take him in after serving his time in a Los Angeles youth detention center.
Donnie would later resign from his job at a financial group to pursue his dream of becoming a pro boxer. Although Mary opposes his plans, recalling how her husband was killed in the ring 30 years ago, Donnie goes to a Boxing Academy managed by the son of his father’s trainer Tony Duke Evers. After he was turned down, he travels to Philadelphia in search of another trainer, Rocky Balboa, his father’s friend, and rival.
Directed by Ryan Coogler, the film also stars Tessa Thompson, Anthony Bellew, and Phylicia Rashad. Regarded as one of the top 10 films of 2015, Creed racked several award nominations. For his performance in this movie, Sylvester Stallone took home many awards including a Golden Globe Award, Critic’s Choice Award, National Board Review Award, and much more.
5. Demolition Man (1993)
In this science fiction action thriller, Sylvester Stallone plays the role of LAPD Sgt. John Spartan, who leads an unauthorized assault to apprehend Simon Phoenix a psychopathic career criminal who kidnaps a number of hostages with his gang in an abandoned building.
Phoenix sets explosives that demolish the building leading to the death of the hostages. Both Spartan and Phoenix were captured and are cryogenically frozen in 1996. In 2032, Phoenix was reanimated and he escapes while on parole, now they rely on Spartan to help them find him in the new world where everything is changed.
The movie grossed $159.1 million in the Box Office after it was made on a budget of $57 million.
6. Cop Land (1997)
Cop Land is a 1997 American crime drama in which Sylvester Stallone has a starring role. The film follows a hotheaded superboy who gets mixed up in a racially motivated incident. His uncle who is New York dirty cop, Ray Donlan tries all he could to cover up the incident and fake his nephew’s death. This would later result in a serious investigation by Idealistic Internal Affairs officer, Moe Tilden (played by Robert De Niro) and Freddy Heflin (played by Sylvester Stallone) who is the sheriff of the suburban New Jersey town where Ray Donlan and other crooked policemen live.
Made with a budget of $15 million US dollars, Cop Land notched $63.7 million in Box Office returns.
7. Assassins (1995)
This action thriller is neither the best nor worst, among Sylvester Stallone movies but could pass based on its Box Office return. It follows the life of an assassin Robert Rath (played by Stallone) as he arrives at a funeral to kill a prominent mobster, only to discover his rival hired gun Miguel Bain (played by Antonio Banderas) complete the job for him. He decides to take one last job before opting out of his contract to return to civilian life. But finding his way out of contract killing isn’t too easy as he fell in love with his target, Electra (played by Julianne Moore), hence becoming a marked man himself.
Released in 1995, Assassins was directed by Richard Donner and it grossed a total of $83.3 million from a budget of $50 million. It also garnered mixed reviews from press and film critics. Additionally, Stallone got a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actor for his performance in the film.
8. Driven (2001)
This 2001 cutting-edge action thriller revolves around the cast of characters living life in the fastest of lanes, in the thrilling and dangerous world of high-tech car racing. Sylvester Stallone plays the role of Joe Tanto, a former Champ Car Champion who was recalled by the team owner, Carl Henry to help mentor their rookie driver, Jimmy Bly. For Joe to enter the team he would replace Memo Moreno who happens to be married to his ex-wife Cathy.
Directed by Renny Harlin, Drive was written and produced by Sylvester Stallone. At the Box Off, Driven was a commercial failure as it grossed only $54.7 million after it was made on a budget of $94 million. The film also garnered generally negative reviews from critics as it was said to be one of the worst car racing films ever.
9. Get Carter (2000)
Get Carter is also one of the worst Sylvester Stallone movies out there. Directed by Stephen Kay, the action film was made on a budget of $63.6 million and it grossed $19.4 million in Box Office returns. It follows the life of a mob enforcer, Jack Carter (played by Sylvester) living in Los Angeles as he returns home to Seattle after hearing that his brother, Ritchie died in a drunk-driving accident.
At his brother’s funeral Jack meets Ritchie’s co-worker and friend, Eddie and his niece, Doreen who told him that Ritchie rarely drank and has never driven while intoxicated. As a result of this, Jack would do everything he could to find out what happened to his brother. After its release, Get Carter was poorly rated by critics and for his role in the movie, Stallone was nominated for Worst Actor Award while the film got Worst Remake or sequel at the 21st Golden Raspberry Awards in 2000.
10. Avenging Angelo (2002)
This is no doubt one of the worst Sylvester Stallone movies as it not only got poor ratings but also made the worst Box Office return ever. Made on a budget of $17 million, Avenging Angelo had a total of $824, 597 in Box Office returns.
The action thriller follows the story of a Mafia boss Angelo (played by Anthony Quinn) who gets killed in a restaurant. His loyal bodyguard, Frankie (played by Sylvester Stallone) takes it upon himself to protect his daughter, Jennifer (played by Madeleine Stowe) who he thinks might be in danger. Jennifer, on the other hand, doesn’t know that Angelo is her father as he gave her up for adoption soon after she was born. After Frankie tells her the truth, she sets out to avenge her father’s death with a very minute understanding of the Mafia protocol.