Sylvester Stallone: the man, the myth, the muscle. Whether he’s playing a scrappy boxing newcomer or a seasoned Vietnam veteran, Stallone always manages to bring his A-game to the big screen. And let’s be real: who doesn’t love a good Sylvester Stallone movie? They’re the perfect blend of action, heart, and pure entertainment. That’s why we’ve decided to countdown the top 20 Sylvester Stallone movies of all time. These films have been selected based on their box office success, critical acclaim, and cultural impact.
So grab a bag of Rocky Road and join us as we revisit some of Stallone’s finest cinematic moments.
Top 20 Sylvester Stallone Movies
With a career spanning over five decades, Stallone has established himself as one of the most recognizable and beloved actors in the industry. From his breakthrough role as Rocky Balboa in the 1976 film Rocky to his recent portrayal of John Rambo in the 2008 film Rambo, Stallone has consistently captivated audiences with his tough guy persona and impressive acting abilities.
Here is our list of the top 20 Sylvester Stallone movies of all time.
1. “Rocky” (1976)
At number one on our list, we have the film that started it all: “Rocky.” This 1976 classic follows the story of Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer from Philadelphia who gets a shot at the big time when he’s chosen to fight the reigning heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed. With its heartwarming story, catchy theme song, and iconic training montages, “Rocky” is a movie that truly has it all.
But what really sets this film apart is Stallone’s unforgettable performance as Rocky. He brings such depth and humanity to the character, and it’s impossible not to root for him as he struggles to prove himself both in and out of the ring. Plus, the Rocky vs. Creed fight scenes are absolutely epic. It’s no wonder this Sylvester Stallone most famous movie won three Oscars and spawned a series of successful sequels.
“Rocky” is a true Sylvester Stallone classic and a must-see for any fan of the actor or the sport of boxing. And let’s be real: who doesn’t love shouting “Adrian!” at the top of their lungs?”
2. “Rambo: First Blood” (1982)
Coming in at number two on our list of the top Sylvester Stallone movies is “First Blood.” In this action-packed film, Stallone stars as John Rambo, a Vietnam veteran who finds himself in a small town that doesn’t take kindly to outsiders. When he’s harassed by the local sheriff and his deputies, Rambo fights back using his military training and survival skills.
“First Blood” is a thrilling ride from start to finish, with Stallone delivering an intense and powerful performance as the troubled yet tough-as-nails Rambo. The film’s fast-paced action sequences and intense confrontations between Rambo and the authorities have made it a fan favorite, and it spawned a successful series of sequels. If you’re a fan of Stallone’s more intense, take-no-prisoners roles, then “First Blood” is definitely a must-see.
3. “Rocky II” (1979)
At number three, we have “Rocky II.” In this fan-favorite sequel, Stallone reprises his role as Rocky Balboa as he faces off against Apollo Creed for a rematch. With Adrian by his side and new-found confidence in his abilities, Rocky trains hard and prepares for the fight of his life.
“Rocky II” is a heart-pumping and emotional ride, with Stallone delivering another standout performance as the lovable Rocky. The film’s climactic final fight scene is one of the most iconic in movie history, and the movie’s themes of perseverance and self-belief have made it a timeless classic. If you enjoyed the first “Rocky,” then “Rocky II” is definitely worth checking out.
4. “Rocky III” (1982)
Stallone returns in this action-packed sequel as Rocky Balboa. However, this time he faces off against a new challenger: Clubber Lang, played by Mr. T. With the help of his trainer, Mickey, and old rival Apollo Creed, Rocky trains hard and prepares for the fight of his life.
“Rocky III” is a high-energy and exciting film, with Stallone bringing his usual charm and charisma to the role of Rocky. The film’s epic final fight scene between Rocky and Clubber is a fan favorite, and the movie’s themes of friendship and determination have made it a timeless classic. If you’re a fan of the Rocky series, then you won’t want to miss this one.
5. “Rocky IV” (1985)
Coming in at number five on our list is “Rocky IV.” In this exciting installment of the Rocky franchise, our hero must face off against a formidable new opponent: Ivan Drago, a Soviet boxer played by Dolph Lundgren. As the Cold War reaches its peak, Rocky and Drago’s fight becomes a symbol of the larger political struggle.
Stallone once again brings his acting A-game as Rocky, delivering a powerful and emotional performance. The film’s final fight scene, set to the iconic song “Hearts on Fire,” is a true standout moment. Along with its themes of patriotism and perseverance, “Rocky IV” solidifies its place as a fan-favorite Sylvester Stallone movie. If you’re a fan of the Rocky series, then you won’t want to miss this one.
6. “Rocky V” (1990)
Balboa must retire from boxing and come to terms with his new reality as a financially strapped and injured former champion. When his son begins boxing and becomes the target of a corrupt promoter, Rocky must step back into the ring to defend his family’s honor.
“Rocky V” may not be the strongest entry in the series, but Stallone’s performance as Rocky is still solid. The film’s themes of fatherhood and redemption make it an emotional and heart-warming watch, and the final fight scene between Rocky and the corrupt promoter’s fighter is a satisfying conclusion. If you’re a die-hard Rocky fan, then “Rocky V” is worth checking out.
7. “Rambo: First Blood Part II” (1985)
Next up at number seven is “Rambo: First Blood Part II.” In this action-packed sequel, Stallone’s John Rambo is recruited by the government for a top-secret mission to Vietnam to search for American POWs. As he faces off against the treacherous Vietnamese soldiers and their Russian allies, Rambo must use all of his military training and survival skills to complete his mission and bring the POWs home.
“First Blood Part II” is a non-stop thrill ride, with Stallone delivering an intense and powerful performance as Rambo. The film’s action sequences and confrontations with the enemy are intense and exhilarating, and the movie’s themes of patriotism and honor make it a fan favorite. This Sylvester Stallone movie is no doubt worth the while.
8. “Rambo III” (1988)
At number eight on our list of the top Sylvester Stallone movies we have “Rambo III.” In this action-packed sequel, Stallone’s John Rambo must return to Afghanistan to rescue his former commanding officer, Colonel Trautman, who has been captured by the Soviet army. As he faces off against the enemy and the treacherous Afghan landscape, Rambo must use all of his military training and survival skills to complete his mission and bring Trautman home.
In “Rambo III,” Stallone delivers another standout performance as the tough-as-nails Rambo. The film’s action sequences and confrontations with the enemy are intense and exhilarating, and the movie’s themes of loyalty and friendship give it an interesting perspective. You should see this one.
9. “Rambo” (2008)
In this high-octane sequel, Stallone’s John Rambo finds himself in the midst of a deadly conflict in war-torn Burma. When a group of missionaries asks for his help in guiding them up the Salween River, Rambo reluctantly agrees, but things take a turn for the worse when the group is captured by the Burmese army.
As the ruthless enemy closes in, Rambo must draw upon all of his military training and survival skills in order to rescue the missionaries and take down the enemy. With its fast-paced action, intense confrontations, and themes of justice and redemption, “Rambo” is a thrilling and satisfying conclusion to the series. Don’t miss this explosive Sylvester Stallone movie.
Curious about the order of the Rambo movies? Check out this article here “Rambo Movies in Order: How to Watch Stallone as John Rambo.”
10. “Over the Top” (1987)
Rounding up our top 10 is “Over the Top.” In this action-packed film, Stallone stars as Lincoln Hawk, a trucker and former arm wrestling champion who is trying to reconnect with his estranged son. When his ex-wife and her wealthy husband refuse to let him see the boy, Hawk enters a high-stakes arm wrestling competition in an attempt to win the money and custody he needs.
“Over the Top” may not be a critical darling, but it’s a fun and enjoyable film thanks to Stallone’s charming performance as Hawk. The film’s arm wrestling scenes are ridiculous and over-the-top (pun intended), but they’re also strangely exhilarating. If you’re in the mood for a silly and entertaining Sylvester Stallone movie, then “Over the Top” is worth checking out.
11. “Tango & Cash” (1989)
“Tango & Cash” is an action-packed buddy cop film. Stallone and Kurt Russell star as Ray Tango and Gabriel Cash, two rival LAPD detectives who are framed by a drug lord and must team up to clear their names.
“Tango & Cash” is a fun and entertaining romp, with Stallone and Russell’s chemistry as the bickering yet lovable cops being a highlight of the film. The film’s action scenes and confrontations with the villains are thrilling, and the movie’s sense of humor and homage to classic buddy cop movies make it a fan favorite. If you’re a fan of action comedies or the Stallone/Russell dynamic, then “Tango & Cash” fits the bill.
12. “Demolition Man” (1993)
“Demolition Man” is next on the list. In this futuristic action-comedy, Stallone stars as John Spartan, a rough-and-tumble cop who is cryogenically frozen in the year 1996 and thawed out in the year 2032. In this new utopian society, crime is virtually non-existent and even the slightest infractions are punished severely. When a criminal from the past (Wesley Snipes) escapes and begins wreaking havoc, Spartan is the only one who can stop him.
“Demolition Man” is fun and entertaining, with Stallone and Snipes delivering solid performances as the rival cops. The film’s futuristic setting and action scenes are a blast, and the movie’s satirical take on society’s obsession with political correctness is still relevant today. If you’re in the mood for a light-hearted Sylvester Stallone movie, then Demolition Man is worth checking out.
13. “Judge Dredd” (1995)
At number 13 on our list of the top Sylvester Stallone movies we have “Judge Dredd.” In this futuristic action film, Stallone stars as Judge Dredd, a law enforcer in a dystopian society where the judges serve as both police and judges. When a rogue judge unleashes a deadly virus on the city, Dredd must team up with a young psychic (Diane Lane) to stop him and save the city.
“Judge Dredd” is a fun and enjoyable film thanks to Stallone’s commanding performance as the no-nonsense titular character. The film’s action scenes and futuristic setting are a blast, and the movie’s satirical take on the justice system is still relevant today. If you’re a fan of futuristic action or Stallone’s tough-guy roles, then “Judge Dredd” is worth checking out.
14. “Cop Land” (1997)
Occupying the number 14 spot on our list of the top Sylvester Stallone movies is the James Mangold produced “Cop Land.” In this crime drama, Stallone stars as Freddy Heflin, a small-town sheriff who becomes embroiled in a corruption scandal involving the New York City police department. As he uncovers the truth, Heflin must confront his own demons and decide where his loyalties lie.
“Cop Land” is a powerful and emotional film, with Stallone delivering a nuanced and understated performance as Heflin. The film’s themes of corruption and redemption are timely and relevant, and the movie’s strong supporting cast, which includes Robert De Niro, Frank Vincent, Michael Rapaport, and Harvey Keitel, adds depth and gravitas to the story. If you’re a fan of crime dramas or Stallone’s more dramatic roles, see “Cop Land.”
15. “Daylight” (1996)
Next up on our list of the top Sylvester Stallone movies is “Daylight.” In this high-stakes action film, Stallone stars as Kit Latura, a former emergency services chief who is called upon to lead a team of rescue workers into the abandoned New York City subway tunnels after a massive explosion. As they navigate the treacherous underground maze, they discover that they’re not alone and must fight for survival against a group of ruthless criminals.
“Daylight” is a fast-paced and intense film, with Stallone delivering a solid performance as the take-charge Latura. The film’s action sequences and confrontations with the villains are thrilling, and the movie’s themes of bravery and teamwork make it a satisfying watch. Do check this one out if you’re an action-adventure lover.
16. “Escape Plan” (2013)
At number 16 on our list of the top Sylvester Stallone movies, we have the action-thriller “Escape Plan.” In this film, Stallone plays Ray Breslin, a prison security expert who is falsely accused and sentenced to life in a high-tech prison. But Breslin isn’t just any prisoner – he’s the guy who helped design the prison, so he knows exactly how to escape.
With his expertise and cunning, Breslin embarks on a dangerous mission to clear his name and take down the corrupt officials responsible for his incarceration. Packed with heart-pounding action and twists, “Escape Plan” is a must-see for fans of Stallone’s more cerebral roles. Don’t miss this edge-of-your-seat thriller.”
17. “Creed” (2015)
“Creed” is a spin-off of the Rocky franchise that follows the story of Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the son of Rocky’s rival-turned-friend Apollo Creed. In the film, Adonis enlists the help of Rocky (Stallone) to train him in order to become a successful boxer.
“Creed” is a well-crafted and emotionally powerful film. Jordan delivered a standout performance as Adonis and as usual, Stallone brought his charm and gravitas to the role — of Rocky. The film’s themes of family, legacy and personal growth make it a poignant and uplifting watch, and the movie’s action scenes are intense and thrilling. If you’re a fan of the “Rocky” franchise or boxing movies, then “Creed” is a must-see.
18. “Creed II” (2018)
A sequel to the spin-off of the Rocky franchise, “Creed II” follows the story of Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) as he faces off against the son of his father’s old rival, Ivan Drago. As he trains for the biggest fight of his life, Adonis must confront his own demons and the legacy of his family’s past.
“Creed II” is a strong follow-up to the first film, with Jordan once again delivering a powerful performance as Adonis and Stallone reprising his role as Rocky with his usual charm and gravitas. The film’s themes of family, legacy, and overcoming personal struggles make it a poignant and uplifting watch, and the movie’s action scenes are intense and thrilling. If you’re a fan of the “Creed” or “Rocky” franchises, then “Creed II” is a must-watch.
19. “The Expendables” (2010)
“The Expendables” is a classic action-packed Sylvester Stallone movie that brings together some of the biggest names in the genre, including Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, and more. In the film, Stallone stars as Barney Ross, the leader of a team of mercenaries who are hired to take down a corrupt South American dictator.
“The Expendables” is a pure adrenaline rush, with the all-star cast delivering standout performances and the film’s action scenes being over-the-top and exhilarating. The movie’s theme of loyalty and friendship makes it fun and enjoyable to watch, and its nods to classic action movies make it a fan favorite. If you’re a fan of the genre or the cast, then “The Expendables” is a must-see Sylvester Stallone movie.
20. “The Expendables 2” (2012)
Finally, on our list of the best Sylvester Stallone movies is “The Expendables 2.” In this action-packed sequel, Stallone reprises his role as Barney Ross, the leader of a team of mercenaries who are on a mission to take down a group of rogue arms dealers.
“The Expendables 2” is an explosive and thrilling follow-up to the first film, with the all-star cast delivering standout performances and the film’s action scenes being over-the-top and exhilarating. The movie’s themes of loyalty and friendship are once again a highlight, and the addition of new cast members like Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme only adds to the fun. If you’re a fan of the first film or classic action movies in general, then “The Expendables 2” is a must-see Sylvester Stallone movie.
Learn More About the Best Movies and Shows on BuddyTV
Sylvester Stallone has had a successful career in Hollywood, starring in a range of popular films which have made him one of the richest actors in Hollywood. From iconic roles like Rocky Balboa and John Rambo to dramatic performances in Cop Land and Creed, Stallone has proven to be a versatile actor. For more articles on Sylvester Stallone and other top movie stars — Denzel Washington, Nicolas Cage, and Chuck Norris, be sure to visit BuddyTV!
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Professional SEO writer & editor with 8+ years of print journalism and writing experience across different platforms — blogs, website, eBooks and social media. His writing experience also cuts across industries like IT, fashion, education management, real estate, consulting and entertainment.