The Great Debates: Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone?

Welcome to another edition of “The Great Debates”!

This time up, it’s a question that’s hounded movie goers for 30 years. Who do you prefer? Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger?

These two men authored a string of movies that helped define the tone of movies in the 1980s. Each has multiple franchises, successful one shots, plenty of cheesy movies, and some horrendous flops.

Click through to read the tale of the tape!

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Franchises: Conan (2 movies), Terminator (3 Movies – cameo in #4)

Notable One Shots: Predator, Total Recall, True Lies, Kindergarten Cop, Twins

Cheesy Goodness!: The Running Man, Commando, Red Heat, Raw Deal

Movie Most Kicked Around: Batman & Robin

Schwarzenegger began his career as a bodybuilder, but began making the transition to acting in the early 1970s. His big break came in 1982′s Conan the Barbarian, where his physique and his Germanic heritage made him perfect for the role. He became a household name after starring in James Cameron’s “The Terminator” in 1984.

He starred in a variety of action movies through the 80s and 90s that range from the legendary (Total Recall, Predator) to the cheesy (Running Man and Commando) to abject flops (Last Action Hero, Eraser).

Arnold made more of an attempt to find mainstream, non-action success than Sly did, to mixed results. There are some alright films in his non-action offerings, but a handful of real stinkers as well.

Sylvester Stallone

Franchises: Rocky (6 movies), Rambo (4 Movies)

Notable One Shots: Cop Land, Victory

Cheesy Goodness!: Cobra, Over the Top, Lock Up, Tango & Cash, Demolition Man, Judge Dredd, Cliffhanger, Daylight

Movie Most Kicked Around: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot

Stallone’s big break came in 1976 when he refused to sell the script to “Rocky” without being attached to star. The movie would go on to enormous success, winning the Academy Award that year and eventually spawning 5 sequels. He would launch another enormously successful franchise 6 years later with “First Blood”, the story of John J. Rambo.

Stallone cranked the single shot actioners out as well. “Cobra”, “Over the Top”, “Lock Up”, “Demolition Man”, “Cliffhanger”… he seemed to be constantly churning them out.

Sly stayed closer to his franchises than Arnold did, and never seemed to try all that hard to break across into non-action films. Although, he did have the awesome “Cop Land”. Like Arnold, he too has notable failures in his non-action cross over attempts, especially his failed attempts at comedies.  

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So there you have it! Two titans of the action genre. Two legends of the 1980 and 90s. Which should come out on top? Sly? Or Ahnuld? Let us hear who you picked!

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126 thoughts on “The Great Debates: Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone?

  1. Great timing! We were just talking about Kindergarten Cop in my student teaching seminar. I want to say Arnold just because I feel like he’s more entertaining to watch. Stallone’s a better actor, but I feel like no matter how bad the movie is watching Arnold is mesmerizing.

    You can get ready to add Twins II to your list of Arnold films since apparently that’s getting made (unless someone realizes how dumb that is).

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