Sylvester Stallone is hanging up his boxing gloves and stepping in front of the reality TV cameras.
In February 2023, Paramount + announced they greenlit a reality show, entitled “The Family Stallone,” starring Stallone, his wife Jennifer Flavin Stallone, and their three daughters, Sophia, Sistine and Scarlet.
In a recent interview with Fox News Digital, Stallone noted that they’re “all still together,” so he questioned: “Why not take advantage of that?”
In addition to becoming a reality TV figure, the Hollywood A-lister, is of course known for being a bona fide movie star. Here is a look back at his career.
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In 1976, Stallone made his breakthrough in Hollywood when he wrote and starred in the Academy Award-winning movie “Rocky.” The film follows amateur boxer Rocky Balboa on his journey training to fight the undefeated heavyweight champion Apollo Creed.
It is widely believed Stallone came up with the idea for the film when he watched the relatively unknown boxer Chuck Wepner beat Mohammed Ali in a match.
Stallone, however, said while on “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations” that the actual inspiration was a simulated fight between Ali and Rocky Marciano. Stallone said he only used the Ali versus Wepner fight as a reference point when making his pitch, since Marciano wasn’t as widely known.
When the script was finished, Stallone had more obstacles in his way, as producers initially were against the idea of him starring in it. They wanted a more well-known actor for the role. Stallone, however, refused to sell the script unless he could star in it, no matter the price.
“There is that moment where you go, ‘Hmm am I ever gonna find anything even close to this again? Maybe, yeah.’ Then I go ‘No, not really,’” Stallone told CBS “Sunday Morning” in November 2015. “I’ve kind of sort of figured out poverty, how to get along on no money whatsoever. I had adapted to a certain lifestyle, it was not very joyful, but it would have been much worse if I had sold that, and I had saw it go to someone else and I realized that was my ship.”
Stallone went on to receive an Academy Award nomination for best lead actor, and the film itself won best picture, effectively launching Stallone into stardom.
Five sequels were released following the success of the first film, with four of them written and directed by Stallone. The final Rocky sequel, “Rocky Balboa,” was released in 2006. It focused on Rocky’s return to boxing after the death of his wife.
Nearly 10 years after the release of the sixth sequel, a spinoff series began, which focused on Rocky’s relationship with Adonis Johnson, the son of Rocky’s opponent in the first film, Apollo Creed. In the film “Creed,” Adonis seeks out a retired Rocky and asks him to train him as a boxer.
The “Creed” franchise, starring Michael B. Jordan, was a major success and has gone on to have two sequels, “Creed II” and “Creed III,” the last of which did not feature Stallone. “Creed III” is the first Rocky movie Stallone didn’t participate in throughout all nine films and in the 47 years the franchise has existed.
“That’s a regretful situation because I know what it could have been,” Stallone told The Hollywood Reporter in November 2022 about his absence in the film. “It was taken in a direction that is quite different than I would’ve taken it. It’s a different philosophy – Irwin Winkler’s and Michael B. Jordan’s. I wish them well, but I’m much more of a sentimentalist. I like my heroes getting beat up, but I just don’t want them going into that dark space. I just feel people have enough darkness.”
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Stallone’s next big project came with “First Blood,” the film adaptation of the novel with the same name.
In the movie, which Stallone co-wrote and starred in, he played Vietnam War veteran John Rambo who, upon returning to the United States, finds himself at the center of a manhunt.
One of the main differences between the movie and the book is that Rambo lives at the end of the movie. As a writer, this was something Stallone was adamant about changing, adding a monologue at the end instead.
“That scene was a tough one to get past the producers. They didn’t want it. I was supposed to be shot and die. And I go, ‘There are a lot of veterans who are going to look at this and go, ‘So my only hope is to kill myself?’ I can’t do that,” Stallone told The Hollywood Reporter last year.
“I did 20 interviews with veterans and I compiled it into that moment, all stream of consciousness, with everything just pouring out. I want people to take away some sense of hope when they leave the theater. I don’t want my heroes to die.”
The 1982 movie went on to become a franchise, spawning four sequels, including “Rambo: First Blood Part II,” “Rambo III,” “Rambo” and “Rambo: Last Blood,” which came out in 2019.
The second film in the franchise saw Rambo returning to Vietnam, the third saw him going to Afghanistan, the fourth finds him in Burma and the latest sequel saw him mixed up with the Mexican cartel.
“You see that this guy cannot integrate back into society, so I tried to keep him moving from actual situations, read from the headlines – the POW, Afghanistan, Burma – things that people don’t really know about,” Stallone told Den of Geek in September 2019.
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After the third movie was released in 1988, Stallone recalled the studio offering him $34 million to make the fourth movie right away. He told The Hollywood Reporter he turned down the money and explained to producers “let’s not jump the gun here.” The fourth movie didn’t come out until 20 years later, when “Rambo” was released in 2008.
Stallone also gave his opinion about the potential for another sequel in the franchise, and how the character could evolve in the future.
“I think it’s going to happen,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in November. “I wanted to do it like a Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam, where you drop young Rambo in there, and he’s this outgoing guy, football captain, and then you see why he becomes Rambo. But what they want to do is a modern-day story where I pass the torch. That’s getting close.”
The next big action movie franchise for Stallone came in 2010 with “The Expendables.” Not only did the actor star in the film, he also wrote the screenplay, taking inspiration from characters created by David Callaham when he was writing a separate film titled “Barrow.”
Also starring, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis, the film follows a group of elite mercenaries tasked with overthrowing the dictator of Vilena, a small island off the coast of South America. During their mission, they learn the dictator is under the thumb of a corrupt ex-CIA agent who they must take down.
Making the movie did not come without its fair share of challenges, as Stallone found himself seriously injured. The director and star of the film insisted on performing his own stunts, much like in all of his previous films, however this time it got him in trouble.
“Man, it was seven guys, kicking each other’s a–, one guy tougher than the next… no joke, our stunt guys were begging for mercy,” he told FHM Magazine in January 2010. “Actually, my fight with Stone Cold Steve Austin was so vicious that I ended up getting a hairline fracture in my neck. I’m not joking. I haven’t told anyone this, but I had to have a very serious operation afterward. I now have a metal plate in my neck.”
The second movie featured all the same actors playing the core group of mercenaries, with the notable additions of Liam Hemsworth, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Stallone told The Hollywood Reporter that getting all those high caliber actors together in one place is “a minor miracle,” saying it’s “very special because you’re never, ever going to see this again.”
When it came to filming the second movie, per The Irish Examiner in August 2012, Stallone said he “threw all common sense out of the window” and went against all medical advice, putting himself at further risk for injury.
“Yes the doctor said… I had my neck fused in the last one with a stunt and a broken back… then I had two back operations, a shoulder operation. The last one took its toll and the doctor said: ‘Don’t take any rough falls, let a stunt guy do it,'” he said. “But sometimes you just have to do it… there were some injuries and some tough ones in this one, but I just can’t help myself.”
Stallone stayed on to write and star in the third movie, however he has taken a step back when it comes to the fourth, which is set to be released in September.
In October 2021, he posted an Instagram video of his last day on set, calling the moment “bittersweet,” but said he is “ready to pass the baton on” to co-star Jason Statham “and his capable hands.”
Things weren’t always great between Stallone and other members of the cast. Lundgren recently spoke out about getting so angry with Stallone while filming the first installment of the franchise that he came dangerously close to getting physical with him.
“He was very harsh on me in a scene in ‘The Expendables,’ where he kind of yelled at me in front of the whole crew and had me do about 20 takes on a scene,” he said of the Stallone-directed film on May 11. “It was like, ‘My grandmother could do it better than that. What the f—, what are you doing?’ You know, basically in front of everybody. And there was press there that day too, international press.”
He explained when they came back from lunch, the tension between them was obvious to everyone on set, but things immediately calmed down when Stallone approached him with an apology, saying, “Uh, I’m sorry about that. Let’s just do another take and let’s just keep moving on.”
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While Stallone is stepping away from the franchise, he still has love for the films and for action movies in general.
“The greatest thing is being able to provide films [and] entertainment [where] maybe there’s a little message in there, because what I try to convey in my successful films is the human touch,” Stallone said in his October 2021 Instagram post. “Not so much the action; the action is self-evident. But it’s just relating to the audience in a way that they can identify with whatever the mission is, with the characters at hand.”
Outside the big franchise movies he’s been a part of, Stallone has made a name for himself as an action star in other films, including 1993’s “Cliffhanger.” The film also stars John Lithgow, Michael Rooker and Janine Turner.
In the movie, Stallone plays Gabriel “Gabe” Walker, a ranger who finds himself taken hostage in the mountains by international thieves who are searching the area for three cases of money that fell out of their plane as it was being shot down. As a former mountain climber and current rescue ranger, they knew Gabe would be able to lead them to their money.
Earlier this month, it was announced Stallone would be returning to the character of Gabe in a reboot of the movie. Director Ric Roman Waugh is looking forward to working with the action star and is currently casting for the film.
“Growing up with the biggest action films of the ‘80s and ’90s, working on many of them myself, ‘Cliffhanger’ was by far one of my favorite spectacles,” Waugh said in a statement when the announcement was made. “To be at the helm of the next chapter, scaling the Italian Alps with the legend himself, Sylvester Stallone, is a dream come true.”
Another one of Stallone’s memorable action roles was his portrayal as cop John Spartan in “Demolition Man.” The movie, also starring Sandra Bullock, Wesley Snipes and Denis Leary, takes place in a dystopian future where the characters must work together to catch a criminal.
Stallone reflected on his feelings about the film in an Instagram post in February 2022.
“I always enjoyed this movie,” he wrote in the caption. “It was a Great Action film wonderfully directed By Marco Brambilla , And the writers were way ahead of their time.”
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In 1986, Stallone starred in “Cobra,” playing the titular character Lt. Marion “Cobra” Cobretti. The film starts out immediately showcasing Cobra’s lack of regard for police protocol and authority, a theme that is present throughout the whole film.
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As more major crimes begin to be committed over the next few weeks, Cobra is tasked with finding and taking down the head of The New World. In the end, Cobra succeeds in his mission.
After a successful film career spanning multiple decades, Stallone began starring in his first television series, playing the lead role in the Paramount + series “Tulsa King.”
The show follows Stallone’s character Dwight “The General” Manfredi, a former New York Mafia capo who recently got out of prison after serving 25 years. Upon his release, the mafia boss sends him to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to set up criminal operations, leading him to put together a new group of criminals to help him.
This isn’t the first time Stallone has tried to play the role of a gangster. He told “Fox & Friends” in November 2022 that he auditioned for a part in “The Godfather” to be an extra in the wedding scene, but remembered being told he didn’t “look Italian enough.”
“I’ve always wanted to play a gangster. But I wanted to play a unique gangster who is not like a gangster – at least, not when you meet him. He’s actually a guy who likes to cooperate,” he told The Hollywood Reporter last year.
“I thought about Franz Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis.’ Like, what if you woke up and you were now in a different profession but you had the same personality? That way, you don’t assume the automatic cliché of a thug who stares at you dead-eyed and doing the deep voice. But if he has to get heavy, it’s gonna get real heavy. So I said, ‘I’m gonna play him as close to myself as I’ve ever done in my life.’”
Stallone stars alongside Dana Delany, Garrett Hedlund, Martin Starr, Andrea Savage, Max Casella, Domenick Lombardozzi, Vincent Piazza, A.C. Peterson and his daughter Scarlet Stallone.
Scarlet appears in five episodes of the show, as a barista named Spencer who frequently serves Manfredi his espressos when he comes in. She later goes on to be a caretaker for one of his horses, Pilot, who had a tendency to break out of the stables and run free around Tulsa.
While on “Fox & Friends,” Stallone called filming the show “a real grind,” noting that in the time it took to film nine episodes, he would have been able to film five back-to-back sequels of “Rocky.”
“It’s beyond tough. I can’t believe some people have done this for four, five or six seasons. It’s brutal, compared to filmmaking,” he echoed to Variety in November. “I’ll never say, ‘This is a hard shoot’ again on a feature. It’s a vacation compared to this! It really is.”
After only three episodes of the first season aired, it was announced “Tulsa King” would be returning for a second season.
In a surprising twist, Stallone will be starring in his own reality show, called “The Family Stallone,” alongside his wife Jennifer Flavin and their daughters Sophia, Sistine and Scarlet.
During an appearance on the “Today” show earlier this month, Stallone joked that he agreed to appear on a reality show about his family because “I’ve always wanted someone to film me while I’m brushing my teeth,” asking, “Who wouldn’t want that documented?”
“I thought it was a great idea in a way, because we have kind of a very interesting synergy,” he told the outlet. “We laugh, we enjoy (each other), and everyone, I wouldn’t say (is) not neurotic, but eccentric,” he said. “And they bring it out in a good way. They all have distinctive personalities, and certainly Jennifer, and I’m a little nuts, so I thought OK, why not?”
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Stallone explained to The Hollywood Reporter in February 2023 he liked the idea of creating the “ultimate home movie” and is excited to work with his wife and daughters.
In a recent interview with Fox News Digital, the whole family came together to discuss their unique dynamic, and why they thought a show about their family would be a good idea.
“I [wanted] to do a movie about our family ourselves,” Stallone said. “I go, ‘OK, rather than write a pseudo one, why not jump into the world of reality?’”
“God knows, I know enough about it because being around these young ladies, I’ve seen every show there is,” he said gesturing to his daughters. “And I thought, this is an interesting time because it’s not like the career is on the wane and I need a job. This is a peak time for me because they’re not married, thank God.”
“So we’re all still together. And I said, ‘Why not take advantage of that?’”
Stallone was first married to Sasha Czack, who he shares two kids with, from 1974-85. He was then married to his “Rocky IV” costar Brigitte Nielsen from 1985-87.
Stallone tied the knot with Jennifer Flavin in 1997, and they have been married for 25 years. The pair recently got back together after a brief separation in August 2022.
Last year, Flavin shocked fans by filing for divorce, accusing Stallone of “intentional dissipation, depletion and/or waste of marital assets which has had an adverse economic impact on the marital estate.” Stallone denied the accusations, and a month later the couple reconciled and called off the divorce proceedings, all of which will be featured in the show.
“Of course it’s part of the show,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in November 2022. “It’s the John Lennon thing: ‘Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.’ Hopefully, you’re involved with people who understand the foibles of life and the fragility of it and how rare a real good relationship is.”
“Sometimes I put the work ahead of [my family], and that is a tragic mistake which won’t happen again.”
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Episodes of “The Family Stallone” are set to drop on Paramount + on May 17.