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Sylvester Stallone Poster: Stars On Top Payday
Poster 22 in. x 34 in.
Painted in 2006
Actors on this Poster: From left: Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves, Elijah Wood, Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, George Clooney, and Pierce Brosnan.

Rocky III
Rocky III
11 in. x 17 in.
Buy this Mini Poster
Framed   Mounted


STALLONE, SYLVESTER. Born July 6, 1946, in New York City; actor, director, screenwriter. Brother Frank is an actor. Bulky, muscular action film megastar whose career has mirrored the cinderella success of boxer Rocky Balboa, the character he wrote and played in the 1976 hit Rocky. Growing up in such working-class places as New York’s Hell’s Kitchen and Philadelphia, Stallone began to pull himself up by earning an athletic scholarship to the American University in Switzerland. Upon his return to the States he took an interest in acting, landing a part in an off-Broadway nude play (Score), a porn film (later titled The Italian Stallion to capitalize on his post-Rocky fame), and a bit part in Woody Allen’s Bananas. After a few more film roles, ambition took hold, and Stallone began to write scripts for himself to star in. With the success of Rocky, his career skyrocketed, and he appeared in a string of gritty, working-class dramas that were of the same milieu as Rocky Balboa’s Philly—F.I.S.T., as the Jimmy Hoffa-like union boss with gray in his temples; his directing debut, Paradise Alley, as a Hell’s Kitchen street hustler; and Nighthawks, as a New York City cop. Stallone continued to write, star in, and occasionally direct his Rocky sequels and also began another series franchise with his right-wing John Rambo character. Although he was at the top of the action heap for a few years in the early to mid-1980s, Stallone was soon eclipsed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis, both of whom had molded their careers to include comedies—a genre that has eluded Stallone, as confirmed by Oscar and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. By the 1990s Stallone had essentially slipped into self-parody with such films as The Specialist and Judge Dredd, which paled in comparison to such competing action hits as Speed, Terminator 2, or True Lies. Although he received some success with Demolition Man and Cliffhanger, he announced in late 1995 a return to the edgier, working-class, dramatic films that had made him a star.

Filmography: Bananas (1971); The Italian Stallion (1971); Rebel (1974); The Lords of Flatbush (1974); Capone (1975); Death Race 2000 (1975); The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975); Farewell, My Lovely (1975); No Place to Hide (1975); Cannonball (1976); Rocky (1976) also screenplay; F.I.S.T. (1978) also screenplay; Nighthawks (1981); Victory (1981); First Blood (1982) also screenplay; Rhinestone (1984) also screenplay; Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) also screenplay; Cobra (1986) also screenplay; Over the Top (1987) also screenplay; Rambo III (1988) also screenplay; Lock Up (1989); Tango and Cash (1989); Rocky V (1990) also screenplay; Oscar (1991); Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992); Cliffhanger (1993); Demolition Man (1993); The Specialist (1994); Dead Reckoning (1995); Judge Dredd (1995); Assassins (1995).
Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo:
The image of Sylvester Stallone as Vietnam veteran John Rambo, brandishing a rocket-launcher whilst parading his musculature, became an icon of American masculinity in the mid-1980s. As the decade went on, though, Stallone was displaced in popularity by the even larger figure of ex-Mr Universe Arnold Schwarzenegger. These two stars provided the most publicised, most visible image of the figure of the muscular male hero who had come to dominate the American action cinema of the 1980s. Many critics saw the success of Stallone and Schwarzenegger as a disturbing sign, signalling the evolution of a previously unseen cinematic articulation of masculinity. At the same time these figures echoed unsettling images from the past, through their implicit invocation of a fascist idealisation of the white male body. Combining an ability to signify both concerns about the future and the horrors of the past, the box-office appeal of the male bodybuilder provided a resonant image for the mid-1980s. Coming at the particular point that it did, the success of these films and stars could be read in terms of a backlash against the feminism of the 1970s, as indicative of a new conservatism in both national and sexual politics. As we’ll see, the muscular action hero was, for some, a figure who represented the antithesis of the ‘new man’, himself a creation of advertising images in the early 1980s, and the feminist gains he supposedly represented. These competing images perhaps indicate the extent to which masculinity itself has been called into question through the 1980s and since. It seems as if, at the same time as the male body on the screen was becoming more and more visible, an excessive parody of an ideal, masculinity was emerging as a visible category within the criticism of the day. Both the films themselves and my analysis of them emerge then from a critical and cultural context in which the multiple meanings of masculine identity, the existence of masculinities, has been made increasingly apparent.