The competition between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, which once defined an era of action cinema, has taken an unexpected turn. The two stars, known for their iconic roles in major 1980s action films, had a well-documented battle for the top spot in Hollywood’s pantheon of action heroes. Schwarzenegger thrilled audiences in classics like “Predator,” “Conan the Barbarian,” and “The Terminator,” while Stallone won hearts as the underdog boxer in “Rocky” and the battle-hardened “Rambo.”
Years have passed since their initial clash, with both actors branching out into different genres, including comedy and drama, and even sharing the screen in projects like “Escape Plan” and “The Expendables” series. Yet, after a period of camaraderie, the remnants of their past rivalry have resurfaced in a most peculiar fashion. This comes despite their previous reconciliation and mutual recognition as titans of the action genre. Now, their competition has been reignited, demonstrating that their quest to outdo one another may never fully diminish.
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Netflix Debuts Documentaries on Schwarzenegger and Stallone in 2023
Their Rivalry Has Since Faded
In 2023, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone each unveiled their personal documentaries on Netflix, signaling a new chapter in their once-tense relationship. Schwarzenegger’s three-part series “Arnold,” released on June 7, delves into his multifaceted journey from bodybuilding icon to Hollywood star, and into his political tenure, shedding light on his historic rivalry with Stallone. Stallone’s participation in “Arnold” is a nod to their reconciled relationship.
Not to be outdone, Stallone introduced “Sly” to audiences on November 3. This 95-minute documentary offers a deep dive into Stallone’s remarkable five-decade career, exploring his early challenges, the pivotal role of “Rocky,” and his multifaceted roles in the film industry. Although “Sly” doesn’t focus on the past competition with Schwarzenegger, the latter’s guest appearance signals a mutual respect. Stallone’s film quickly captured viewers’ attention, securing a spot in Netflix’s top ten movie rankings.
Schwarzenegger and Stallone Reflect on Past Competition
Stallone Acknowledges Schwarzenegger’s Dominance
In reflections on their once-fierce competition, Schwarzenegger and Stallone have shared candid thoughts. On Schwarzenegger’s documentary “Arnold,” Stallone conceded that Schwarzenegger was the quintessential action hero of their time. He admired Schwarzenegger’s minimalistic approach to dialogue and his commanding on-screen presence, acknowledging, “He was superior. He just had all the answers. He had the body. He had the strength. That was his character.”
Conversely, Schwarzenegger also acknowledged the intensity of their rivalry on “The Graham Norton Show,” as reported by NME. He highlighted the excesses of their contest, from striving for the most imposing physique to outdoing each other’s on-screen kill counts and the size of their weaponry. Their one-upmanship even escalated to attempts at professional sabotage. Yet, this chapter has closed, with both Schwarzenegger and Stallone burying the hatchet and supporting each other’s Netflix documentaries, a testament to their evolved friendship.
Sylvester Stallone on His Old Beef with Arnold Schwarzenegger