Sylvester Stallone rose to popularity in the 1970s with Rocky, which created a blockbuster franchise. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a professional bodybuilder, was also creating a reputation for himself at the time, rocketing to prominence on the big screen in the early 1980s with Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator.
Because both performers possessed a comparable skill level, a fierce rivalry developed between the two actors, which eventually evolved into outright loathing.
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‘The Terminator and ‘Rambo’ constantly tried to one-up each other.
Though the two celebrities are now close friends, their rivalry peaked in the 1980s and 1990s. With Sylvester Stallone and Schwarzenegger both starring in high-octane action pictures, the True Lies actor explained how their dislike for each other grew.
“In the ’80s, he was just a rival,” Schwarzenegger told Jimmy Kimmel in 2019, according to The Wrap. “It was all about who was making bigger movies, who had the bigger definition in the muscles, who had more box office success, who kills more people, who kills more people creatively, who has bigger knives, who has bigger guns.”
Schwarzenegger continues to push the boundaries of his action scenes to outdo Sylvester Stallone.
“In the end I started running around with guns that were only mounted on helicopters or on tanks,” the former California governor revealed. “It was crazy. It was all out war.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone ‘started to like’ the rivalry.
In a 2013 interview with David Letterman, Sylvester Stallone described how their mutual dislike for one another aided their careers.
“We had violent hatred,” Sylvester Stallone told Letterman of the Kindergarten Cop star, as reported by The Guardian. “Have you ever had that, ever? Competition where you really had an arch enemy that kind of brings out the best in you. As Arnold would say, it really pushed you to accelerate.”
While he didn’t like the fact “that [Schwarzenegger] was on the planet, basically,” Sylvester Stallone began to enjoy their rivalry.
“After a while, I started to like this competition, this one-upmanship,” the Rocky icon admitted. “He’d get a bigger gun. I’d shoot more people. He’d shoot more people. But then, he went into science fiction, which kind of left me behind.”
Sylvester Stallone went from foes to friends.
The two A-listers became great friends after appearing together in Escape Plan and the popular franchise The Expendables. In 2014, Schwarzenegger addressed the change in the relationship.
“Finally, in the ’90s we became kind of friends, and ever since then we have been friends,” he said of Sylvester Stallone, according to the Economic Times. “Initially, you need a competitor, someone that you hate… because that’s what drives me… We were mature and smart enough to say ‘let’s stop this,’ and then we started doing movies together and have had great time working together.”
Schwarzenegger attributes his passion and personal achievement to his ability to persevere in the face of adversity.
“I always wanted to be at the best in everything I did,” the Commando star explained. “I have had many failures in life but what makes you a winner is when you fail, you get up and keep going towards your goal.”