Behold, The Shirtless Evolution of Sylvester Stallone

Matthew McConaughey may be Hollywood's reigning shirtless superstar, but long before he first bared his abs onscreen, Sylvester Stallone had mastered the art of gratuitous torso in each Rocky installment, Rambo film and a number of other action titles. Thirty-five years after his bare-chested breakout role as the Italian Stallion, Stallone returns to the screen this April for a feature called Bullet to the Head, which, again -- amazingly -- features the action icon topless as evidenced by a brand new still. (Don't bother questioning how a shirtless 65-year-old man fits into the narrative -- it just does, guys.)  In honor of the actor's impressive history of appearing semi-nude onscreen -- even decades after audiences started shielding their eyes from his grisly old-man muscles -- Movieline salutes Sylvester Stallone's shirtless valor in the photo essay below.

Rip off your top, drape yourself in the nearest American flag and enjoy the views below, then consider Movieline's Shirtless Sylvester Stallone comprehension questions.

Rocky (1976)

Rocky II (1979)

Rocky III (1982)

Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

Rocky IV (1985)

Rambo III (1988)

Tango & Cash (1989)

Demolition Man (1993)

The Specialist (1994)

Rocky Balboa (2006)

The Expendables (2010)

Bullet to the Head (2012)

Okay, class:

  • Which is your favorite shirtless Sylvester Stallone look?
  • Which is your least favorite shirtless Sylvester Stallone look? (Or: Which induced the most serious dry heaves?)
  • At what point in his career should Sylvester Stallone have put a shirt on?
  • Do you think it was a combination of good diet and exercise (slash steroids) that yielded such muscly results? Or just sheer Stalloneness?

 

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Comments

  • Jen Yamato says:

    If I had to pick a favorite, it'd be Tango & Cash, because Tango & Cash is also kind of awesome.

    I refuse to look too closely at the other ones, because... veiny veiny leather skin ick!

    No slagging on Sly's physique, which is amazing for an older dude (and hey, who are we kidding, amazing by many younger dudes' standards) but someone needs to stage a shirtless intervention. PLEASE.

    Also: Golf clap, Julie Miller.

  • film freek says:

    I'm gonna have to say First Blood, because he was sculpted as his character required him to be - alean fighting machine. not the overtly muscular poser of the later Rambo films!!

  • rainestorm says:

    Okay, I must nitpick here. The shot you've selected for First Blood is yet another still from Rambo: First Blood Part II.

  • tkobird says:

    Your pic for Rocky is actually from Rocky IV. The difference in his physique from those two films is huge. In the first Rocky he was pretty much an average guy... by the fourth, Sly and Rocky had become supermen.
    Btw... to answer your question: Sly looked his best in Rambo II but for sheer 'body' it would have to be Rambo III, where even his headband was buff!

  • Cameron says:

    Your Rocky pic is from Rocky IV, so you're about 10 years out.

    I thought the tattos Stallone sported in The Expendables were fake, but they look the same as the ones in the Bullet to the Head pic. There are three possibilities: 1) The tattoos are real. 2) Stallone was shooting both Bullett to the Head and Expendables 2 at the same time and didn't bother washing off the makeup. 3) You guys screwed up the photos again.

  • James says:

    I will always have fond memories of the shower scene of The Specialist and thank Stallone for his roided up desire to please his fans.

    • mike kunda says:

      not on roids. sly stays around 175 - 180, has been since Rocky (1976) a few exceptions. it is possible to attain through hard work. I know this is a strange concept to many. No videos of him shooting roids. HGH? he admitted to that, opions vary on if its a roid or not.

    • David says:

      I agree. The shower scene in the The Specialist is probabaly my favorite.

  • OLLIE says:

    Stallone's tattoos are real. Also, check out his book Sly Moves, he talks about how he changed the physical appearance of his body for different roles.

  • Dianna Trent says:

    Sly really does have tats on his shoulders like that but they are of his wife & 3 daughters. For Expendables he just had some things dubbed over.
    Favorite shirtless Sly look? - ANYTIME he's working out!
    Least fave? - None.
    I believe he kept his shirt on for CopLand which was a good choice.
    I believe Sly's 'muscly results' are a combo of good diet & exercise AND 'sheer Stalloness'!
    This man is nothing short of amazing! (Yeah, I'm one of those Sly fans!)

    WE LOVE YA, ROCK!

  • John Barnes says:

    He was caught bringing HGH into Austrailia, and has admitted to Testosterone Replacement.

    He does and always has looked great, but is and always has been on steroids.

    If I had to guess, he started hitting the juice hard training for Rocky 2 with Franco.

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  • Stallone is the ultimate body changer.
    Personal favourite is his physique in Rambo 2, which the then Mr olympia, Franco Columbu trained him for. He looked awesome in the specialist where he was requested by the director to lose weight to look more average and easier to relate to. When he later went on to make the get carter remake he looked the ultimate heavy, with a 19 inch neck.

    His physical stature is also wildly different in all of the rocky and rambo films. And he was probably around 185 in Rambo 2, but in rocky 3 he only weighed in at 150lb, but was super lean in that movie compared to the first two rockys films. Sly is a mentor for all bodybuilders, myself included.

    Thanks for this interesting article

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