Stallone And Schwarzenegger's Feud Was Ridiculously Lopsided

Battle of the bicep bulges.
Stallone And Schwarzenegger's Feud Was Ridiculously Lopsided

Diesel vs. The Rock. Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris. Betty White vs. Bea Arthur. Hollywood has seen plenty of hard-bodied warriors whose on-screen rivalries were only, uh, rivaled by their real-life counterparts. Yet all of these pale into petty squabbles compared to the battle of titans that dominated '80s action movies: The Inegalitarian Stallion vs. The Eggernator.

From the moment they met, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger claimed to have hated each other's guts. According to Stallone, Schwarzenegger drew first blood at the '77 Golden Globes when Austria's Best Newcomer kept making fun of Rocky's many losses. To counter the shade being thrown, the southpaw threw a vase of flowers at Arnie. After these volleys of narcissism (and narcissuses), Stallone later said that this was the beginning of a "violent hatred" so intense that Sly would get angry just thinking about having to be "on the same planet" as the Total Recall star. 

Tri-Star Pictures

"Get your ass to Mars and stay there." 

But aside from the odd playful noogie at an awards event, the beef between Hollywood's two beefiest boys never turned bloody. Instead, their feud was more of a Cold War -- complete with its own (prop) arms race. In the quest to become Hollywood's biggest guns guy, both actors tried to one-up the other's movies by having the bigger guns, the bigger baddies, or the bigger body counts. It's no coincidence that Rambo: First Blood Part II and Commando, which came out mere months apart in 1985, feel like they're trying to outdo each other the Chicago Way: Commando pulls a knife ...

20th Century Fox

It's about to get real Australian up in this bitch.

Rambo pulls a bigger, custom-made knife.

Tri-Star Pictures

All men get those emails offering to make our knives bigger.

Rambo sends 74 baddies to the morgue …

Commando sends 74 baddies to the morgue in a single scene.

And if you think that's just a weird coincidence, you're forgetting that 1985 is and always will be the only year in film history that had not one but two movies where the hero saves the day by picking up a comically huge heavy machine gun and literally singlehandedly mowing down dozens of soldiers like a one-man attack helicopter. All while being inexplicably topless and glistening.

Tri-Star Pictures

"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful."

The fact that the rivalry became a nice boost to their careers (and that they are now besties) has led some to wonder if the Stallone-Schwarzenegger feud had been fabricated from the start. But whether it was a proper feud, a publicity stunt, or just some good-natured hypermasculine competitiveness, what's definitely true is that there was nothing good-natured about the way Stallone played his part. Very much the Daffy Duck to Schwarzenegger's Bugs Bunny, Sly kept meeting Schwarzenegger's playground taunts with retaliations as disproportionate as his weird '80s pecs. 

Tri-Star Pictures

“Don't hate me because my nipples are in different time zones.”

So while Schwarzenegger kept things light, sneaking in the odd Stallion diss in his comedies like mocking the puny biceps on a Rambo poster in Twins 

Or the idea that Sly could've played a role as complex as the T-1000 as well as him in The Last Action Hero...

Stallone's approach to giving Schwarzenegger a little dressing down in his movies simply involved casting actors who vaguely look and sound like incomprehensible Germanic bodybuilders. And then beating the living shit out of them. Again ...

And again ...

Not that Stallone was incapable of some sly subterfuge. When talking to reporters, Schwarzenegger would often sneakily undermine Stallone by making up scandalous little stories, like casually mentioning how Stallone uses a lot of stunt doubles for an action hero or how glad he is that he had married Brigitte Nielsen because he had gotten bored of banging her behind his back. 

So in retaliation to these cheeky fibs, Stallone planted a little story of his own in a British tabloid. A story titled "Hollywood Star's Nazi Secret." in which the gutter journo quotes an anonymous source (here's a clue: they were one of the leads in Tango & Cash) claiming that Schwarzenegger held "fervent Nazi and anti-Semitic beliefs," was an "ardent admirer" of Hitler and that his father Gustav, who briefly had been a member of the Austrian Nazi Party, was personally responsible for shipping off countless Jews to death camps. 

Gage Skidmore, Flickr

What was Stallone’s next fun prank, planting a dead sex worker in the trunk of Arnold’s BMW?

Poetically, it was Stallone's utter inability to not be a hyper-competitive goon that allowed Schwarzenegger to devise the ultimate revenge. In 1991, the actor was approached to star in an action-comedy that was just a complete "piece of shit." But knowing that Stallone was desperate to prove that he was as good a comedy actor as an incomprehensible Austrian bodybuilder, Arnold held off on passing on the project. Instead, he pretended to have "tremendous interest" right until Stallone took the bait, landing him the starring role in the iconic piece of cinema, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.

And while, as adults, we ought to be mindful that in feuds, there are no winners, only losers; if someone in a feud gets tricked into appearing on every movie and TV screen in the world wearing an adult diaper, you definitely lost harder than the other guy. 

For more weird tangents, do follow Cedric on Twitter.

Top Image: Tri-Star Pictures, 20th Century Fox.


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