Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were two of the biggest action stars of the 1980s, so it makes sense that they would be rivals at the height of their fame. That rivalry all started when they met at the 1977 Golden Globes, long before Schwarzenegger would become a household name. The feud has died down, as the two became friends and made a handful of movies together.
During the 1977 Golden Globes, Stallone was there with Rocky, while Schwarzenegger was a New Star of the Year nominee thanks to Stay Hungry. Throughout most of the ceremony, Rocky kept losing in the drama categories to Network. Schwarzenegger was making fun of Stallone the entire time, as Stallone recalled to Variety in 2019. However, at the very end, Rocky finally beat Network, shockingly winning the Golden Globe for Best Drama. When Rocky was named the winner, Stallone just happened to be near a "giant bowl of flowers," which he then tossed at Schwarzenegger.
The rivalry reached its peak in the 1980s, as each cemented their start status by proving their '70s hits weren't flukes. Stallone continued starring in Rocky movies and found a second franchise with First Blood. Schwarzenegger's career reached new heights thanks to The Terminator, the Conan movies, and Predator.
"We hated each other in the '80s because we were both in the same business, we wanted to outdo each other," Schwarzenegger said at the 2014 Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. "It was all-out war. It was a competition of who has the most muscles, who kills the most people on screen, who kills in the most unique way, who makes more money at the box office."
During the 1990s, the rivalry began cooling. "Finally, in the '90s we became kind of friends, and ever since then we have been friends," Schwarzenegger said. "Initially, you need a competitor, someone that you hate... because that's what drives me."
One of the stranger chapters in the rivalry came in the early 1990s when Stallone made the critical disaster Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. In 2019, Schwarzenegger told Jimmy Kimmel he tricked Stallone into making the 1992 movie.
"I read the script, and it was a piece of s—. Let's be honest. I say to myself, I'm not going to do this movie," Schwarzenegger recalled. "Then they went to Sly, and Sly called me, have they ever talked to you about doing this movie? And I said, yes, I was thinking about doing it. This is a really brilliant idea, this movie. When he heard that, because he was in competition, he said, 'Whatever it takes, I'll do the movie.' And of course, the movie went major into the toilet."
Stallone and Schwarzenegger are on much better terms lately. Schwarzenegger appeared in the first three The Expendables movies with Stallone. They also starred in the 2013 prison action movie Escape Plan.