Born on July 6, 1946, Sylvester Stallone, the man who brought Rocky to life in 1976 is celebrating his 75th birthday.
It's a film that still gives viewers goose bumps — as do his later roles in the "Rambo" series, which have many thought-provoking scenes that dig deep into the American psyche.
The American Dream, personified
Rocky was the underdog. Born into poverty, he boxed his way to the top — and in doing so, personified the American Dream.
Rambo, on the other hand, is a former soldier suffering from post traumatic stress disorder who tries to get his feet on the ground in a society that isn't all that interested in knowing about the horrors of the past.
In his later years, while working as both director and as actor, Sylvester Stallone often put action on the back burner, instead promoting many-faceted characters, unpredictable plots, and quiet moments.
He was for example cast against his type in the crime drama Cop Land (1997), taking on the role of an overweight sheriff, and demonstrating that his acting talent went beyond his bodybuilding skills.
Many of his films were flops at the box office. Yet the New Yorker was able to repeatedly pull himself back up again and celebrate his comeback.
And sequels to his classics remain part of his repertoire: The eighth film in the Rocky franchise, Creed II, came out in 2018, while Rambo: Last Blood, the fifth installment in the reckless warrior series, was released in 2019.
In that respect, he's just like the character of Rocky. And that's no easy thing: Getting up again in a boxing match that can go over 12 rounds is quite a feat. But at 75, Stallone can still say he hasn't been on the receiving end of a KO.
A previous version of this article was published in 2016 and was updated in July 2021.