The latest Netflix documentary, Sly, landed on the platform, offering an intimate look into the life and career of Sylvester Stallone. The Hollywood icon with a nearly fifty-year prolific journey has entertained and inspired millions around the world.
The one-hour and 35-minute documentary reveals some of the most significant stories about the actor, writer, director, and producer, paralleling them with his inspirational career.
The documentary has been criticised for glossing over some of the snarliest controversies in Stallone’s life but has touched upon quite a few that might appeal to his fans.
From a jealous and competitive father to the reason behind his permanent drawl, here are the five biggest revelations made in the documentary.
Rambo was supposed to die in First Blood
One of the biggest revelations in the documentary concerns the original ending of First Blood, the film that introduced John Rambo to the world. In the initial script, Rambo was supposed to die at the hands of his superior, Colonel Trautman. However, Stallone had a change of heart, fearing that this ending would send a bleak message to Vietnam veterans. He wanted to ensure that there was hope, even for those who had experienced the horrors of war.
As a result, the filmmakers scrapped the original ending, and instead, Rambo was arrested, providing a more optimistic conclusion.
The rivalry between Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger was brutal
Another intriguing tidbit in Sly is the rivalry between Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the 1990s, both actors were at the peak of their action movie careers and often found themselves competing for the same roles. However, one role that neither actor truly wanted was in the notorious film Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.
Schwarzenegger pretended to be interested in the film, convincing Stallone to take the role, ultimately leading to one of the worst movies in Stallone’s career.
Stallone scrapped the original Rambo: Last Blood ending
Rambo: Last Blood also had its ending altered during post-production. Originally, the film was supposed to conclude with Rambo peacefully passing away on the rocking chair on his father’s porch. However, Stallone believed that true heroes should not die in front of their audience, leading him to alter the scene digitally, so the rocking chair kept moving as the camera panned away from Rambo.
“I so believe we don’t see our heroes die before our eyes,” Stallone mentioned the reason behind the decision, “That there’s always some mystical quality about them.”
Stallone’s complicated relationship with his father
The documentary also delves into Stallone’s complicated relationship with his father, Frank Stallone Sr. The Rambo star revealed that his father’s physical and verbal abuse during his childhood greatly influenced his iconic movie characters, such as Rocky and Rambo. The rivalry between father and son even escalated to a dangerous polo match where Frank Sr. rammed his horse into Sylvester’s, leading to an injury that ultimately caused Stallone to abandon the sport he once loved.
In Sly, filmmaker John Herzfeld, who collaborated with Stallone multiple times since their 1969 low-budget silent film, Horses, shared his memories of Stallone Sr. After Rocky’s massive success, Herzfeld revealed that Frank Stallone Sr. approached him with a script about “the real Rocky.” However, when Herzfeld suggested that Stallone should be the one to explore the script, Frank Stallone Sr. declined, continuing his stubborn competition with his famous son.
Stallone’s signature “snarl”
Stallone’s signature snarl and slurred speech were the result of partial facial paralysis due to nerve damage at birth. The documentary recalls the story of how his mother, Jackie, went into labour while riding a bus and was carried into a charity ward, “Even though she was nine months pregnant, she kept riding around on the bus. And she [went] into labour.”
Stallone continued, “Somebody was smart enough to get her off the bus. They carried her into a charity ward. And that’s where I was brought into the world via this accident, which kind of paralysed all the nerves on the side of my mouth. So I was born with this snarl.”
Sly is currently streaming on Netflix, and you can watch the trailer here: