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Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone’s old feud explained

They were the biggest names in Hollywood in the '80s and early '90s, but Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone loathed each other, here's why.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone feud explained

What was Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone’s feud? Back in the ’80s, two men dominated the world of action cinema Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. The pair were (quite literally) two of the biggest names in Hollywood, and both were known for their bombastic blockbusters. It’s perhaps unsurprising then that the pair shared an intense rivalry.

In fact, calling it a rivalry does these two action movie titans a disservice; it’s fairer to say they loathed each other. Was it just testosterone that caused this rivalry, though, or did Sly just really dislike Arnold Schwarzenegger movies? Maybe Arnie thought the Rocky movies were a bit maudlin?

Well, if you want to know why Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone hated each other, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve done a deep dive into their old feud and even explained why they’re friends now.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone

Why did Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone hate each other?

 Schwarzenegger and Stallone’s feud began during the 1977 Golden Globe ceremony. According to internet apocrypha, during the ceremony, Stallone threw a bowl of flowers at Schwarzenegger, kickstarting their rivalry. 

While the veracity of the bowl-throwing incident is dubious (neither Stallone nor Schwarzenegger has commented on it publicly), we know the pair didn’t get on at the awards ceremony, with Schwarzenegger reportedly mocking Stallone after he failed to win an award for the sports movie, Rocky.

After this inciting incident, the pair spent the 80s and early 90s at each other’s throats, regularly taking potshots at each other in their films and in the press. Stallone would later tell David Letterman [via Business Insider], in 2013, that they shared a “violent hatred” for each other during this time period,  going so far as to say, “Even our DNA hated each other.”

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A lot of the fighting probably came down to the fact that the two stars were battling it out to be the top action star in Hollywood, and, as Schwarzenneger admitted in an interview with Forbes, this led them to greater and greater career heights but was fundamentally unhealthy.

“We really disliked each other immensely. We were… this may sound a little vain, but I think we were pioneering a kind of genre at that time, and it hasn’t been seen since, really,” Schwarzenneger said. “So the competition, because it’s his nature, he is very competitive, and so am I… and I just thought it actually helped, but off-screen, we were still competitive, and that was not a healthy thing at all.”

Ultimately, though, as the 90s went on and the sun began to set on Stallone and Schwarzenneger’s careers, the pair no longer needed to be as competitive, and they put aside their rivalry.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone feud explained

Are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone friends?

Yes, Stallone and Schwarzenegger started to mend fences in the mid and late ’90s, and by the 2000s, they appeared to be firm friends. Schwarzenegger even invited Stallone to his inauguration as Governor of California, and Stallone donated to his friend’s campaign.

More recently, the pair have worked together on the Expendables thriller movies, with Schwarzenegger apparently refusing to take part in Expendables 4 because it sidelines Stallone.