Run The Series: The Rocky series became a Stallone biography with a great new ending

With Run The Series, The A.V. Club examines film franchises, studying how they change and evolve with each new installment.

For someone who inarguably ascended to great heights of stardom, Sylvester Stallone has found success within relatively narrow parameters. Though he’s had some one-off hits like Cliffhanger or Tango & Cash, six of his 10 biggest movies are entries in the Rocky or Rambo franchises. This is true no matter how the math works out; adjusting for inflation only switches which Rocky and Rambo movies rank where, and whether entries in a third franchise, the Expendables movies, make the list alongside them. But while some actors treat franchises as obligations in between passion projects, Stallone is almost always involved behind the scenes of his sequels. So despite his limited range as an actor and even, as it turns out, as a movie star (his ’90s comeback seems minor …

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