Home Entertainment Friday Debate: Who was the greatest action star of the 1980s and 90s, Stallone or Schwarzenegger?

Friday Debate: Who was the greatest action star of the 1980s and 90s, Stallone or Schwarzenegger?

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Picture the scene: You’re at your local DVD (Or VHS if you’re older than original sin) rental shop, and you’re in the mood for some good ol’ skop skiet en donner. You’ve got a hankering for cheesy one-liners, gratuitous yet strangely not that bloody violence, and enough firepower to make Stalingrad relive its World War 2 siege PTSD.

The choice is obvious: Go with a classic, grab some popcorn, and chill out to the best of classic action cinema. In the 1980s and 90s, that landscape was ruled by two titans: Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Steven Seagal and Chuck Norris may have been around at the time, but they couldn’t hold a candle to Stallone and Schwarzenegger, who were churning out hit movie after hit movie. Even if said flick was a dud with critics, they still raked in cash by the millions and added to a library of explosions.

So who was the better action movie star then? Schwarzenegger was muscles and mayhem, cheesy one-liners delivered via an inimitable accent while Stallone was no slouch either. Here was Rocky Balboa, drawing second blood and punching communism into an early grave while subtly using his underrated talent for subtle comedy to spout off a few memorable movie quotes of his own.

Between the two giants, they made blockbuster history. Just look at their filmography, which includes Rambo, Terminator, Assassins, Commando, Judge Dredd, True Lies, and…erm…Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.

Oh Arnie, you loveable rogue you. Anyway, in those two actors, you have the best of the best in action cinema. Two heavyweights of their genre who were always gunning for the top spot and pushed each other to feature the most ludicrous of bodycounts in all their feature films. There can only be one best though, so who’s it going to be?

Ding ding, that’s the sound of the bell being rung. Fight!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: October 16, 2020

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