Sylvester Stallone Gets Candid About Being Broke

Actor Sylvester Stallone has come a long way since his days as an aspiring director and screenwriter. Stallone acclaimed fame and became a household name as the writer and star of his 1976 Academy Award-winning film "Rocky," via IMDb. The success of his writer debut made him one of Hollywood's most in-demand stars and paved the way for a series of "Rocky" sequels as well as five "Rambo" films. 

Stallone's reign as an action star carried him through four decades with lead roles in films like "Nighthawks," "Tango & Cash," "Demolition Man," and "The Expendables." He even bust his chops in the 2003 kid-friendly movie "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over" as well as a number of voice oversBorn in New York City by way of a forceps accident that severed a nerve and left him with slurred speech, Stallone always took a humble approach to his flourishing career in entertainment, via Biography.

"I am not the richest, smartest or most talented person in the world, but I succeed because I keep going and going and going," the "Get Carter" star once said, via Goal Cast. Prior to his success from "Rocky," Stallone lived as a struggling actor. While reflecting back on this period in his life, the Oscar winner candidly shared what he learned from being broke.

Sylvester Stallone shares what 'an unemployed ... actor/writer' looks like

In February 2021, Sylvester Stallone took time to reflect on his early days as a broke young adult with dreams of making it big in Hollywood. "This is exactly what an unemployed, going nowhere fast, 22-year-old actor/writer living in a $71 a month apartment looks like," the renowned actor, director, and screenwriter wrote alongside a throwback black-and-white photo of himself that he put up on Instagram. "There's always a way out if you Want to get out. There's always a way up if you want to REALLY go up," he added. 

His words still rang true almost 50 years after he "refused to sell his script to the studio unless he played the title role," We Got This Covered reported. The established action movie star shared the encouraging message while working on three more action films, including the dark superhero film "Samaritan," a sequel to "The Suicide Squad," and the director's cut of "Rocky IV." He was also rumored to be returning for a fourth installment to "The Expendables," via IMDb.

His continued work as an actor and director in his elder years shows Stallone's resilience with no plans of slowing down. The autobiography he teased in May 2020 will reportedly follow his "journey of getting here and about staying here, and coming back," he shared on Instagram, according to Total Rocky. We all know how much Sly Stallone loves to tell a story, and his memoir is sure to be action-packed.

Sylvester Stallone's pure determination got him where he is today

In the 2020 documentary "Becoming Rocky" — also known as "40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic" — Sylvester Stallone gives an in-depth look at his determination to get his "Rocky" script made into a movie, and the concessions he made along the way.

The documentary's director Derek Wayne Johnson spoke with Express about how the original script had to be adapted during filming. Apparently, the original story was much darker and grittier than the one we know today. "As Sly would say: [the script was] much more in the line of 'Mean Streets' — the [Martin] Scorsese classic," Johnson said. John G. Avildsen — the director of "Rocky" — worked with Stallone to "sweeten it up and [make] it a bit more charming," according to Johnson.

The determination ultimately paid off for Stallone. According to Box Office Mojo, the first "Rocky" film grossed over $117 million worldwide and led to a string of successful sequels; 1979's "Rocky II" grossed $85 million, while 1982's "Rocky III" beat the original, grossing $125 million. But the franchise didn't end there.

Sylvester Stallone once claimed he wouldn't play Rocky again, but of course, he did

In 1979, fresh off the heels of "Rocky II" and with "Rocky III" in the works, Sylvester Stallone told Roger Ebert that "there will never be a 'Rocky IV,'" saying, "You gotta call a halt." He continued, "I could go on playin' Rocky forever, but it's like even the Bowery Boys got a little embarrassing when they were 50 or 60. They shoulda been the Bowery Seniors."

Ultimately, Stallone ended up putting his money where his mouth was, making not only "Rocky IV" in 1985, but also "Rocky V" in 1990. After taking a break from the character for a decade and a half, Stallone returned in 2006 with "Rocky Balboa" and reprised the role again a decade later in 2015's "Creed" and 2018's "Creed II," per IMDb.

Stallone is living proof that anybody can make their wildest dreams a reality — and cash in on them big time.