Sylvester Stallone’s Classic Movie Is Considered One Of The Worst Films Ever To Win Best Picture

Sylvester Stallone won the Best Picture Oscar for Rocky, which is one of the 10 worst rated winners on Rotten Tomatoes.

By TeeJay Small | Published

sylvester stallone
Sylvester Stallone in Rocky

Long before he was intimidating witnesses and assembling a crew of assorted ne’er-do-well’s on the hit Paramount+ original series Tulsa King, Sylvester Stallone was renowned for producing and starring in hit film after hit film. Throughout the 70s and 80s, Stallone starred in classic film franchises such as the Rocky and Rambo films, to critical and audience acclaim, earning many awards. However, as Mental Floss details in a recent list of the ten worst-scoring films to win a best picture Oscar, the original 1976 Rocky maintains only a 69 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film comes in at number nine on the baffling list, which displays the sometimes vast difference in academy and audience opinions. Additional entries on the list include 2017’s The Shape of Water, 1931’s Cimarron, and even James Cameron‘s 1997 box office smash, Titanic. The original 1976 Rocky is regarded as Sylvester Stallone’s breakout role, catapulting him to stardom and landing him the Oscar nomination for Best Lead Actor and Best Screenplay.

Despite the film being renowned as a classic, still spawning sequels to this day in Michael B. Jordan’s Creed 3, Rocky holds only a paltry 69 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Reasons for this low score may include fans preferring the work of some of the sequels, not being used to Sylvester Stallone’s groundbreaking performance, or simply feeling that the film is a bit dated compared to the more modern take in the Creed franchise. Critics hold a completely different point of view, awarding the film as the Best Picture of 1976 and providing a whopping 91% certified fresh score on the review aggregate website.

sylvester stallone rocky
Sylvester Stallone in Rocky

In the iconic film, Sylvester Stallone portrays the titular Rocky Balboa, a low-level thug stricken by poverty in the slums of Philadelphia, who is given the opportunity to change his life by taking on the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Rocky normally participates in low-level boxing matches throughout local gyms across the city but is given a rare opportunity to enter the big time when he is selected to replace the injured opponent of heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. Creed would go on to serve as an iconic character himself, giving his namesake to the 2015 franchise revival, in which Michael B. Jordan stars as the boxer’s son.

The film spawned over half a dozen sequels, with a prequel film about a young Rocky Balboa still being considered for production. The franchise took Sylvester Stallone all around the world, including an installment that served as a powerful allegory for the ongoing Cold War. These accolades are hard to deny, making it a strange inclusion on the list of worst-rated films to take home a best-picture win.

Of course, at number nine on the list, Rocky is still considered a solid film, even by those offering a review score of only 69%. Compared to the films topping the list, such as 1929’s The Broadway Melody, which touts a Rotten Tomatoes score of only 20 percent, it helps put the film’s cult status into perspective. Sylvester Stallone has remained a household name since the film premiered in 1976, going on to create, write, direct, produce, and star in a series of hit films and television shows, including The Expendables, Tulsa King, and James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.