Schwarzenegger and Stallone in 2014. (Venturelli/WireImage)

Sylvester Stallone Addresses '80s Action Star Rivalry With Arnold Schwarzenegger: 'We Truly Loathed Each Other'

Sylvester Stallone, now in a career renaissance with hits like Taylor Sheridan's record-breaking Western-gangster series Tulsa King and his own reality TV show, is opening up about his 1980s action star past — and how he and Arnold Schwarzenegger, a thorn in his side for decades, built the modern action pic through their Hollywood rivalry: "We truly, truly loathed each other."

In Netflix's new Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary Arnold, which premiered on June 7, Stallone gives it up to the Austrian body-builder-turned box office star, who first hit the big leagues in the early 1980s with Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator.

"The '80s was a very interesting time because the definitive action guy had not really been formed yet," Stallone says in the documentary, adding that early action films like Steve McQueen's Bullitt and The French Connection were more about "intellect and innuendo and verbal-this and verbal-that."

It was Schwarzenegger—or "some other guy from Austria," as Sly jokingly calls him—who invented the silent, muscle-bound modern action star. Stallone's Oscar-nominated 1976 turn in Rocky (which he also wrote) was more of a character study than any of Schwarzenegger's oiled-up and "superior" heroes.

"You actually relied upon your body to tell the story. Dialogue was not necessary. I saw that there was an opportunity, because no one else was doing this except some other guy from Austria, who doesn't need to say much... He was superior. He just had all the answers. He had the body. He had the strength. That was his character."

"I had to get my a** kicked constantly, whereas Arnold, he never got hurt much," Stallone joked of their competing personas. "I'm going, 'Arnold, you could go out and fight a dragon and you'd come back with a Band-Aid.'"

Hollywood pitted the two actors, and their box office receipts, against one other during the action heyday of the 1980s. While the pair have since patched things up (they co-starred in two of Stallone's Expendables movies), it took a lot of soul-searching to get there. Per Variety, in a recent appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show, Stallone said, "We truly, truly loathed each other."

How about today? They're thick as thieves. "We've become really good friends," Stallone gushed in the documentary.

Schwarzenegger, too, heaped praise on Stallone, crediting the Italian Stallion for pushing him to make better films:

"Every time he came out with a movie like Rambo II, I had to figure out a way of now outdoing that. Without Stallone, I maybe wouldn't have been as motivated in the '80s to do the kind of movies that I did and to work as hard as I did."

Arnold is now streaming on Netflix. Sylvester Stallone's Expendables 4 is expected to release this September.

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