Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone now acknowledges that Arnold Schwarzenegger was a “superior” action star.

The 80s rivalry between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone is the stuff of Hollywood legends, but the two action stars have repaired some barriers now that they don’t compete at the box office every year. Stallone also makes an appearance in the new Netflix documentary “Arnold” to praise his former enemy for reinventing the action genre. He recalled that the action movie landscape the two men entered was radically different from the one they created together.

“The ’80s were a very interesting time because the ultimate ‘action boy’ hadn’t really been formed yet,” Stallone said. “Up until that point, the action was a car chase like ‘Bullitt’ or ‘The French Connection.’ A film all about intellect and innuendo and verbal this and verbal that.

Once the 80s arrived, humans replaced cars as the main engines of action in these blockbusters. Stallone has credited Schwarzenegger with being one of the first actors to spearhead that physical approach to action cinema.

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“You actually relied on your body to tell the story,” she said. “Dialogue was unnecessary. I saw that there was an opportunity, because no one else was doing it except another 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.

Stallone recalled that Schwarzenegger’s impressive musculature made him much more resilient on set and allowed him to continue filming despite injuries that would have hampered other actors.

“I had to get my ass kicked constantly, while Arnold never got hurt much,” she said. “And I’m like, ‘Arnold, you could go out and fight a dragon and you’d come back with a Band-Aid.'”

For his part, Schwarzenegger was quick to return the favor and praise Stallone. He explained that the “Rocky” writer’s creativity kept him from resting on his laurels and forced him to keep innovating to stay relevant.

“Every time he came out with a movie like ‘Rambo II,’ I had to find a way to top it,” Schwarzenegger said. “Without Stallone, maybe in the ’80s I wouldn’t have been as motivated to make the kind of movies I did and work as hard as I did. I’m a competitive person.”

“Arnold” is now streaming on Netflix.