Schwarzenegger Confirms He 'Started' Rivalry With Sylvester Stallone In Joint Interview

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone still vividly remember their rabid rivalry.

The elder statesmen of high-octane Hollywood action famously competed throughout the ’80s and ’90s and sat down to dish on the extreme lengths they went to for a joint interview released Tuesday titled “TMZ Presents: Arnold & Sly: Rivals, Friends, Icons.”

“As soon as I saw him, it was like, ‘Bang, two alphas hitting,’” Stallone told moderator and TMZ founder Harvey Levin. “If we walked into a party, we’d be staring at each other for a few seconds, and then, ‘I got to get that guy. He didn’t do anything wrong, but he will.’”

While Stallone said Schwarzenegger’s rise helped “motivate” him, and the “Terminator” star agreed Stallone “was very helpful” as someone he could “chase” after, Schwarzenegger admitted he “started this whole thing” by “saying stupid things” and “being competitive.”

“It was kind of like, ‘Well, what was your body fat?’” he recalled asking Stallone. “And I was down to 7%, so I said I was down to 10%. So it became a competition with the body. Then he started using machine guns that were huge machine guns.”

“I was running after him,” Schwarzenegger continued. “He was not running after me. So I said, when we did ‘Predator’ — you got to get a machine gun that is normally mounted on a tank or in a helicopter — I said … I got to have a bigger machine gun than he used in ‘Rambo.’”

Their competition had started much earlier at the 1977 Golden Globes, however, when Stallone’s “Rocky” won Best Film after Schwarzenegger claimed the New Actor of the Year award for “Stay Hungry.” Stallone said that he “lost it” when “Rocky” won.

“I literally went and picked up this entire bouquet of flowers and tossed them straight up in the air, sort of aiming toward [Schwarzenegger’s] side of the table,” he said. “And it all comes down, he’s sort of sitting there [thinking] … [Stallone] just threw down the gauntlet.”

The former rivals have long patched things up, even carving Halloween pumpkins together in 2022.
The former rivals have long patched things up, even carving Halloween pumpkins together in 2022. Eric Charbonneau via Getty Images

The most insidious incident came in the early ’90s, however, when Schwarzenegger used certain sources and Hollywood agents to pretend he was circling “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot,” a mother-son buddy cop movie, only to ensure it landed in Stallone’s lap.

The film, which starred Stallone and “Golden Girls” alum Estelle Getty, was a critical flop.

“I was, of course, absolutely in heaven,” Schwarzenegger said. “I felt like the only way that I could catch up with him was if he stumbled. It was psychological. This is a whole thing about Hollywood — when you’re always as good as your last movie.”

The action icons have long patched things up, even carving Halloween pumpkins together in 2022. Schwarzenegger said he admires Stallone for his emotional vulnerability and “dedication and passion,” only for Stallone to respond in kind.

“He’s like a chess player. You don’t know what’s going on, but he gets it done,” Stallone said of Schwarzenegger. “And he really does have a big heart, he does. I mean, you wouldn’t think it because we’re ‘action guys,’ but we’re more emotional than a lot of more dramatic actors, trust me.”

“Arnold & Sly”is available to stream on Hulu,, Tubi and on demand.