Was Sylvester Stallone bullied and is his success due to his ability to face adversity?

Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone

As a kid living in Queens, New York, Sylvester Stallone didn’t always get along well in school. He was expelled from 14 schools and eventually his mother ended up getting him into a U.S. college in Switzerland.

Before that though, Sylvester was bullied. So much so that he decided to build his body so he would have the upper hand over any bully who would decide to take him on. He had one big problem. He and his family didn’t have the money to buy weights and body building equipment, so he mustered up some auto parts from the local wreckers and used some cinderblocks attached to a pole to gradually build up those legendary biceps.

It is Sylvester’s belief that you should face your fears head on and beat them by dealing with them directly.

Playing the character Rocky Balboa, Sylvester dealt with his fear of heights by filming the movie Cliffhanger in the Dolomite mountains. He faced his claustrophobia by shooting most of the movie Daylight in a small, tunnel set.

He has been injured a number of times on the job.

He dislocated a shoulder while making the soccer movie, Escape To victory. While filming Rocky IV, he was punched in the chest so hard by his opponent that he had to be immediately flown to hospital for treatment in intensive care. He has also endured body shock, broken ribs and a broken neck while filming his other various movies.

Rocky Statue in Philadelphia

Rocky Statue in Philadelphia

A bronze statue of Rocky Balboa, (Sylvester Stallone) is one of Philadelphia’s top tourist attractions located near the bottom of the steps of the Philadelphia

museum. The 10 foot statue was used as a prop in the movie Rocky III and was donated to the city of Philadelphia afterwards.
Did the bullying he experienced make Sylvester stronger and more dedicated to his goals in life? One might t

hink so. He certainly is an inspiration as a person who has accomplished a great deal in his life, much of it against amazing odds.


Be inspired by others. People like Sylvester Stallone can inspire every one of us to meet our challenges and face adversity head on!


Bruce Langford is a bullying prevention advocate who presents live workshops and presentations on bullying and respect.