On This Date: Dolly Parton & Sylvester Stallone’s 1984 Movie “Rhinestone” Was Released (& Flopped)

Dolly Parton Sylvester Stallone
20th Century Fox

How could a movie with the country music icon Dolly Parton and certified movie star Sylvester Stallone flop?

What seemed like a match made in heaven turned out to be a box office bust, even with the movie being highly hyped-up and marketed before it’s release on this date in 1984.

The musical comedy Rhinestone was directed by Bob Clark and starred Stallone and Parton in the leading roles was based on the 1975 song “Rhinestone Cowboy,” which was written by Larry Weis and made famous by Glenn Campbell.

In fact, the trailer for the movie uses the famous Campbell song to help set the scene for the Dolly and “Sly” comedy, and to be honest with you, it looks pretty good.

It must have been one of those movies where the trailer really does a great job selling it to get people to go see it, just for it to be terrible (other examples: After Earth, Sausage Party).

The plot follows a country singer named Jake (played by Parton) from Tennessee who is stuck in a contract to perform at a cowboy nightclub in New York City called “The Rhinestone.”

In order to get out of the contract, she makes a bet to the club’s owner that she can make any normal person a country star in just two weeks time.

“The Rhinestone’s” owner accepts the challenge, and says that if she can do it, her contract to perform at the club will become void. However, if she can’t manage to turn a normal person into a country star, an additional five years will be tacked on to her contract.

You know, just a normal, believable premise for an 80’s movie.

Another important plot point is that the club owner also gets to pick the person for Parton’s character to do a “country music makeover” on, and ends up choosing an arrogant New York City cab driver named Nick, played by Sylvester Stallone.

The cab driver has no musical talent whatsoever and even hates country music, so Jake takes Nick back to Tennessee for a little “immersion therapy” so that Stallone’s character can really soak in what living in the south has to offer.

Hilarity (?) and country stereotypes ensue as Parton tries to get Stallone acclimated to country music and country living, and they eventually head back to NYC for the finale of the movie, where Stallone’s character Nick has to perform in front of “The Rhinestone” crowd to prove that he now has what it takes to be a country star.

Oh, and the two (of course) fall in love during the process, which adds another element to the film.

After Stallone bombs singing country, he tells the band to “speed it up,” and plays more of a rock and rock version of the song and wins over the crowd.

One of the final shots of the film is Parton and Stallone’s characters then singing together, teasing that their relationship between the two will obviously go on after the movie’s credits roll.

Though the movie flopped, it still managed to produce some hit country songs. Most notably, the song “Tennessee Homesick Blues” by Parton ended up being a number one hit, unlike the film itself.

It also sparked a new friendship between Dolly and Stallone.

She told Smooth Radio Back in 1984:

“When I met him, I loved him instantly. I think we just struck up a wonderful lasting friendship. I loved his energy and personality. He was very protective of me…

I was really impressed with him, because I wondered myself, because of the role he played, if he would be funny. If he really could do comedy. And he had me laughing, I couldn’t even do my scenes- they just left my laughing in, because I was laughing in places I wasn’t supposed to. 

I was supposed to be acting. He absolutely tickled me to death. He’s a crazy person.”

Too bad it didn’t do well, otherwise we would probably be getting a “Rhinestone 2” this year with the two older actors reprising their roles and giving us an update on Jake and Nick.

There’s a high likelihood that won’t ever happen, but never count it out in this day and age of reboots. For now, just take in the trailer for the 1984 movie Rhinestone that somehow didn’t deliver.

Take a look:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock