First Blood, also known as Rambo after the name of its main character, is an action, adventure, drama, live action movie. It was directed by Ted Kotcheff, written by Michael Kozoll, William Sackheim, and Sylvester Stallone, musically composed by Jerry Goldsmith, filmed by Andrew Lazslo, edited by Joan E. Chapman, distributed by Orion Pictures, produced by Buzz Feitshans, Anabasis N.V., and Elcajo Productions, and it starred Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, and Brian Dennehy. It's based on a book of the same name which was written by David Morrell and released in 1972.
The movie would end up getting four sequels: 1985's Rambo: First Blood Part II, 1988's Rambo III, 2008's Rambo, and 2019's Rambo: Last Blood, as well as an animated series in 1986 entitled Rambo: The Force of Freedom.
John Rambo, a former Green Beret and Vietnam veteran, wanders into the small town of Hope, Washington for something to eat, but it arrested by Sheriff Will Teasle for vagrancy. Upon suffering so much abuse from the deputies, Rambo goes crazy and begins a personal war with Teasle.
Why It Rocks
- The beginning of the film has an amazingly beautiful acoustic guitar solo.
- Amazing acting.
- Rambo is depicted as a bit crazy, but still sympathetic, having returned home from the Vietnam War, learning that one of his close comrades has died due to Agent Orange, and then being unwanted and tortured in a local town that he travels to for completely made up charges.
- Excellent cinematography.
- Unlike the sequels, in this movie there's very little bloodshed. In fact, only one person actually dies in the whole film. It focuses more on the character rather than on the violence. By contrast, Rambo did actually kill a lot of cops, civilians, and National Guardsmen in the original novel.
- Great soundtrack.
- Sylvester Stallone does an amazing job performing for this incredibly flawed but still amazingly sympathetic and tragic character.
- Phenomenal action.
- Incredible practical effects with the very few times we actually see blood.
- Rambo has lots of memorable quotes.
- Dustin Hoffman, Powers Boothe, Jeff Bridges, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Clint Eastwood, James Garner, Paul Newman, Nick Nolte, Chuck Norris, Al Pacino, John Travolta, James Woods, and Kris Kristofferson were all considered for the role of Rambo.
- In the original novel, the roles between Rambo and Sheriff Teasle (who was a more sympathetic character, having been divorced from his wife, losing his father in a hunting trip, and being a Korean War veteran whose service was forgotten and buried by the presence of Vietnam vets) would be reversed halfway through the story, with Rambo being the villain, Teasle being the hero, and both characters dying at the end.
- The original filmed ending was much closer to the novel, which had Rambo forcing Col. Trautman to kill him. However, due to Rambo's more sympathetic portrayal in the film, a new ending was filmed which had Rambo being arrested instead, making the sequels possible.
First Blood, also known as Rambo, has a 88% critic rating and a 85% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 3.7/5 on Letterboxd, and a 7.7/10 on the International Movie Database (IMDB).