Upon returning to the United States, Vietnam veteran John Rambo has difficulty adjusting to civilian life and wanders the country as a drifter for almost a decade. In December 1981, Rambo travels to a small town in Washington, in search of a fellow U.S. Army Green Beret buddy. He learns that his friend died from cancer the previous summer due to exposure to Agent Orange.
He attempts to find a diner in town, and maybe a temporary job. The overconfident town sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy) does not welcome Rambo, judging the military hero negatively because of his long hair and scruffy look. Rambo disobeys the sheriff’s order to stay away from town, as he has done nothing wrong to the community and he believes such banishment to be a violation of his freedom of movement, and is promptly charged for vagrancy and subject to harassment from the deputies.
The harassment triggers flashbacks of Rambo’s traumatic memories of his torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese when he was a prisoner of war. Rambo fights his way out of the sheriff’s department with his bare hands and makes his way into the wilderness. A manhunt ensues, with the sheriff and his deputies all badly wounded. Rambo chooses not to kill any of them, but unintentionally kills a police officer in self-defense by throwing a rock at a helicopter, causing the pilot to lose control and an officer to fall out. The State Police and National Guard are called in.
Colonel Samuel Trautman (Richard Crenna), Rambo’s former commanding officer, arrives. He suggests giving Rambo a chance to escape; if Rambo is allowed to slip away, he’ll be given time to calm down and he can be arrested without incident. The authorities reject Trautman’s recommendation and continue the manhunt, and Rambo’s subsequent rampage culminates in the destruction of the sheriff’s office and more of the town’s main street. Rambo stands poised to eliminate the sheriff, but Trautman finally confronts Rambo face-to-face, and ultimately convinces his former soldier to surrender to the authorities.
Between the first and second films, Rambo is convicted and remanded to a civilian maximum-security prison where heavy duty labor is the norm. Despite being a convict, the rigid routine and discipline of prison life provides Rambo with some measure of much-needed stability, as it reminds him of his past in the military and its own rigid hierarchy.
First Blood (also know as Rambo and Rambo: First Blood) is a 1982 American action thriller film directed by Ted Kotcheff. It was co-written by and starred Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a troubled and misunderstood Vietnam veteran who must rely on his combat and survival senses against the abusive law enforcement of a small town. It is based on David Morrell’s 1972 novel of the same name and is the first installment of the Rambo film series. Brian Dennehy and Richard Crenna also appear in supporting roles.
The film was released in the United States on October 22, 1982. Despite initial mixed reviews, the film was a box office success, grossing $125.2 million at the box office. Since its release, First Blood has received reappraisal from critics, with many praising the roles of Stallone, Dennehy, and Crenna, and recognizing it as an influential film in the action genre.
The film’s success spawned a franchise, consisting of three sequels (all of which were co-written by and starred Stallone), an animated series, comic books, novels, and a Bollywood remake. A fifth film, tentatively titled Rambo: Last Stand, was cancelled in January 2016 when Stallone stated that he was retiring the character.
In May 2018, a revised fifth film titled Rambo V: Last Blood was announced, and is scheduled for a fall 2019 release.
Awesome film which kickstarted the “Macho Tough Guy” movie genre of The 80s with Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis all at the top of their game with bug budget blockbusting movies, how we all miss those days. 8.5/10
- Sylvester Stallone as John J. Rambo
- Richard Crenna as Colonel Sam Trautman
- Brian Dennehy as Sheriff Will Teasle
- Bill McKinney as Dave Kern
- Jack Starrett as Art Galt
- Michael Talbott as Balford
- Chris Mulkey as Ward
- John McLiam as Orval
- Alf Humphreys as Lester
- David Caruso as Mitch
- David L. Crowley as Shingleton
- Don MacKay as Preston
First Blood topped the North American box office for three weeks in a row, and its $6,642,005 opening weekend was the best October opening at the time. The film ended as a significant financial success, with a total gross of $47 million domestically, ranking as the 13th highest-grossing film of the year, and $125 million worldwide, against a $14 million budget.