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First Blood
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Reviews & Ratings for
First Blood More at IMDbPro »

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229 out of 307 people found the following review useful:

Stallone is the most underestimated actor of his age

Author: KScot from biloxi, ms
23 March 2004

this is certainly not the greatest film ever made. in fact, it's plot is predictable and formulaic, and every character is two-dimensional.

having said that, this is a film that is often dismissed as a macho action flick with no redeeming feature. these are opinions i would defy.

while the only imagination put into the film seems to be the various ways in which John Rambo can kill people, the basic theme is nevertheless a pretty strong one. this is not meant to be a Fellini-esque commentary on life, the universe, and everything.

the three most important characters in the film are all played by pros. you have Stallone's John Rambo, Dennehy's Sheriff Teasle, and Richard Crenna's Colonal Trautman.

Brian Dennehy hasn't missed a beat in his entire career; he's been a superb character actor since i've been watching movies, and - like Michael Caine - he always puts everything into each performance. his Sheriff Teasle is menacing, bigoted, and protective. he comes across like a man who's marked his territory and won't permit intrusions. i won't say he's brilliant, but he is absolutely believable as a small-town sheriff faced with a situation so far out of his own experience that he cannot figure out why he can't solve the problem.

Crenna is a patriarchial character, such as he often seems to play. he gives the Spec Ops Colonal Trautman enough soul to make him seem human, and enough blood and guts to make him seem like a veteran soldier.

of course, the centrepiece to the film is Sylvester Stallone. Stallone always suffers from the perception engendered by his appearance. he is a somewhat short fellow with a body of bulging unpronoucable muscles, and a sad bassett-hound face that looks like it was designed by someone out of "Oliver Twist."

but the man can flat-out act. he gives John Rambo depth and reality. he comes across as far too fit and far too silent because Rambo is far too fit and far too silent. like his character in "Copland," Stallone is playing a guy who pretty much wants to be left alone and is caught up by a bunch of people around him who are overly enthused by their own status.

while i can understand the dismissal of this film as just a patriotic action sop, i cannot also accept that Stallone does not give a good performance. the man has been characatured; he's an easy target. he's a really built short-guy. but Stallone's intelligence and creativity drove his first film, "Rocky," and neither quality has deserted him since. like Michael Caine, he does seem to take any old lame role offered to him. but he always gets paid, and he always puts everything into his performances.

i'll never campaign for this film to be considered a "great" film, but i think i'll always defend it's star as a guy who works too hard too often to get the such little credit.

i guess the best way i can put it is, i watched "First Blood," and i believed him. i believed Stallone.

last time i checked, that is what an actor is supposed to do.

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162 out of 181 people found the following review useful:

They drew first blood not me. They drew first blood.

Author: Dan Grant ( from Toronto, Ontario
14 June 1999

First Blood is simply one of the best films ever made. I think it transcends the action film genre and has stood the test of time. Stallone was immensely popular back in the 80's and if it is true that he hated the first cut of the film, then one can only say that he is lucky that he didn't get his wish to scrap the entire thing.

John Rambo is first introduced to us as he is walking into a small town to look for a friend of his that he served in Vietnam with. Upon discovering that he contracted cancer coming back from the war, Rambo wanders aimlessly into town. He is greeted by a small town overzealous sheriff named Will Teasle, played wonderfully by Brian Denehy. He at first tells Rambo that he will help him out and give him a ride. When Rambo asks if he can find a good place to eat, Teasle directs him to a diner about 10 miles up the highway. Rambo asks if there is a law against him eating in the town, Teasle, says yea, me. This sets up the premise as Rambo begins walking back into town. Arrested for vagrancy, Rambo is taken to the local jail and we meet some of the local redneck officers, notably, a young David Caruso, who seems to be the only one who empathizes with Rambo. Finally, he escapes the jail and takes the entire small town sheriff department and the military on a hunt into the local "jungle."

First Blood has strength of character. It has frenetic action scenes and every actor in the film is at the top of their game. Samuel Trautman, Rambo's mentor and former Colonel in the war, is played by Richard Crenna as a no nonsense but empathetic man. He knows Rambo has pushed back a little too hard but he understands where his plight comes from. He wants to avoid more bloodshed but at the same time he doesn't completely agree with how Rambo has been treated. He is obviously a law abiding citizen, but he knows that not all the laws were upheld when dealing with Rambo.

Sylvester Stallone is RAMBO. There is no one else that could play him. Just like Harrison Ford embodies Indiana Jones and Bruce Willis is John McClane, Stallone is about as good as he has ever been here. He is quiet, he is strong and his physicality creates a character that many of us can empathize with and eventually root for. David Morell wrote a different character in his book but Stallone paints him more as a sympathetic character. He is correct in doing so. While Morell's vision is still present, this is more of Stallone's creation. Rambo is about as unique a character present in film history.

First Blood is a film released in 1982, but in my opinion it set a new standard for action film stars. I think James Bond was pretty much your standard action film star before that. He was smooth and debonair and nothing went wrong for him. Rambo, at least in First Blood, is realistic. He bleeds, he cries, and he wears his emotion on his sleeve. This is someone that many of us could and can relate to. The sequels made him larger than life and that is fine, but this small film done by the Carolco guys is about as perfect a film as you can get.


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166 out of 203 people found the following review useful:

Total classic

Author: Shawn Watson from The Penumbra
19 June 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Everything about this is brilliant. From Goldsmith's rousing score to Stallone's perfect performance. Yes, you heard me. Stallone does act in this movie. I feel so sorry for Rambo. People are real nasty to him. Especially the deputy with the moustache. He was a real jerk. The scene in which Rambo finally explodes in the jail cell is way cool. The music that goes with this scene is SO intense.

I highly recommend this movie and the soundtrack. This is a proper movie by the way. I know that the character of Rambo became a 'little' exaggerated and silly in the sequels but do not let that alter your opinion of this movie.

The Pacific Northwest scenery is also very beautiful and atmospheric. The sound design seems to be crafted so that dialogue sound natural like it would in a mountain forest or in dead cold environments where the air cannot carry sound so well.

See this movie in widescreen to appreciate how cool it really is.

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183 out of 240 people found the following review useful:

A hell of a film.* * * * *

Author: David Slicer ( from Amherst, Massachusetts
24 November 2004

The character of John Rambo became more popular in films such as "Rambo:First Blood,Part II" and "Rambo III".The character were treated like a comic book hero spawning action figures and a short lived animated series which lasted only a short while.There are not that many people who has heard of the Rambo character.He's well known through out,but today's generation would have been lucky to catch him on VHS or DVD.Back in 1982 when the character of John Rambo was introduced to movie screens,filmgoers were dealing with a character that was not displayed as an action icon,but a man who had a lot of demons within him.The best thing about "First Blood" is that John Rambo is not portrayed as an action hero.He is portrayed more as a man.A man who is haunted by memories of the Vietnam War.Sylvester Stallone plays the character of John Rambo very convincingly and Director Ted Kotcheff brings out the story to an effective scale allowing us to see the action through the character's eyes.Violence in films are the main aspects in film today.Or at least one of.It's fun to watch a violent film,but the violence in this film was not filmed to thrill the audience,but to make us understand what John Rambo is going through.I have these memories of first watching this film twenty years ago when I was twelve."First Blood" doesn't deal with CGI nor does it deal with special effects.It deals or tries to deal really hard on what is real.I like "First Blood" because I understand the character.He feels that society is against him and he is angry.A lot of films there is only one villain where as in this one society is the villain.That is according to Rambo.Actually,there is one villain named Sheriff Teasle played by Brian Dennehy.He and Rambo seemed to clash against each other and Ted Kotcheff let's us experience these two men go at it.I liked how the film shows Rambo trying to survive out in the woods while the guards are in hunting him when in turn he is hunting them creating these traps putting these officers in painful situations.The best thing about "First Blood" is that we know that John Rambo was in the Vietnam War and was trained to kill,yet,he doesn't kill a single human in the film on purpose.The killing of Galt was accidental and was deserving according to my eyes.This film is the best in the Rambo series because I understand the character and I understand why he is acting violent."First Blood" doesn't bring us John Rambo,the action hero but John Rambo,a regular man with a lot of demons he must face."First Blood" is the best of the Rambo series.

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143 out of 185 people found the following review useful:

Rambo is an icon.

Author: F0RCE from Poughkeepsie, NY
21 March 2001

The adaptation of this novel to the big screen is a great accomplishment. The film is not only the beginning of one of the greatest action trilogies of all-time, but it charts the developments of its characters, something rarely done by an action movie. "First Blood" is a moving story about the realities of post-Vietnam America and is very underrated as a film.

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103 out of 129 people found the following review useful:

A taut exercise in suspense that bears little relation to its silly sequels...

Author: Howlin Wolf from Oldham, Gtr Manchester, England.
10 October 2001

Surprise, a "Rambo" movie that tries to say something profound about the plight of its main character and his mental state. For the most part it succeeds. Not for this movie the ridiculously oiled pectorals of part II, where Rambo is transformed into a grunting, soul-less killing machine. He actually begins the movie as a fairly nice chap, someone we can sympathise with, and it's his unnecessarily rough treatment at the hands of small-town sheriff Dennehey and his crew that is likely to shift audience sympathies firmly in the direction of the 'misunderstood' Vietnam vet.

Here, Rambo is also a character who is reluctant to kill unless he absolutely has to. A far cry from the eventual homicidal maniac he was to become, who is seemingly responsible for more death than World Wars 1 & 2 combined. So, to those expecting bucketloads of gore and senseless killing, you'd probably be better off watching the news. "First Blood" is actually more akin to those 'survival in the wilderness' programs you might see on the Discovery Channel; with Rambo having to rely more on guile and cunning than brawn and an M-16 to get him out of tricky situations.

That's not to imply that this is boring. Far from it. Director Kotcheff shows a keen awareness of pace, it's never by any means certain that Rambo will survive (if you discount the other films, of course!) and the supporting characters are all wonderfully unsympathetic. Even Trautmann, Rambo's supposed mentor, has a touch of the villain about him for being complicit in the ultimate dehumanisation of Rambo during the war. By far the best character here is played by Dennehey; always watchable, but Stallone too is good; nicely restrained, more "Cop Land" than "Cobra"

Not an action film as such, it sits better as suspense. In that sense, it does exactly what it says on the tin; rendering John Rambo a far more interesting character here than his incarnation in the other two films. That is basically just wet-dream material for inadequate, spotty faced adolescent boys everywhere. This Rambo is recognisably human. Having said that, neither should you view expecting a solemn Vietnam protest movie in the vein of "Platoon" or "The Deer Hunter". It's different in tone and style to the both of those movies, but in my view at least, is better than either of them.

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117 out of 173 people found the following review useful:

The only good rambo movie

Author: Wallace Chaplain III ( from United States
17 November 2004

How people can call this the worst one of the series or just a bad movie in general is beyond me. The action is actually believable and not something out of a video game. And the storyline is good and paints a good picture of life in America after the Vietnam war. Following the tale of the best of the best it is certainly not the best but very good. Better yet is the laughs that come from watching the bad cops get theirs. The only I have to complain about this movie is that the sequels were atrocious and painful. This is often looked over excellent movie that puts many other in the genre to shame. Many of you who find it boring are just gore junkies who thrive off of cheap explosions and a plethora of bullets in the air. Take it for a man trying to survive, not bringing down a whole army.

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44 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

"Don't push it or I'll give you a war you won't believe. Let it go. "

Author: Righty-Sock ( from Mexico
8 July 2007

Sylvester Stallone achieved amazing heights during the 80's, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, especially as a movie character synonymous with the muscled guy who is a pure fighting machine…

In Ted Kotcheff's "First Blood," John Rambo (Stallone) is a highly decorated Vietnam veteran who was trained specifically as a killing machine… He has come to a quite little town in Oregon, only to visit one of his platoon buddies… He was told that his friend has died, last summer, of cancer…

Disheartened, Rambo continues to walk the streets of Hope when he is annoyed by the local Sheriff (Brian Dennehy), and booked for vagrancy and resisting arrest…

Beaten, kicked all over, treated like trash, and pushed too far by the other cops in the Sheriff's office, Rambo is taking back to traumatic flashbacks, to the enduring torture in POW camp… Rambo, by that point, fights his way out and wages a one-man war against the police force that escalates out of control... Rambo is seen as a one man army overpowering all the sheriff's deputies and escaping into the surrounding woods…

"First Blood" communicates the rage, the depression, the frustration and the psychological wounds of one Vietnam soldier that fought for his country and was then hassled by it upon his return…

But what makes Rambo such a dangerous hero is Brian Dennehy being incredibly efficient as the cruel officer who doesn't like the looks of Stallone... Sure he's the abusive sheriff who is the victim of his environment, but he's also arrogant and incessantly underestimating a man who was 'the best, with guns, with knives, with his bare hands…'

Dennehy got a presence of his own pushing an 'expert in guerrilla warfare' at the breaking point…

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36 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

After almost a quarter of a century it's still a great movie!

Author: Arthur D. from Netherlands
7 September 2006

I totally agree with the comments of a previous reviewer who said that Sylvester Stallone is greatly underestimated as an actor. I wouldn't go as far as calling him the best actor that Hollywood has ever had, but he IS so much better than a lot of people say that he is. In my opinion Stallone shouldn't make comedies, but when it comes to action movies (Rambo, Rocky, Cobra, etc.) he's definitely one of the best! Rambo was a sensational movie in the 80's, but every time that I see it nowadays I'm amazed by the fact that it is actually a very good, original story. Brian Dennehy really shows his acting skills as well, leaving the audience confused whether to have sympathy for the character that he plays or to hate the character. First Blood is a movie filled with action. Like all the action movies from the 1980's "First Blood" also tends to become slightly over the top in the end. Still I gave it a 10/10 for the simple fact that I wanted to compensate for the people who "underrate" this movie. Normally I would give this movie an "8". If it had not been for the action scenes that are over the top this movie could even have scored a bit higher!

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44 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

In war, a hero, in peace, forsaken.

Author: K. L. Estes ( from North Mississippi
29 September 1999

This is a truly unique movie that quickly became obscured due to the later sequels. It tells the story of a man who survived one hell, only to return home despised and forsaken because of it. There was a time when America didn't quite know what to think of the lost war, and so it was forgotten - and the men who came out of it as well. Rambo finds he cannot survive this war, because it is still going on within him.

Finally, pushed too far by a small town sheriff, Rambo returns to the only thing he can relate to. War. Yet it is a war he almost mercifully wages on the macho egotistical deputies and week end warriors that pursue. To potentially misquote Rambo :

"I coulda killed them all, I could have killed you. In town you're the law, out here it's me. Let it go..."

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