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Rambo III (1988)

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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 69,854 users   Metascore: 36/100
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Rambo's Vietnam commanding officer Colonel Trautman is held hostage in Afghanistan, and its up to Rambo to rescue him.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marc de Jonge ...
Spiros Focás ...
Masoud (as Spiros Focas)
Doudi Shoua ...
Randy Raney ...
Marcus Gilbert ...
Alon Aboutboul ...
Nissem (as Alon Abutbul)
Mahmoud Assadollahi ...
Joseph Shiloach ...
Khalid (as Yosef Shiloah)
Harold Diamond ...
Matti Seri ...
Gun Dealer (as Seri Mati)
Hany Said El Deen ...


John Rambo's former Vietnam superior, Colonel Samuel Trautman, has been assigned to lead a mission to help the Mujahedeen rebels who are fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but the Buddhist Rambo turns down Trautman's request that Rambo help out. When the mission goes belly up and Trautman is kidnapped and tortured by Russian Colonel Zaysen, Rambo launches a rescue effort and allies himself with the Mujahedeen rebels and gets their help in trying to rescue Trautman from Zaysen. Written by Todd Baldridge

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rambo | rescue | colonel | soviet | afghanistan | See more »


The first was for himself. The second for his country. This time it's to save his friend. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 May 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rambo 3  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$63,000,000 (estimated)


$53,715,611 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (1988) (heavily cut) (VHS)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The problems that the Russian forces faced with American Stinger missiles, as described in this movie, were very real, and accounted for hundreds of Russian helicopters during the real war. The missile was used again by Pakistan against better flown Indian aircraft and gunships in the 1999 Kargil War but only accounted for 1 kill out of several hundred launches. See more »


Even though it was the third film in the series, the title is technically wrong since there was no "Rambo II". See more »


Colonel Trautman: I'm sorry I got you into this Johnny.
Rambo: No you're not.
See more »


Spoofed in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995) See more »


Written by Bob Russell & Bobby Scott
Harrison Music Corp. (ASCAP)
Jenny Music, Inc. (ASCAP)
Performed by Bill Medley
Produced by Giorgio Moroder
Courtesy of Voss Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

just crazy enough o get by, but there are some flaws with this movie....
3 September 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

At one time (1988) Rambo III was the most expensive movie ever made. After watching it, I can see in some part why. It's really a big epic comic-book movie set in the geo-political firestorm of Ruskies vs. Afghanistan. With Rambo. And that means enough explosions, kills, land-mines, enemies exploding in caves, even bigger explosions, enemies fighting like ground-troops, tanks, large-ass helicopters, and uh, Tibetan monks to make Michael Bay go WOW. And sure, there's a lot of heavy fire here, so there should be some smoke. But despite some, like Rambo First Blood Part II, preachy moments and some sermonizing about helping out the Afghanies to rid Communism, and a kind of ironic feeling at the end as Rambo (i.e. America) doesn't stick around to help out a little more- and look how that turned out- this movie has little on its mind except kicking lots of ass. And at times it does. Other times, it feels weak and without a shred of anything interesting except for Stallone's Raging Torso.

I'm reminded of the line from Predator: If it bleeds, we can kill it. They might've wanted to take another look at good old John boy. He's even more like a He-Man action figure, this time helping out his not-so-much friend Colonel Troutman (Richard Crenna, looking every bit tired and wondering how he got from Wait Until Dark to here) after he's been kidnapped by those pesky Russians with their super-military forces. Of course no *American* army can go in there, heavens no, it's the Cold War after all (or, rather, the tail end of it, kind of like the last erectile gasp of it). So Rambo goes in, gets a little help from some (ANNOYING) Afhani characters, including a little kid, and gets the Colonel out. Yeah, simple, straight to the point, about as sharp as a sack of wet mice.

But hey, who needs story, or convincing character motivation, when you got, uh, Rambo fighting the Commies (almost) singlehandedly? Why not? Just three years prior Stallone got his America vs Russia on with Rocky IV (and in that case, ironically, Rocky won the Cold War all by himself, while Rambo ultimately needs back-up), so this is a logical extension of that via the Regan-era ethos of America F***-YEAH without the parody... well, maybe some. It should be telling that in the trivia on IMDb the director thinks that his movie might have had something to do with the Afghans taking back their country from Russia. Hey, if Rambo, who can pull a slug out from his colon (ah, who needs it) and keep on fighting without barely a flinch, why not the brave Afghanis? It seems as if it could be anyone really fighting the Russians though, and the one distinguishing, quasi-barbaric way of making the Afghani-people stand out is through a brief game that Rambo takes part in that is, uh, you know, kind of like football, only with a dead dog or something. Yeah.

But hey, EXPLOSIONS! That's what you come for to Rambo once the first (good) installment is out of the way. However, while First Blood Part 2 had a relentless stream of action, which Rambo III tries to replicate, the only upside Rambo III has is some more basic (and less showy and shiny) cinematography. By this point in the series I wanted to see it just get really crazy, just no-frills holy-s***-what-just-happened action, and it only really started getting that way by the last twenty minutes, when it was relentless, WTF action and deaths and lots of hail-fire from the sky and Rambo defeating Russia with a tank and a gun. All it needed was for Rambo to cut off his arm and make his arm a gun ala Army of Darkness and it would've been an improvement.

Instead, Rambo III becomes lackluster due to lack of imagination in the script (well, duh, perhaps), and only scatter-shot moments of fun with our burly man of war. Those who love watching a walking beefcake of death tear apart the red-menace won't mind. Those hoping for competent and soulful action- or, tee-hee, anything relating to the heart of the 1982 film- will be disappointed. I both didn't mind and was disappointed.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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