Among the many movies in which the legendary Sylvester Stallone has featured, First Blood ranks up with the best. Released in 1982, its production was difficult as it faced internal and external wrangles. Thankfully, the cast, crew, and everyone else involved eventually got themselves together and produced this masterpiece. Here are some interesting Rambo (First Blood) film facts to make your day.

1. The Film Is Based on a Novel

Sylvester Stallone’s First Blood film is based on a novel by the same name written by David Morell a decade before its release. Before First Blood, many directors and studios had tried to adapt the novel unsuccessfully in the 1970s.

2. The Film Was A Success

When First Blood was released in the United States, viewers were a bit reserved; it was met with mixed reactions. However, the film was successful as it was in the top 20 highest-grossing movies at the domestic box office. It attracted even more success abroad, ranking seventh highest-grossing film worldwide. To date, it ranks among the best action films of the 20th century.

3. Sylvester Stallone Didn’t Like Being Whipped Repeatedly In One of the Scenes

According to a question and answer session that Sylvester Stallone did with Ain’t It Cool News, he revealed he did not like being whipped repeatedly in one of the First Blood film scenes. The legendary actor said his character, John Rambo, had to be beaten by a rubber hose but thought the director made a meal of it by asking for retakes. At one point, Stallone had had enough and pushed the director. It took several months for the pair to make up and for filming to continue.

4. Sylvester Stallone Stars in It

Over the years, very few action stars boast the longevity, experience, and success that Sylvester Stallone has. The legendary actor starred in First Blood as John J. Rambo and is credited with much of the film’s success. Other notable actors include Richard Crenna as Colonel Samuel R. Trautman, Bill McKinney as Captain Dave Kern, and Brian Dennehy as Sheriff William Teasle.

5. Some of the Aspects of the Adapted Film Are Different from those of the Novel

Usually, films adapted from novels are not entirely similar; First Blood is not different. While most aspects are the same, some vary, with the most notable one being the knife that Rambo carries. In the novel, Rambo does not carry a knife, and his name is just Rambo. In the movie, the character’s name is John J. Rambo, and he carries a knife with a critical role.

6. The Film’s Production Had A Lot of False Starts

After David Morrell wrote the Novel First Blood, it immediately attracted the attention of many people, including the bigwigs in the film industry. Working at Columbia Pictures, Lawrence Turman was the first to buy film adaptation rights for about $175,000.

Even though Turman had his plans, including ending the film with Rambo being fatally shot, filming did not start as the Vietnam War was ongoing. John Calley bought the rights for Warner Bros. Pictures for $125. The trend continued until 1982, when the film was finally produced by Buzz Feitshans.

7. The Film Was So Good that the Original Author Preferred it to the Novel

After watching the screenplay version of First Blood, the original author whose story was adapted, David Morell, claimed that he preferred the film over his novel. This further highlighted the movie’s success.

8. First Blood Was Shot in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia

With a roughly $15 million budget, the First Blood movie was filmed in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada. Coincidentally, the film’s fictitious setting is the town of Hope, Washington. Shooting started in November 1981 and ended in April 1982 before it was released later that year.

9. Only One Person Was Killed in First Blood

Even though Rambo gets extremely violent in First Blood sequels, the original version released in 1982 has only one killing, and it’s accidental.

10. Sylvester Stallone Did Not Like the Film’s First Cut

According to several interviews featuring Sylvester Stallone, there was a good chance of the film First Blood not seeing the light of day. He narrated that its first cut was about three and a half hours long, and he did not like his dialogue. Fearing that it could “kill his career,” Sylvester Stallone contemplated purchasing the film so he could destroy it. Fortunately, it was super edited and cut down to 93 minutes with most of his speeches cut out, the version we have today.

11. There Is a Video Game Based on First Blood and Its Sequels

Following the success of Rambo First Blood, several sequels were shot and released over time. In 2014, an arcade-style rail shooter video game, Rambo: The Video Game, was released amid the hype created by the Rambo franchise and films.

12. Rambo’s Character Was Modified

In the novel in which the First Blood film was adapted, Rambo is a psychotic, cold-blooded killer who stops at nothing. However, Sylvester Stallone and the movie’s producers agreed to alter the role so that the character looked lost, not knowing what to do with his life. They made him a victim of circumstance.

13. There Is a Rambo Statue in Hope, Canada

A wood statue of Rambo from First Blood was unveiled in Hope, Canada, almost four decades after the movie was released. Prominent Canadian leaders such as Mayor Peter Robb attended the ceremony.

14. First Blood Crew And Cast Stuck Together During Filming

As Sylvester Stallone notes in one of the interviews, First Blood’s cast and crew members had a standing rule not to move 50 feet away from each other. This was because the area they were shooting in was full of trees, and everywhere looked the same; the rule was to prevent possible detachments.

15. Ryan Gosling Enjoyed Watching First Blood As a Kid

Ryan Gosling is a Canadian actor famous for Blade Runner (2017), Drive (2011), and La La Land (2016). Growing up, the widely successful filmmaker admits he was obsessed with watching First Blood. At some point, he brought steak knives to school and threw them at other students.

16. The Author Named the Character “Rambo” after an Apple

Today, the name Rambo is synonymous with Sylvester Stallone and is very popular in the film First Blood. Interestingly, the novel’s author, to which the film was adapted, named the character after a type of apple with distinctive flavor and aroma.

17. There Was a Tragic Accident in the First Blood Production

In real life, Cliff Wenger, Jr., an FX specialist working in First Blood’s production, tragically passed away following an accident. He was working on a stunt explosion, which, unfortunately, went off before the area was cleared, killing him instantly. First Blood’s sequel, First Blood Part II, was dedicated to Wenger in memoriam.

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Last Update: November 9, 2023