|Created by||David Morrell|
|Original work||First Blood (1972)|
|Novel(s)||List of novels|
|Comics||List of comics|
|Films and television|
The films follow John Rambo, a US Army veteran played by Sylvester Stallone, whose experience fighting in the Vietnam War traumatized him but also gave him superior military skills, which he has used to fight corrupt police officers, enemy troops and drug cartels.
The film series has grossed $819 million in total, with the most successful film, Rambo: First Blood Part II, grossing $300 million.
Stallone co-wrote the screenplays of all five films, and directed Rambo.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Screenwriter(s)||Story by||Producer(s)|
|First Blood||October 22, 1982 (1982-10-22)||Ted Kotcheff||Michael Kozoll, William Sackheim and Sylvester Stallone||Buzz Feitshans|
|Rambo: First Blood Part II||May 22, 1985 (1985-05-22)||George P. Cosmatos||Sylvester Stallone and James Cameron||Kevin Jarre|
|Rambo III||May 25, 1988 (1988-05-25)||Peter MacDonald||Sylvester Stallone and Sheldon Lettich|
|Rambo||January 25, 2008 (2008-01-25)||Sylvester Stallone||Art Monterastelli and Sylvester Stallone||Avi Lerner, Kevin King Templeton and John Thompson|
|Rambo: Last Blood||September 20, 2019||Adrian Grunberg||Matthew Cirulnick and Sylvester Stallone||Dan Gordon and Sylvester Stallone||Avi Lerner, Kevin King Templeton, Yariv Lerner and Les Weldon|
First Blood (1982)
Main article: First Blood
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.
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 and believes such banishment to be a violation of his freedom of movement, and most of all he is hungry.
Rambo returns to town soon afterwards and is promptly charged with vagrancy and subject to harassment from the deputies.
The harassment triggers flashbacks of Rambo's 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.
Teasle allows Trautman to contact Rambo through a stolen police radio, but Rambo refuses to surrender, stating that "They (the deputies) drew first blood not me" and then hangs up.
The authorities reject Trautman's recommendation for a wait-and-see attitude and continue the manhunt, and Rambo's subsequent rampage culminates in him returning to town with guns and bombs from a commandeered Army truck.
This results 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 hard 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.
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Main article: Rambo: First Blood Part II
The film opens with Colonel Samuel Trautman (Richard Crenna) offering Rambo his freedom if Rambo will return to Vietnam to search for American prisoners of war remaining in Vietnamese captivity.
Marshall Murdock (Charles Napier), the official in charge of the mission, is portrayed as a corrupt political figure who doesn't want to expose the truth.
Rambo is not to engage the enemy and instead is ordered to take photographs of a North Vietnamese camp, the same camp he himself had been held prisoner in, to prove to the American public there are no more POWs in Vietnam, although Murdock knows that there are.
Rambo is flown into the country with the purpose of parachuting into the jungle, but a malfunction during his exit from the plane causes him to have to cut away much of his equipment.
He then meets his in-country contact, anti-communist Vietnamese rebel Co Bao (Julia Nickson), who is serving as an intelligence agent.
Rambo discovers that there are POWs being held in the camp where he was dropped and that POWs were rotated between camps.
Rambo breaks one POW out of the camp and attempts to escape, only to be abandoned at the moment of a pick up by helicopter on a hilltop on the orders of Murdock, after which both he and the POW are recaptured by the Vietnamese soldiers.
Rambo is immobilized in a pit of sewage and leeches, then tortured by Soviet soldiers, who are allied with the Vietnamese and training Vietnamese soldiers.
Co enters the base under the guise of a prostitute for hire, where she aids Rambo in escaping.
After Rambo expresses his deepest gratitude for his rescue, the two share a kiss, after Co implores him to take her back to America with him.
As they prepare to move on, Co is shot by surprise gunfire.
Enraged, Rambo then acts on his own initiative and starts a one-man war, hunting the Vietnamese and Soviet soldiers searching for him in the jungle and stealing a Soviet-captured helicopter.
He flies the helicopter back to the camp, destroying it and killing the remaining Vietnamese and Soviet soldiers in the camp.
He frees all the POWs and is pursued by a Soviet Mi-24 Hind helicopter.
After destroying the Hind with an RPG, he returns to the US base in Thailand with all the POWs.
Rambo is enraged at how the United States government has ignored the existence of surviving soldiers being held captive, and grabs an M-60 machine gun and proceeds into the headquarters building, destroying all of the electronic gear within.
Rambo then threatens Murdock and tells him to be forthright with the American public regarding the truth of the POWs and to spare no expense in rescuing them all, or else he will return for Murdock.
When Trautman says Rambo will be honored once again, he declines, saying the POWs deserve the accolades more.
For his actions in Vietnam, Rambo is granted a presidential pardon and decides to remain in Thailand.
Between the second and third films, Rambo takes up residence near a monastery where he engages in frequent meditation to find a sense of inner peace.
Although Rambo believes his soldiering days are apparently over, he does not become a complete pacifist, as he often participates in violent stick-fighting matches and donates his winnings to the monks to help renovate the monastery.
Rambo III (1988)
Main article: Rambo III
The film opens with Colonel Samuel Trautman (Richard Crenna) returning to Thailand to once again enlist Rambo's help.
After witnessing Rambo's victory in a stick-fighting match, Trautman visits the temple Rambo is helping to build and asks him to join him on a mission to Afghanistan.
Despite having been shown photos of civilians suffering under Soviet rule, Rambo refuses and Trautman chooses to go on his own.
While in Afghanistan, Trautman's troops are ambushed by Soviet troops while passing through the mountains at night.
Trautman is imprisoned in a Soviet base and tortured for information by commanding officer Zaysen (Marc de Jonge) and his henchman Kourov (Randy Raney).
Rambo learns of the incident from embassy field officer Robert Griggs (Kurtwood Smith) and immediately flies to Pakistan where he meets up with Mousa (Sasson Gabai), a weapons supplier who agrees to take him to a village deep in the Afghan desert, close to the Soviet base where Trautman is kept.
The Mujahideen in the village are already hesitant to help Rambo in the first place, but are convinced not to help him when their village is attacked by Soviet helicopters after one of Mousa's shop assistants informed the Russians of Rambo's presence.
Aided only by Mousa and a young boy named Hamid (Doudi Shoua), Rambo makes his way to the Soviet base and starts his attempts to free Trautman.
The first attempt is unsuccessful and results in Hamid getting shot in the leg, and Rambo himself getting hit by wooden shrapnel.
After escaping from the base, Rambo tends to Hamid's wounds and sends him and Mousa away to safety.
The next day, Rambo returns to the base once again, just in time to rescue Trautman from being tortured with a flamethrower.
After rescuing several other prisoners, Rambo steals a helicopter and escapes from the base.
The helicopter crashes and Rambo and Trautman are forced to continue on foot.
After a confrontation in a cave, where Rambo and Trautman kill several Russian soldiers including Kourov, they are confronted by an entire army of Russian tanks, headed by Zaysen.
Just as they are about to be overwhelmed by the might of the Soviet Army, the Mujahideen warriors, together with Mousa and Hamid, ride onto the battlefield in a cavalry charge, overwhelming the Russians despite their numerical and technological superiority.
In the ensuing battle, in which both Trautman and Rambo are wounded, Rambo manages to kill Zaysen by driving a tank into the helicopter in which Zaysen is flying.
At the end of the battle Rambo and Trautman say goodbye to their Mujahideen friends and leave Afghanistan to go home.
Between the third and fourth films, Rambo still lives in Thailand, making a meager living as a snake catcher and by providing boat rides.
Main article: Rambo (2008 film)
The film opens with news footage of the crisis in Burma.
Burma (also known as Myanmar) is under the iron fist rule of Than Shwe and takes harsher stances against the nation's pro-democracy movement.
Rebels are thrown into a mine-infested marsh and then gunned down by a Burmese army unit, overseen by Major Pa Tee Tint.
Former U.S. soldier John Rambo still lives in Thailand, now residing in a village near the Burmese border and makes a living capturing snakes and selling them in a nearby village.
Rambo initially refuses but is convinced by another missionary in the group, Sarah Miller (Julie Benz), to take them.
The boat is stopped by pirates who demand Sarah in exchange for passage.
After taking advantage of the pirates' complacency, Rambo kills them all.
Although his actions save the missionaries, it greatly disturbs them.
Upon arrival, Michael says that they will travel by road and will not need Rambo's help for the return trip.
The mission goes well until the Burmese army, led by Major Tint, attacks the village, killing most of the villagers and two missionaries, and capturing the rest.
When the missionaries fail to come back after ten days, their pastor, Arthur Marsh (Ken Howard), comes to Rambo to ask for his help in guiding hired mercenaries to the village where the missionaries were last seen.
Troubled by Sarah's potential fate, Rambo decides to accompany the soldiers.
After seeing the destroyed village filled with mutilated humans and animals, the mercenaries spot some soldiers forcing several surviving villagers to run through a minefield.
The mercenaries are hesitant to rescue the villagers, but not Rambo, who shoots the soldiers with a bow and arrow.
Rambo reminds his colleagues of the rescue mission and encourages the team to move on.
Hijacking a truck, they create a plan to save the hostages at the P.O.W.
camp, doing so within fifteen minutes to avoid alerting the army.
Rambo helps Sarah and the others to escape.
The Burmese Army (Tatmadaw) unit finds their hostages missing and organizes a massive manhunt.
Everyone except for Rambo, Sarah, and "School Boy" (Matthew Marsden), the mercenary team's sniper, is captured.
Just as the group is to be executed, Rambo hijacks a truck-mounted .50-caliber machine gun and engages the Burmese army.
A group of Karen rebels joins the fight to help Rambo and the mercenaries defeat the Burmese unit.
Seeing that the battle is lost, Major Tint decides to flee, only to run into Rambo's machete, which Rambo then uses to disembowel the Major.
Encouraged by Sarah's words, Rambo returns to the United States.
The last scene shows him walking along a rural highway, past a horse farm and a rusted mailbox with the name "R. Rambo" on it.
He makes his way down the gravel driveway as the credits roll.
Rambo: Last Blood (2019)
Main article: Rambo: Last Blood
Eleven years after the events in Burma, Vietnam War veteran John Rambo lives in Bowie, Arizona at his deceased father's horse ranch, which he manages with his old friend, Maria Beltran, and her granddaughter, Gabriela.
Gabriela tells Rambo that a friend of hers, Gizelle, has found Gabriela's biological father, Miguel, in Mexico.
Both Rambo and Maria tell her not to go to Mexico, but Gabriela secretly drives there to ask Miguel why he abandoned her and her mother years ago.
Gizelle leads Gabriela to Miguel's apartment, where he coldly tells her that he never really cared for Gabriela or her mother.
Gizelle takes a heartbroken Gabriela to a nearby club, where Gabriela is drugged and kidnapped by the enforcers of a Mexican cartel.
Meanwhile, Maria informs Rambo of Gabriela's disappearance in Mexico.
Rambo rushes to Mexico and interrogates both Miguel and Gizelle about Gabriela's whereabouts.
Gizelle reluctantly leads Rambo to the club where Gabriela was last seen and confronts El Flaco, the man who last spoke with Gabriela.
A mysterious woman, Carmen Delgado, tails Rambo as El Flaco leads him to Gabriela's location.
Rambo is immediately confronted, beaten and marked by the cartel, led by the brothers Hugo and Victor Martinez.
They take his driver's license with the location of Rambo's ranch and a photo of Gabriela, whom Victor recognizes.
The cartel vow to mistreat Gabriela further due to Rambo's actions.
Carmen takes Rambo back to her home where she cares for him until he fully recovers after four days.
While Rambo is cared for by Carmen, Gabriela is stripped and consistently dosed with heroin and sold to be raped repeatedly.
Carmen says she is an independent journalist who has been investigating the Martinez brothers, who kidnapped and murdered her sister.
Rambo later raids one of the brothels, killing several men until he finds a drugged Gabriela.
While driving back home in his pickup, Rambo thanks Gabriela for giving him hope for ten years but she dies from the forced overdose.
An enraged Rambo sends Maria away and rigs the ranch with traps for a confrontation, and later returns to Mexico to ask Carmen's help in finding Victor.
Carmen initially refuses and tells Rambo that it will solve nothing, but is convinced after he appeals to her grief and frustration.
Rambo raids Victor's home, killing several guards and decapitating Victor.
In retaliation, Hugo leads a large train of 7 SUVs filled with mercenaries to Rambo's ranch, but each eventually falls victim to Rambo's rigged traps.
Saving Hugo for the last, Rambo mutilates him and rips his heart out, killing him instantly.
In the aftermath, a weakened Rambo sits on the porch of his father's house, vowing to continue fighting and keep the memories of his loved ones alive.
During the credits, flashbacks to scenes from the first four movies in the franchise are shown, with Rambo finally saddling up his horse and riding off into the sunset.
During Cannes 2019, Stallone said he would continue portraying Rambo if the fifth film succeeds.
Grunberg, however, said that Rambo: Last Blood "closes the circle", hoping it would conclude the film series.
In September 2019, Stallone confirmed that he has plans for a prequel to the series; although he would not reprise the title role, he would like to explore who Rambo was before the war:
Stallone has expressed interest in having Rambo take refuge in an Indian reservation for the sixth Rambo film.
In June 2020, Stallone briefly elaborated on the idea, stating, "If I ever did another one, I think he would go back to the Indian reservation that he grew up on because he has Indian family."
Cast and crew
Main article: List of Rambo characters
Box office performance
|Film||U.S. release date||Budget||Box office revenue|
|First Blood||October 22, 1982||$15 million||$47,212,904||$78,000,000||$125,212,904|
|Rambo: First Blood Part II||May 22, 1985||$25 million||$150,415,432||$149,985,000||$300,400,432|
|Rambo III||May 25, 1988||$63 million||$53,715,611||$135,300,000||$189,015,611|
|Rambo||January 25, 2008||$50 million||$42,754,105||$70,490,185||$113,244,290|
|Rambo: Last Blood||September 20, 2019||$50 million||$44,819,352||$46,671,001||$178,840,376|
Critical and public response
|First Blood||85% (46 reviews)||61 (15 reviews)||N/A|
|Rambo: First Blood Part II||36% (42 reviews)||47 (15 reviews)||N/A|
|Rambo III||37% (35 reviews)||36 (15 reviews)||B+|
|Rambo||38% (152 reviews)||46 (26 reviews)||A−|
|Rambo: Last Blood||26% (170 reviews)||26 (31 reviews)||B|
All five existing films in the Rambo franchise are available from Lionsgate by virtue of the studio's output deal with StudioCanal (the company that currently holds the underlying rights to the first three films) and Lionsgate itself co-producing the latter film (in partnership with The Weinstein Company).
Paramount Pictures (via Trifecta Entertainment and Media) holds the television rights to the first three films, while Debmar-Mercury handles television distribution for the latter film on behalf of parent company Lionsgate.
|Rambo Collector's Pack||DVD||July 24, 2001||First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III||TBA|
|Rambo: The Complete Collector's Set||DVD, Blu-ray||July 27, 2010||First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, Rambo||TBA|
|Ultimate Rambo Collection||Blu-ray||October 28, 2013||First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, Rambo||TBA|
|Rambo Classic Trilogy Collection||DVD||January 1, 2014||First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III||TBA|
|Rambo: Trilogy – The Ultimate Edition||Blu-ray||September 28, 2015||First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III||TBA|
|Rambo Complete Collection||DVD||March 1, 2016||First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, Rambo||TBA|
|Rambo: Trilogy||DVD, Blu-ray||November 15, 2018||First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III||TBA|
|Rambo: 5-Film Collection||Blu-ray||February 11, 2020||First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, Rambo, Rambo: Last Blood||TBA|
- Syndicate Sadists, a Poliziotteschi film that predates First Blood
- Wild Blood, a Turkish copy film of First Blood
- Thunder Warrior, an Italian film influenced by First Blood
- Missing in Action, an American film inspired in Rambo: First Blood Part II
- Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, an American film
- Rampage, a Turkish copy film of Rambo: First Blood Part II
- The Intruder, an Indonesian action film inspired by First Blood
- Strike Commando, an Italian film influenced by Rambo: First Blood Part II
- Braddock: Missing in Action III, an American film
- Strike Commando 2, an Italian film influenced by Rambo: First Blood Part II
- Gremlins 2: The New Batch, an American parody film of Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo III
- Hot Shots! Part Deux, an American parody film of Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo III with colonel role reprised by Richard Crenna
- When Eagles Strike, a Philippines film influenced by Rambo: First Blood Part II
- Son of Rambow, a British comedy film inspired by First Blood
- Second Blood, a Kuwaiti action film inspired by Rambo: First Blood Part II
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambo (franchise).