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Orion's First Blood-The Violent, Dark, And Underwhelming Start to Rambo

This time he's fighting for his life.

First Blood is a 1982 action film directed by Ted Kotcheff, written by Buzz Feitshans and Mario Kassar, produced by Anabasis Investments, N.V., and distributed by Orion Pictures. The film was based on David Morrell's 1972 novel, First Blood. It stars Sylvester Stallone and Brian Dennehy. The film was not nominated for any Academy Awards. This is the first film in the Rambo series. It was followed by Rambo: First Blood Part II.

"They drew first blood. Not me." -John Rambo


Vietnam vet John Rambo returns to the small town in Washington to look for a friend, only to face police cruelty and get arrested for loitering. After escaping from the police station, Rambo goes into hiding in the mountains. The police chase after Rambo, and a one-man war breaks out between Rambo and the police.

Positive Aspects

The best thing about this movie, is, by far, the action. The action is super fun to watch. One of the best sequences in the film is when Rambo is disguised as a part of the woods and attacks the police officers one by one. That was one of the best parts of the film.

I also thought that, while the movie is a very 80's action movie, it has a lot of emotion near the end. The ending monologue that Rambo gives to Colonel Trautman is incredibly depressing and horrifying. Stallone gives that scene his all, and it really pays off.

The movie has a consistent tone throughout. The entire movie has a somber and gloomy vibe to it, and it resonates well with an audience. Some scenes are hard to watch, namely in the beginning, where the police laugh as they torture Rambo.

The final thing is the acting. I think that everybody gives a great performance in the film. Stallone, as mentioned before, gives it his all. He is quiet throughout, but obviously very deadly. Brian Dennehy is a complete jerk as Sheriff Teasle. He is horrible and he really makes you hate the character, which is a good thing as a villain. Richard Crenna is also great as Sam Trautman. You can never really tell whose side he's on, and that's partly because of the way that the story is written, and partly because of the way Crenna's performance is. He's a really great character.

Negative Aspects

The first thing is the use of Rambo in this film. He doesn't have a ton of lines or a ton of scenes. As the main character of the movie, he should really be more prominent throughout the film. It was kind of disappointing when I saw this movie and there was not a ton of Rambo in it.

The second thing is the plot. The plot is too simple for a movie. There aren't really any subplots, there's no layers to the plot, and it isn't really made for a full, feature-length Hollywood film. It made the movie feel slowly paced and boring at certain points. There are other movies that have simple plots that have worked, such as Die Hard, because they add extra layers and storylines on top of the simple main plot line, but that was not the case in First Blood.

The final thing is the characters. With Rambo not really talking and being absent from about half of the scenes, there aren't really any likable characters. Teasle is horrible and nobody likes him, but he's made to be that way. Trautman is sometimes likable and sometimes feels like he's siding with the bad guys. And while we are supposed to be rooting for Rambo, it feels hard to do, because you don't really know him. He doesn't have an established backstory or any personality traits in this film. I'm sure that they are established in the later films, but I am focusing on this film.

Final Score

This is an enjoyable enough movie, but it doesn't hit all the notes completely right. Despite fun action and good performances, the movie doesn't have likable characters, a great plot, or enough John Rambo.

I will give it a Sour rating. The age range is 14+.


Sweet (Great)

Savory (Good)

Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)

"First Blood"

Fun Factor: 7/10

Acting: 7.5/10

Characters: 6/10 Story: 5/10

Quality: 6.5/10


Amazon Prime Video: Available for rent

Apple TV+: Available for rent

Directed by Ted Kotcheff

Released on October 22, 1982

Rated R for strong bloody violence, language, disturbing themes, behavior and images

1 hour and 33 minutes

Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo

Brian Dennehy as Sheriff Will Teasle

Richard Crenna as Colonel Sam Trautman


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