A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Rambo was rewritten (for Stallone specifications) from the book's pitiless, murdering character to someone who never intentionally kills, but casualities and wounded still result from his actions. His commanding officer, Trautman, seems to be the voice of reason and the only person who understands Rambo. Authority figures of small-town sheriff and his men are irredeemable bullies who pretty much dictate the fatal flow of events. Movie addresses lack of respect for and the mental/physical treatment of Vietnam veterans upon returning home.
Positive Role Models
No real positive role models. In hindsight, Rambo clearly suffers from PTSD and carries with him emotional scars to match the physical scars across his chest and back, which leads to him fighting back against the bullying police officers and taking to the nearby woods.
Violence & Scariness
Rambo is tortured with knives in Vietnam flashbacks, brutalized by cops in modern-day America. Plenty of beatdowns, shoot-outs, spearings on Viet Cong-style death traps, and a memorable scene in which Rambo stitches up his own arm wound. One of Rambo's traps kills a bloodhound (off-screen). Rambo never directly kills anyone here (except an animal he hunts for food); he just wounds and maims. Police officer dies from falling out of a helicopter; his dead body is shown sprawled over the rocks below. Explosions, especially when Rambo comes out of woods and back to small town.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Non-erotic, bare-butt shot of Rambo hosed down by police.
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Profanity often used. "F--k" said a few times. "S--t," "horses--t," "a--holes," "ass," "bitch," "goddammit."
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Products & Purchases
A mention of Soldier of Fortune magazine. Billboards for Coca-Cola, Kool Lights cigarettes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social saloon drinking and smoking. Sheriff uses chewing tobacco. Talk of reporters drinking in the local bars. Cigar smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that First Blood is the 1982 classic action movie in which Sylvester Stallone plays a Green Beret Vietnam veteran who fights back against a bullying small-town police force. This is the first of the Rambo franchise, and while it's not as violent as the sequels, the movie nonetheless has its fair share of violent and bloody moments. While Rambo doesn't directly kill anyone, many of the police officers are injured and maimed by the booby traps Rambo sets up in the woods, including spikes to the chest. One of the officers falls to his death out of a helicopter; his dead body is shown sprawled across the rocks below. Rambo suffers brief flashbacks showing his torture and imprisonment at the hands of the Viet Cong. A cop beats Rambo with a billy club. Violent explosions occur, especially when Rambo reemerges from the woods and reenters the small town. Some profanity includes "f--k" used several times. Brief, nonsexual male nudity (buttocks) is seen when Rambo is being hosed down by the bullying cops. The sheriff uses chewing tobacco; other characters drink and smoke cigars. Now, years after its release, it's clear that the movie addresses PTSD in veterans, as well as the emotional scars they carry upon returning home, especially if the public treats them with contempt or indifference. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This '80s classic is a crude but often effective actioner. Even if its worthwhile themes about the country's treatment of its soldiers kind of get lost in the fiery mayhem and the now-classic pose of the Rocky leading man brandishing enormous rifles and bandoliers.
The problem-plagued production shot alternate endings, one in which Rambo died, another in which he didn't. Audience reaction to First Blood made the filmmakers take the softer option -- and made the producers very wealthy when the film and its sequels became a hit. At least Rambo got to deliver a powerful climactic monologue (the only time he speaks at length) that puts into words the vet's feelings of anger and betrayal. And that reminds us that Stallone could be a fine actor, when not caricaturing himself.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.