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First Blood (Rambo: First Blood) (1982)

tomatometer

87

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 38
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 5

A much darker, more sensitive film than the sequels it spawned, First Blood is a thrilling survival adventure, and the role of haunted Vietnam vet John Rambo takes full advantage of Sylvester Stallone's acting skills.

83

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 1

A much darker, more sensitive film than the sequels it spawned, First Blood is a thrilling survival adventure, and the role of haunted Vietnam vet John Rambo takes full advantage of Sylvester Stallone's acting skills.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 136,557

My Rating

Movie Info

First Blood is the Sylvester Stallone film that unleashed "Rambo" onto an unsuspecting world. Wandering into a small, hostile town, ex-Green Beret John Rambo (Stallone) is targeted for persecution and abuse by potbellied Sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy). When he can stand no more, Rambo goes bonkers, killing a deputy and heading into the surrounding hills, armed to the teeth. Only after Rambo has picked off practically every law enforcement officer within a radius of 50 miles do the local

Aug 29, 2000

Orion Pictures

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All Critics (38) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (5) | DVD (32)

The darker tone, somber subtext, and generally non-exploitative violence allow viewers to enjoy the film not only as an action/thriller but as something with a degree of intelligence and substance.

April 30, 2009 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This action film hangs on an interesting reversal, taking the crazed-killer-in-the-woods theme from Friday the 13th and turning it inside out-- the psychopath is now our hero, a maladjusted ex-Green Beret played by Sylvester Stallone.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Ted Kotcheff has all sorts of trouble with this mess, aside from credibility.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (13)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a Stallone vehicle this is sleek, slick and not unexciting, but crassly castrates the David Morrell novel on which it is based.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sylvester Stallone is one of the great physical actors in the movies, with a gift for throwing himself so fearlessly into an action scene that we can't understand why somebody doesn't really get hurt.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (2)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

First Blood is ragged and flashy; it ought to be a big success with audiences that value action for its own sake.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The character of John Rambo is so identified with Stallone that it's amusing to note how many actors were considered for the role, including Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.

September 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

a powerful, complex and captivating film that serves as a blockbuster action film and a serious drama

August 15, 2012 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

First and most popular Rambo; and yes, bloody.

December 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

As befits a story of internal conflict, Ted Kotcheff lays out the action in an adroit style derived from Anthony Mann

February 6, 2010 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

The entryway to the disturbed psychological headspace of a single man, one bent evermore on survival, instinct trumping all.

June 14, 2008 Full Review Source: UGO

...does get loonier as it goes along, yet for a while it's actually a mournful and sobering action-movie treatment of postwar stress.

May 13, 2008 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm
LarsenOnFilm

Now that's ballsy.

February 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Stranger Song
Stranger Song

One of the all time most kick ass movie.

January 29, 2008 | Comment (1)

...First Blood primarily comes off as a relatively tame survivalism flick...

January 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

An effective, if outlandish, picture that exists merely for its big-screen thrills.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The film is just too somber and preachy.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid | Comments (4)
Combustible Celluloid

The film that introduced John Rambo is a gripping survival adventure with an emotional ending that's downright moving. Jerry Goldsmith contributes an excellent musical score.

February 16, 2006 | Comment (1)
FulvueDrive-in.com

Stallone's dogged tale of survival seems so fresh you'd swear it was made last week . . . except for the sad truth that they don't make 'em like that anymore.

January 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

Rambo defeats the United States!!! The reason there shouldn't be sequels.

December 21, 2004
Greenwich Village Gazette

Audience Reviews for First Blood (Rambo: First Blood)

The most popular action movie of the decade, it's got a good story and a lot of exciting action. I highly recommend it.
February 15, 2013
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

Sylvester Stallone stars as John Rambo: a lonely, alienated, and troubled Vietnam vet just trying to move on with his life until he gets unlawfully provoked over a misunderstanding, and finds himself in a war against a sheriff's department and the national guard. The fight doesn't seem fair, mostly because Rambo is outnumbered, but all bets are off since he's a former Green Beret, and he's had a really hard time moving on with his life. Unlike the sequels, this one is (for the majority of the run time) more of a dramatic survival story and not a balls-out action film. I really loved the focus on stealth and guerrilla tactics over pure brute force. It's a great character study with focus on vet's rights, PTSD, and intolerance. It does get kinda preachy, but nevertheless is still very compelling and gripping.

Sylvester Stallone is wonderful. He shows off his action skills, and he's great as expected, but where things really shine is with the character and the acting. The action is a main part of who he is, but he's still a flawed and rounded character. Stallone really has to act here at times too, delivering what's still the most dramatic monologue of his career that actually sees him breakdown in tears. It's not often you see something like this, much less have it actually be really powerful and moving. Bravo. For supporters, we get a young David Caruso that's kinda fun to watch, but the main support that really holds the film up is with Brian Dennehy as the determined narrow minded sheriff and Richard Crenna as Rambo's mentor- perhaps the only one capable of bringing the senseless conflict to an end. Both are great, and this is some of their best work. You sort of sympathize with the sheriff a bit, but probably not as much as you should. The film really paints it as Rambo good, everyone else bad, and that's a shame that they didn't go for a bit more complexity or moral ambiguity in that area. Things fare better with Crenna's character, but he too could have been a tad more developed.

That's really my only major issue here: the film is a bit too one sided, and towards the end, things just kinda start crumbling. I get how Rambo said that if they kept pushing he'd really ramp it up, but when this all happens it just took me out of it all somewhat, and seemed a bit inconsistent. Fortunately things don't crap out too much, and the film does conclude pretty satisfactorily. It's just the lead up to the climax where it has its stumble.

The film is well shot, the locations are great, there's pretty strong direction, neat ideas, and, probably most effective next to the acting, we get Jerry Goldsmith's absolutely thrilling and brilliant score. I still get chills every time I hear the opening notes to the main theme. EVERY time.

Definitely check this one out.
November 28, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Taking a huge leap forward for Action/Adventure films, "Rambo: First Blood" get's the job for fans of the genre, and can even welcome newcomers. It may not be a perfect movie, but I absolutely loved it for what it was. As a former vet, John Rambo (Stallone) has escaped prison and is on the loose, fighting to stay alive. Throughout his fight we get glimpses of what happened to him during the war and the depth of his character becomes far more detailed than one might expect. I loved the action, the characters, and the story, but the script could have been a bit smarter. This film is on the verge of being perfect, but the dialogue kind of threw me off at points. I absolutely loved this movie, but there are a few moments where I wished more was going on. This film is very grounded, which is fantastic, but I think they use that technique to death. These filmmakers pumped out everything they had, and there is no room for a sequel, but damn, this is one hell of a ride!
June 24, 2012
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

    1. John Rambo: Yo!
    – Submitted by Jesse K (12 months ago)
    1. John Rambo: They drew first blood, not me.
    – Submitted by Rob M (16 months ago)
    1. John Rambo: Don't Push it. Don't push it, or I'll give you war you won't believe. Let it go. [menacingly] Let it go!
    – Submitted by Redwan A (18 months ago)
    1. Teasle: They found Rambo's body. As a matter of fact, it stole an army truck. Blew up a gas station the other side of town.
    2. Trautman: The kid is resiliant.
    – Submitted by Francis L (21 months ago)
    1. Teasle: Whatever possessed God in heaven to make a man like Rambo?
    2. Trautman: God didn't make Rambo. I made him!
    – Submitted by Francis L (21 months ago)
    1. Galt: [something] We were planning on going to vegas [can't really understand] go buy some chevy [really is that English?] and then Jimmy gets his legs ripped off and fuck *cries*
    – Submitted by Cornelius H (23 months ago)
View all quotes (17)

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Foreign Titles

  • First Blood (DE)
  • First Blood (UK)
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