first blood

Rambo: First Blood Part II

Rambo: First Blood Part II, released on May 22, 1985, is the second movie in the Rambo series, starring Sylvester Stallone as Vietnam veteran John Rambo. Picking up where the first film left, this sequel sees Rambo released from prison by Federal order to document the possible existence of POWs in Vietnam, under the belief that he will find nothing, thus enabling the government to sweep the issue under the rug.

The movie, which had a then-enormous budget of $44 million, became a huge box-office success. Earning just over $150 million in North America and just under that amount in the rest of the world, it was the second most successful movie of 1985 in North America, behind Back to the Future and just ahead of Rocky IV, giving Stallone two of three top grossing movies of that year. This film captured the attention of President Ronald Reagan and he lauded Stallone for portraying Rambo as a symbol of the U.S. Army.

The movie was criticized for being a mindless action film and it was selected as Worst Picture at the 1985 Golden Raspberry Awards. It also topped the categories Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone), Worst Screenplay (by Sylvester Stallone and James Cameron) and Worst "Original" Song ("Peace in Our Life").

Rambo: First Blood Part II was ghost-directed by George P. Cosmatos, who later directed the movie Cobra with Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen. It was later revealed that Stallone had most of the directorial control on Rambo.

Rambo: First Blood Part II follows First Blood and was followed by Rambo III in 1988 and Rambo in 2008.


Rambo is released from prison after the events of the first film, and is flown to a staging area in Thailand, and is given clemency due to his agreement to go into Vietnam and search for American POWs. Rambo, with the assistance of a local woman, Co Bao, finds American POWs in Vietnam and tries to escape with one of them.

However, during the extraction, Marshall Murdock, a square-jawed bureaucrat in charge of the operation, orders that Rambo be abandoned, and all documentation of POWs be destroyed, much to Colonel Trautman's dismay. Trautman criticizes Murdock for abandoning Rambo and the POWs, but Murdock ignores him. Rambo is taken into captivity by soldiers from the Vietnamese army, and is tortured by Soviet military personnel led by the sadistic Lt. Col. Podovsky. With the help of Co (who is later killed), Rambo escapes, annihilates the Vietnamese and Soviet forces pursuing him, and attempts to fly back to Thailand with the POWs, only to be blocked by Podovsky's massive Soviet Attack Helicopter. Although Podovsky inflicts much damage on Rambo's helicopter, Rambo destroys the Attack Helicopter with a rocket launcher, killing the Soviet Lt. Col.

Rambo flies back to Thailand successfully, much to Murdock's dismay. An angry Rambo marches dramatically into Murdock's command center and proceeds to shoot most of it down with a machine gun, while Trautman watches passively. He then unsheathes his survival knife and advances on Murdock and threatens him to find the remaining POWs, or he will find him. In the end, Rambo tells Trautman that he'd die for his country and that he (and other veterans) deeply wants his country to love him as much as he loves it. As he walks away into the unknown, Trautman asks, "How will you live?". Rambo responds, "Day by day".

Cultural impact

Many things from Rambo: First Blood Part II (and the Rambo series in general) inspired parts of the Metal Gear Solid series. For instance, the scene where Rambo parachutes into the jungle and in the process loses his weapons and gear is similar to the beginning of Metal Gear Solid 3. Rambo also confronts Russians in a jungle where he was sent in by himself on a secret mission ala MGS3. Rambo is tortured with electricity and will not submit; a scene depicted in Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 3. The MSX portrait of Colonel Roy Campbell from Metal Gear 2 was based on Col. Samuel Trautman from the Rambo movies as well. Music from Metal Gear 2 is also similar to the music from the film, including one track that sounds nearly identical to the movie's score. According to Hideo Kojima, the creator of the MGS series, the two greatest influences for the main character of Solid Snake are Rambo and Snake Plissken from Escape from New York.

In addition, Flippy, a green beret war veteran from Happy Tree Friends, contains several references to Rambo in his character.

In the Italian horror movie Demons III: The Ogre, Tom and Bobby get lost in a forest close to the castle they rented for their summer vacation. Tom calls Bobby "Rambo Junior" when he maintains they are not lost.

In the opening scene of the film Gremlins 2, Gizmo sees a brief scene on a TV set from First Blood Part II and hears Rambo says "To survive a war, you got to become war." This sticks with Gizmo throughout the film when he has been abused one too many times by the Gremlins and starts learning how to fight back, forging a weapon similar to Rambo's grenade bow and arrow with common office supplies and fashioning himself a headband similar to what Rambo wore.

Parts of the film were lampooned in the films Hot Shots! Part Deux, Hollywood Shuffle and UHF.

Many sounds from the movie were used by the band with the similar name, first blood.


  • During the early 1980s James Cameron worked on three screenplays simultaneously: The Terminator, Aliens and the first draft of Rambo: First Blood Part II. While Cameron would continue with The Terminator and with Aliens, Sylvester Stallone eventually took over the script of Rambo: First Blood Part II, creating a final draft which differed radically from Cameron's initial version. Cameron has said that he wrote the action and Stallone wrote the politics.
  • The producers of the movie considered that Rambo would have a partner in the rescue mission of POWs. The producers allegedly wanted John Travolta to play Rambo's partner, but Stallone vetoed the idea.
  • Rambo kills no fewer than 61 people during the running time of the film (not to mention the untold loss of life in the village and prison camp, which are both destroyed by Rambo during the course of the movie). According to the script, Rambo had 59 confirmed kills before being sent on the mission.
  • The only film in the series to ever get nominated for an Academy Award.
  • A novelization was written by David Morrell, author of the novel First Blood, on which the first Rambo film was based.
  • There was a ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 game of the same name, based upon the movie. There was also an NES as well as Sega Master System, and MSX and DOS games based on the film.
  • The movie is mentioned in the Rage Against the Machine song "No Shelter" in the lyric "And Rambo II, he got a dope pair of Nikes on".


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