Arts & Entertainment

‘Nothing is over!’ — The enduring legacy of that one scene in ‘First Blood’

The iconic scene leaves behind a complicated legacy that remains relevant to this day.

The first time movie-goers saw Sylvester Stallone in his iconic role was October 1982, when director Ted Kotcheff’s First Blood blasted its way onto the big screen. Rambo is often the first character that comes to mind when someone says ’80s action hero: All rippling abs, sparse dialogue, and outrageous hip-fire accuracy with a belt-fed light machine gun. He is, for all intents and purposes, a caricature, a cartoonish superhuman warrior designed to kick ass and take names.

But the John Rambo of First Blood is a far cry from the plethora of emotionless and shredded heroes in the action flicks of that era. In fact, he’s wildly different from the increasingly bulgy-muscled Rambos who appear in the franchise’s sequels. The John Rambo in First Blood is — in brief moments and during very specific scenes — relatable, believable, and real. That is especially true during the film’s climactic ending:

Based on a 1972 novel of the same name by David Morrell, First Blood follows Rambo, a decorated Special Forces veteran who served in Vietnam and survived capture as a prisoner of war. The film picks up with Rambo back in the states, seeking out his old war buddies only to find most have moved on or passed away.

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