It's easy to forget that this Spartan, violent film, which begat the Rambo series, was such a big hit in 1982 because it was a good movie. Green Beret vet John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) wanders into the wrong small town t... more »o find a fellow 'Nam buddy and gets the living heck kicked out of him by the local law enforcement (led by Brian Dennehy). The vet strikes back the only way he knows how, leading to a visceral, if unrealistic, flight and fight through the local mountains. Based on the 1972 novel by David Morrell, this film saved Stallone's then-foundering career and the Rambo character became the inspiration for countless political cartoons. But this film is Deliverance without the moral ambiguity. --Keith Simanton« less
Watch the Movie-Then Go to Film School With David Morrell!
William T. Parnell | Sherman, NY USA | 08/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The latest DVD version of the classic Stallone action flick provides several supplemental features, the most notable being the outstanding commentary by David Morrell who wrote the novel the film is based on. More on that in a moment.
First Blood is about a Vietnam vet named John Rambo who comes to a small Washington state town (actually British Columbia) to find the last surviving comrade from his elite Green Beret unit. When he discovers that he too is dead, Rambo makes his way into town for a bite to eat and instead winds up being arrested by the hick local sheriff (Brian Dennehy). While in custody, Rambo is abused by the locals but manages to escape sparking an all out manhunt.
This film has 55 minutes of action out of 96 total highlighted by the jail escape and subsequent chase. Jack Starrett is great as the cop that does most of the abusing while Davis Caruso is fine as the only deputy (among the surprisingly large local force) that seems to have a conscience. Dennehy is good as always and makes a worthy opponent for Rambo. Richard Crenna is great as Rambo's former CO and he and Dennehy play off one another quite well. Even though he has limited speaking parts, this is probably one of Stallone's best performances highlighted by the "Vietnam speech" near the end of the film.
The film is presented in digitally remastered widescreen 16:9, and is without a doubt the best video presentation of First Blood to date. The movie was shot in the temperate rain forest of BC and is quite dark at times. However, the darkest scenes have been enhanced here and are much improved over the various VHS versions some of which are terrible. Sound is Dolby 2.0 only but not bad considering. Also included are a cute trivia game (get all 10 right without a mistake to see a Rambo cartoon), production notes, and a teaser and trailer. The "featurette" is nothing more than a glorified trailer.
Now on to the best feature of this DVD, one that is worth the price of admission all by itself. If you are at all interested in how films are made and the behind the scenes tidbits about Hollywood, then RUN do not walk (or let your fingers do the walking online) to your local video store and get this disc. Why? For the outstanding commentary of writer David Morrell. This talented man begins to speak before the opening credits and does not stop for 96 minutes. When he does you will wish he could have continued for 96 more. You will find yourself listening again and again and picking up something new each time. This is without a doubt far and away the best commentary on any DVD.
Here is just a partial list of the things Morrell covers:
1. The many differences between his novel and the film-very fascinating stuff. 2. His experience when seeing First Blood the very first time. 3. The three act structure of films. 4. How he chose the name Rambo and other character names. 5. How First Blood set a number of precedents for the industry. 6. Why films were kept to 90 minutes in length for so long a time. 7. A touching story about his son and Stallone. 8. The story of how Kirk Douglas was scheduled to play Troutman and why Richard Crenna ended up with the role.
And that is only scratching the surface.
In conclusion, First Blood was a precedent setting film featuring top-flight actors and some of the best believable screen action. The wonderful commentary of David Morrell caps off a great experience.
This review was first written in 2001. There are now several DVD versions of the film available. Check the special features carefully as the David Morrell commentary DOES NOT appear on all. It IS NOT included on the latest "Ultimate Edition" DVD. There is a commentary by Stallone instead as well as some other new features. I prefer the "Special Edition" version but you may want both if you are a fan. "
Groundbreaking Treatment for a Groundbreaking Film
Edward Lee | 05/31/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In an age of cinema largely ruled by computer generated wizardry, FIRST BLOOD is a welcome throwback to an area where technologically created villains didn't yet exist.In the simplest version of a story ever told, boy (John Rambo) meets boy (Wilford Teasle), boy (Teasle) hates boy (Rambo), and testosterone breaks out all over the place. After refusing to be run out of town, John Rambo is roughed up by several redneck police officers in the Pacific Northwest (what are they doing with rednecks?). Before you can say "pass the ammo," this former Special Forces Green Beret is enduring a flashback to his glory days in Vietnam, and the town will never be the same ... literally.On board are Sylvester Stallone (back in the days when he was a 'serious' actor), the incomparable Brian Dennehy (who's starting to appear as regularly as Michael Caine in films), and Richard Crenna. Also, as a guilty pleasure, look for the youthful redheaded cop who's none other than David Caruso in his pre-NYPD BLUE days.What works best about FIRST BLOOD is the tension-filled story of unrelenting action; once this film reaches a fever pitch, it truly never lets up. As the producers discuss in the documentary accompanying the film, FIRST BLOOD really set the standard for all other action films to follow. Upon this most recent viewing, the influence of this franchise on other similar outings is readily apparent.A dynamic presentation, the Dolby 5.1 sound leaves a bit to be desired (as does the DTS). However, the commentary track (featuring best-selling FIRST BLOOD author David Morrell) is a fabulous exploration of the book-to-screen cycle so prevalent in Hollywood, sprinkled with tidbits about the movie-making process, actors originally attacked to the roles of Rambo and his mentor (Colonel Samuel Trautman), and (believe it or not) the use of iconographic and mythological symbols in the telling of the first (and best) of the Rambo tales.The extras here (a new documentary, production notes, etc.) are fairly standard fare, but the preservation of the film is worth the price of at least the first installment of this popular feature film franchise."
Ramboned - Great Film, Lame "Lions Gate" DVD Release
the-gr8shag | 11/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""You trained me. You made me. You kill me." - Rambo goes off the deep-end in the original ending to "First Blood"
I will always give four stars to "First Blood" (hence, the 4 star rating above), but with this third DVD release of the film from "Lions Gate Home Video", die-hard fans should only pick this up for the so called legendary & "lost" original ending (it didn't show up on the "Special Edition" because the footage couldn't be located in time)& thats after if you can't find the footage to download from the internet or some other source.
I got an advanced copy of "First Blood" Ultimate Edition this week (the streetdate is 11/23/04), & was psyched to see what was in store on this DVD. But, after watching all the special features I couldn't help but feel like I had opened a huge Christmas Gift & finding only a flaming paper bag of dog crap to put out.
The film itself is identical to the "S.E." version with "First Blood" in the widescreen format with 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 surround. The audio commentary by Sylvester Stallone is new & informative (where the hell was he for the "Special Edition" ?!?).
The deleted scenes are what fans have always been clamoring for & the original ending hasn't been shown to audiences since the film's preview screenings in mid '82. The original ending was a bit weird to watch & a bit off with the film itself. Here is a marine who went through 2 tours of Vietnam, a P.O.W., and just beat the crap out of "Jerkwater, USA" only to commit suicide at the unwilling hands of his Colonel. Huh?! Decades ago I read the David Morrell novel of the same name and I always thought, & I could be mistaken, that Rambo gave Trautman an ultimatum - kill or be killed. If Trautman didn't kill Rambo first, than Rambo would attack Trautman, leaving the Colonel with the only alternative but to kill Rambo.
The other deleted scene has to do with a flashback sequence Rambo has while eating his boar meat in the cave. the scene is simple enough, in Saigon, Rambo picks up an Asian hooker & makes love to her (Suzee Pai, who was Miao Yin, the girl with the green eyes, in the Kurt Russell film "Big Trouble In Little China", plays the hooker). The scene was cut becuase it slowed the movie down to a crawl and killed the pacing of the film (at the end of this scene Stallone is shown crying and I couldn't help but wonder if his character is having a breakdown or if Stallone is crying because he just watched one of the most embarassing moments of his career).
The last deleted scene is a blooper take of the original ending, with Rambo telling Trautman to shoot him & after a long pause, with the take botched, Rambo says, "Thanks a million.", with Trautman shrugging his shoulders & replying, "O.K." (its worth the chuckle).
As for the rest of the DVD, I wasn't impressed at all. Its a barebones affair with no trailers, or documentaries at all ("Special Edition", anyone?). The "Survival Mode" feature sucks & was, actually, quite annoying. The briefing & tracking location features were lame and the other survival features could have been used as a trivia track that could run at the bottom of the screen while watching the film. The menus aren't interactive and look as if they were put together rather quickly. Pre-schoolers could have done a better job.
Ultimately the decision on whether to own this is up to you, the viewer.
Is this the final DVD release of "First Blood"?
Just remember what Rambo said near the end of the film.
"Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don't turn it off!"
You tell'em John J."
THE MAN SAID CLEAN HIM UP ummmmmph!!! CLEAN EM UP
CLINT BRONSON | las vegas,NV. | 03/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was fortunate to see this on the big screen and have to say it is not only one of my fav.Stallone films but one of my fav.films for all time. We all know the story of Rambo so I just want to point out why this film is so classic. The script and music are superb and even the supporting actors have great lines(BUT WILL!! I HAVE TO BE AT THE DRUG STORE TOMORROW MORNING) Stallone has oh I'd say 30 lines of dialog in the whole movie and yet it is one of his best. Action stars like Stallone don't need dialog they just need to kick butt and that is what this movie does.
RAMBO:Is there someplace to eat around here? WILL:There is a diner 15 miles down the road. RAMBO:Is there something wrong with me eating here? WILL:Yeah me. RAMBO:Why you pushing me? WILL:--"WHAT?!" RAMBO:Why you pushing me I did nothing to you.
DEPUTY:Rambo...John J. Your going to talk to me. I SWEAR TO GOD YOUR GOING TO TALK TO ME SOLDIER! I'm beginning to dislike you(puts billy club underneath Rambo's chin) A LOT!!!
WILL:This guy comes walking in with all this good advice about how we can save our skins. Well we saved our skins colonel and the best man lost..AND HE DOESN'T LIKE IT!!!
WILL:C'mon Steve put the magazine away will ya.
EVERYONE IN WOODS: WIIIIIIILLL OH! GOD WIIIIIILL!!!!!!!!!"
Clean version of a good movie.
casualsuede | San Diego, CA USA | 08/07/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"John Rambo doesn't have much to say. He's just a wanderer who entered a small town where they don't like Drifters much. In many movies Brian Dennehy would be the typical badguy. He would be sort of like the fascist Donald Sutherland "warden" character in that Stallone prison film "Lock down". But he's not. In fact many people would probably tell him that he's doing a good job, keeping the vagrants out in a professional manner.However, John Rambo is not the usual bum. He has flashbacks and can't tell the difference between Vietnamese Captains and Chris Mulkey. Sylvester Stallone has a great physical presense in this movie. You believe that he is a hardened Green Beret who can go through 10 cops without breaking a sweat. And his "escape" is well handled as well, with the magnificient West coast forests providing great scenery.The movie gets the message across that there are no good guys and no bad guys, just victims. John Rambo is a victim of the US Government who trained him to be a killing machine then abandons him, leaving him with nightmares and a body full of scars and signs of Agent Orange. That and the fact he can't get a job and his fellow American hates the "Child murderers" of Vietnam.And the police are victims as well, having to capture/kill this unstable killing machine. The DVD is a clean copy and it has a difficult job. It has to high light the mistiness of the Oregon forrest, as well as provide good contrast between the background and foreground. While other discs do a better job (ie. Last of the Mohicans), this is a acceptable transfer. The sound is good as well. However it is unfortunate that they left the last song to go to Sly's brother Frank. He stinks as a singer and actor...Rating: C+"