John James Rambo
John James Rambo
Weapon of Choice
Former Green Beret, mercenary, stick fighter, handyman, riverboat captain, snake catcher, Horse Farmer
Keep those close to him safe, live a quiet life (succeeded but later failed)
Justice, who he is, protection for friends
Too many parameters
- "You know what you are. What you're made of. War is in your blood. Don't fight it. You didn't kill for your country. You killed for yourself. God's never gonna make that go away. When you're pushed, killing's as easy as breathing."
- ―John Rambo [src]
John Rambo is the main protagonist of the Rambo film series and David Morell's novel First Blood. A former Vietnam veteran and highly skilled Green Beret, Rambo returned from the war as a decorated, but disturbed hero. He is filled with self-loathing and hates killing, but is willing to use his skills to protect those close to him. This is the general plot line of the three First Blood sequels. The main character of the series, Rambo appears in all the films. The only character to come close to this is Sam Trautman, his mentor and commander in Vietnam.
Although Rambo appears to be a butch action stereotype, the character of John Rambo is actually a broken and emotional man. He has witnessed all of his friends die, was not loved as a child, faced unbearable terrors in Vietnam, returned to a country that rejected him, then was seduced back into combat where he killed hundreds more people before finally being left alone and miserable, unable to forgive himself for what he has done. At one point, Rambo stated that he had wasted his life fighting for things he thought he believed in. By the end of the series, Rambo hates himself and has lost his faith in humanity, God and the concept that things will get better for the world, due in no small part because of the horrors of war he experienced. Rambo did get better at the end of the series when he returned home, but he is no doubt plagued by nightmares from his post-traumatic stress disorder. The character has more emotional depth than most people would think based on what popular culture has depicted Rambo as, and Sylvester Stallone's performance has been widely acclaimed. The character was nominated for American Film Institute's list 100 Years… 100 Heroes and Villains.
Rambo's covert missions behind enemy lines were also quite accurate to real Vietnamese War tactics. The way the character fights, is in some details (such as weapons and modus operandi) based on soldiers that fought anti-guerrilla warfare during the Vietnam war (more information about Rambo and history here)
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personality
- 3 Skills and Abilities
- 4 Appearance and Attire
- 5 Quotes
- 6 In Popular Culture
- 7 Trivia
Biography[edit | edit source]
Background[edit | edit source]
David Morrell says that in choosing the name Rambo he was inspired by "the sound of force" in the name of Rambo apples, which he encountered in Pennsylvania. These apples, in turn, were named for Peter Gunnarsson Rambo who sailed from Sweden to New Sweden (SE Pennsylvania/Southern NJ/Northern Delaware) in the 1640s, and soon the name would flourish in New Sweden. The name Rambo was likely derived from a shortened form of "Ramberget" (a hill on the Hisingen island near Gothenburg, where Peter Gunnarsson was born) plus "bo" (meaning "resident of"). Today, many of his descendants can still be found in this region of the US. Morrell felt that its pronunciation was similar to the surname of Arthur Rimbaud, the title of whose most famous work "A Season in Hell", seemed to him "an apt metaphor for the prisoner-of-war experiences that I imagined Rambo suffering". Furthermore, an Arthur J. Rambo was an actual U.S. soldier in Vietnam, but he never returned. His name can be seen on the Vietnam War Memorial wall in Washington, DC. By sheer coincidence, the Japanese word "rambō" (乱暴) means "violent" or "rough." He was granted the first name "John" as a reference to the song "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again".
In his commentary for First Blood, author David Morrell cites the primary personality inspiration for John Rambo as being World War II hero and later Hollywood actor, Audie Murphy. Rambo's last stand in the finale of the fourth film is very similar to how Murphy won the Congressional Medal of Honor, manning a vehicle-mounted .50 caliber machine gun and singlehandedly holding off hundreds of enemy soldiers, saving his platoon.
Early Life[edit | edit source]
In the novels, John Rambo was born on December 4th, 1947 to Helga and Reevis Rambo in Kingman, Arizona. It is revealed by Marshall Murdock after reading his file in Rambo: First Blood Part II that he was born on July 6th, 1947 and is from Bowie, Arizona. In director's cut of Rambo, John calls it a "small place", saying that he mainly worked horses at his father's ranch during his time in Bowie. His father's ranch is finally seen for the first time at the end of the film. He is of Navajo American Indian, Italian and German descent. His family was poor, often unable to buy food, and his mother died when he was young. As a young man, his childhood life was rough and violent. His father was an abusive alcoholic and John spent his childhood learning from the Navajo tribal elders on the reservation about how to efficiently use the traditional Navajo weapon: the bow and arrow. He also learned how to fight. However, one night when John was older, his father tried to kill him with a knife. Rambo ran away that night, but not before shooting his father with a bow and arrow, nearly killing him. Rambo decided that the best way to get away from his problems was to leave for the Vietnam War, for which he had been drafted.
Military Service[edit | edit source]
Rambo graduated from Rangeford High School in 1965, and was drafted into the United States Army at the age of 18 on January 2, 1966. His indoc was as a Private First Class at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Rambo earned his Airborne Ranger Wings in May of 1966. He was deployed to South Vietnam in September of 1966 with the 101st Airborne, which he would complete two tours of duty with. He returned to the U.S. in December 1967 and began training in the Special Forces at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he was trained with a plethora of skills, including learning how to speak "multiple" Southeast Asian languages such as Vietnamese (possibly Thai, Burmese, Chinese, Lao, and Khmer), to operate advanced static and firearm weaponry including tanks and helicopters, guerrilla warfare, demolitions, paratrooping, marksmanship and survival skills. Rambo would go on to receive extensive survival and combat training, later becoming a Green Beret in September of 1969. In late 1969, Rambo was re-deployed to South Vietnam where he served in the Baker Team, a Special Forces unit consisting of eight men; himself, Delmar Barry, Joseph Danforth, Ortega, Messner, Krackhauer, Colletta, and Jorgenson. After a long term of classified deep cover service in South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, John returned to the United States for training in S.O.G. Then he began serving in North Vietnam and Cambodia in a reconnaissance and demolitions unit working with the MACV-SOG.
During his three year tour of duty in Vietnam, Rambo had 59 confirmed kills, going on to be decorated with two Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, four Purple Hearts, the Distinguished Service Cross and the Congressional Medal of Honor. Due to the vague and largely unspecified nature of Rambo's enlistment, his rank or unit has never been exactly specified in the films or novels, but based on his Class Alpha uniform as seen in the "Rambo Prepares Knife" deleted scene from Rambo III, we can see that Rambo wore both American and South Vietnamese medals. Trautman's hat specifies that he is with the Fifth Special Forces, and so was Rambo. His rank is a little more mysterious, but he has the cross-arrows of a Special Forces Officer on his dress uniform (and not the "US" pin worn by enlisted personnel), since this is the specialty insignia for MOS:18A, he was probably an officer. Him also being a pilot further proves this theory. Since Trautman was a Colonel and was Rambo's superior (also due to him not being in long enough to reach full-bird colonel status), he was likely a 1st Lieutenant or a Captain. He couldn’t go above the O-3 pay grade since he was never old enough to be a senior officer. Since Officers typically have a Bachelor's Degree or a higher degree of education, Rambo likely became a Sergeant or Staff Sergeant as a regular enlisted SF soldier, and eventually was awarded a Battlefield Commission due to his exemplary performance in the many covert missions he participated in, especially if he has taken up duties as an SF Team Leader and excelled in such a position. We know this is the most likely option since Rambo acted on his draft right out of high school and enlisted in the regular Army as an NCO before somewhere in-between his nine years of service, becoming a low-rank officer.
On November 4, 1971, Rambo joined a guerrilla mission behind enemy lines, where his unit was ambushed and Rambo was shot in the leg and captured by the Viet Cong, later being taken to a POW camp near the Chinese-Vietnamese border. At the prison camp, Rambo was tortured with a knife and kept in a ten-foot hole where excrement was often thrown on him, but he never revealed any information to his captors, even as he watched his remaining friends from Baker Team be slowly tortured to death. As a prisoner, Rambo was required to do heavy labor and was deprived of sleep and food. On May 14, 1972, Rambo intentionally gave himself dysentery, and his guard left him alone to go get help when Rambo took the opportunity to run. Rambo fled the camp but was then re-deployed into the Army in August that same year and went on more classified missions. Despite his many honors, Rambo ended his service with a nervous breakdown, having witnessed most of his only friends die excruciating, horrific deaths. Rambo was honorably discharged from the military on September 17, 1974.
After returning from the Vietnam war, Rambo found that hippies were intolerant of soldiers, and he was repeatedly pelted with dog faeces and garbage and spitting at the airport. Rambo hid his emotions because he felt nobody wanted to help him. This led to an extreme case of Post traumatic stress disorder. Rambo was shunned from the country he would die to protect, and Rambo became a homeless drifter that often slept in the woods or went hungry. According to the novelization of Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo had a rough time with relationships and did not lose his virginity until he was 21. Back home, he met a girl whom he intended to marry, but he was deployed to Vietnam and, when he returned home, he saw, to his disappointment, that she was now married and with two children.
Novel[edit | edit source]
The Rambo of the novel is entirely different than the Rambo of the films. He is a disturbed and slightly psychotic individual, who has killed people in America before. He once broke the nose of a guy who shoved past him in line and slit the throat of somebody who tried to mug him, later killing his partner. In the novel, Rambo is looking to pick a fight because he feels like he is entitled to some respect after what he suffered in Vietnam.
- Will Teasle, due to his long hair, military-style coat and all-around scruffy appearance. Teasle soon picks him up and drives him to the edge of town, while stressing his dislike of drifters and "trouble makers." Rambo begins heading back into town immediately after being dropped off, and Teasle then arrests him when Rambo did not comply and takes him to the local police station. It takes place in December 1981, and begins with John Rambo (now homeless and out-of-work drifter) searching for Delmar Barry, an old friend with whom he served in Vietnam. He goes to Barry's home but is told by his mother that he died from cancer due to Agent Orange exposure. This means that Rambo has now become the last surviving member of his Special Forces unit. He then travels to the small town of Hope, Washington (the movie was filmed in Hope, British Columbia, evidenced by the town sign), where he is quickly spotted by the town's paranoid sheriff,
When searching Rambo, Teasle discovers a large survival knife on Rambo's belt. At the station, the Deputy Sheriff, Art Galt, harasses and beats Rambo, who begins having flashbacks to the war, where he was a POW. When officers attempt to dry shave him, Rambo finally snaps and fights his way out of the station, retrieving his knife. Outside, he hijacks a motorcycle from a man driving past and flees into the nearby mountains while being pursued by Teasle in his police car. Teasle crashes his car, and Rambo escapes. Teasle calls more officers and a helicopter in for assistance, while Rambo abandons his motorcycle and makes his way into the deep terrain on foot. While climbing down a steep cliff face, he is spotted by the search helicopter with Galt in the passenger's seat. The helicopter gets caught in a thermal draft, and has trouble maintaining control to give Galt a clear shot. Galt fires at him a number of times with his rifle, forcing Rambo to jump off the cliff-side, or be shot.
Rambo breaks his fall by landing in a tree, but his arm is wounded in the process. Galt continues to fire upon the injured Rambo on the ground. Before Galt can shoot again, Rambo throws and hits the helicopter windshield with a rock he grabbed. The pilot loses control, swerving wildly, and Galt is thrown to his death. Rambo grabs Galt's gun, and runs behind some cover. Rambo opens up the butt of his knife, taking out a needle and thread. He then stitches up the wound on his arm, without anesthetic. Rambo comes out from cover, and confronts the men on the cliff. Rambo tells them, "There's one man dead! It wasn't my fault!". Teasle tells Rambo not to move or they will shoot. Rambo says he wants no more trouble, and begins to back away. But the men then open fire, and their shots appear to graze Rambo in the face. Rambo then runs into the woods, Teasle and his deputies in pursuit.
The men catch up to Rambo,
and they release the tracking dogs. Rambo shoots two with his last bullets, and kills the other with his knife. The men begin to flank out and pursue Rambo, but Rambo easily disables them using guerrilla tactics. Rambo severely wounds each man, but does not kill any of them. Rambo jumps out of the brush and grabs Teasle, putting his knife to his throat. He tells him, "In town you're the law. Out here it's me." He tells Teasle to "Let it go" and give up his pursuit. Teasle refuses, and the State Police and National Guard are called in to assist in the hunt. Colonel Samuel Trautman soon arrives, taking credit for training Rambo. He is surprised to find any of the deputies still alive, and warns that it would be safer to let Rambo go and find him after the situation has calmed down. Teasle refuses to give in. Teasle asks Trautman to try and contact Rambo on the radio he took to get his position. Trautman gets Rambo to respond on the radio, calling out his Vietnam company.
Rambo says that he cannot turn himself in and tells Trautman, "They drew first blood, not me." Rambo is eventually cornered by the Washington National Guard 19th Airborne SFG in a mine entrance. Teasle gets word they have cornered him, and gives an order not to fire. The inexperienced guardsmen ignore this order, and fire a rocket launcher at him. The blast collapsed the mine entrance, trapping him inside. The men assume Rambo is dead, but unknown to his pursuers, Rambo has instead escaped into the tunnels of the mine.
Rambo eventually finds an old exit vent, near a main road from out of which the troops are clearing. Rambo hijacks a passing Army truck (throwing its driver out onto the road in the process) and returns to town, crashing it into a gas station. He blocks the highway to anyone in pursuit, by igniting the spilled fuel. Now heavily armed with an M60 Machine Gun, Rambo destroys transformers knocking out the power to the town. Rambo spots Teasle on the station roof, destroys a few other businesses and a gun shop before making his way to the police station. Rambo destroys the police station before making his way inside. Teasle spots Rambo and fires at him, but misses. Rambo shoots back at Teasle, injuring him. Teasle falls through the roof onto the floor. Rambo steps over him, prepared to kill him.
Before Rambo can shoot Teasle, Colonel Trautman appears and tells him that there is no hope of escaping alive. Rambo, now surrounded by the police, rages about the horrors of war, and the difficulties he has faced adapting to civilian life. Breaking down, he then weeps as he recounts a particularly gruesome story about witnessing his friend dying. He tells Trautman how they were in a bar, talking about his friend's Chevy and driving to Las Vegas in it, when a boy came in with a booby-trapped shoeshine box. Rambo had gone into the bar to buy two beers when the box suddenly exploded, tearing his friend's lower body off. Rambo then turns himself in to Trautman, and is arrested. He is taken away. On the way out, he and Trautman look with scorn to Teasle, who is taken into an ambulance before continuing.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Alternate Ending[edit | edit source]
After sobbing, Rambo decides that he has finally had enough and wants to end his suffering and not turn himself in. Rambo takes Trautman's pistol and tells Trautman to kill him. Trautman does not respond and Rambo proceeds to grab the gun out of his hands and pull the trigger himself, shooting him in the chest. Rambo subsequently dies of his wounds and Trautman then is left alone in the station and walks away.
- "I want, what they want, and every other guy who came over here and spilled his guts and gave everything he had, wants--for our COUNTRY--to love US, as much as WE love IT!!! THAT'S what I want."
- ―John Rambo in Rambo: First Blood Part II.
After the incident in Washington, John Rambo was found guilty after a jury trial and sent to a labor camp prison. In 1985, after four years of imprisonment, he was visited by Colonel Samuel Trautman who offered him the chance to be released from prison if he went to Vietnam to search for American POWs. Promised a Presidential pardon if the mission succeeds, he accepts and is officially reinstated in the army temporarily. He later meets with Marshall Murdock, an American bureaucrat who is in charge of the operation. He tells Rambo that he is only to photograph the POWs and not to rescue them, nor is he to engage any enemy soldiers. Rambo reluctantly agrees. He is then told that an agent of the U.S. government will be there to receive him in the jungles of Vietnam.
He is then parachuted into the Vietnamese jungles. However, while parachuting, he loses some of his equipment and is left with only his knives, his bow, and arrows. On the ground, he met with Co Bao, a local woman working with the Americans. She takes him on a pirate boat upriver, despite Rambo's reservations. Co leads Rambo to the supposedly empty POW camp, where he is able to rescue a captive. However, escaping requires him to kill a number of enemy soldiers with his bow and knives. The trio then proceed back to the pirate boat, while the Vietnamese soldiers raise an alert. The group makes it back to the pirate boat, but are sold out to the Vietnamese Army by the pirate Captain. Rambo kills almost all of the pirates as the ship is attacked by a gunboat. Rambo finds an RPG under one of the boat's seats and disables the approaching gunboat. As Rambo tries to make his escape, he is garotted by the last pirate, but Rambo successfully stabs the pirate in the gut with his knife and barely escapes as the gunboat collides with the pirate sampan and explodes.
Rambo proceeds to the extraction point as Lieutenant Tay and his soldiers attack Rambo and the POW with mortars. Ericsson arrives with Trautman to extract Rambo, but after Murdock hears that Rambo has rescued a POW, the extraction is aborted, as Murdock fears what will happen to him and his party if the American public come to know about it. Rambo and the captive are both captured, and back at the camp Russian advisors soon arrive to interrogate Rambo. Meanwhile, Co enters the camp under the disguise of a prostitute and comes to the hut in which Rambo is held captive. There she witnesses Rambo being tortured by Russian Colonel Podovsky, who is demanding that the American contact his base and confess to war crimes. After being electrocuted on a bedspring and then burned with his own knife, Rambo pretends to agree to Podovsky's condition, but instead threatens Murdock on the radio that he is coming to get him-- after which he promptly escapes with Co's help. They hide in the jungle and Co aids Rambo's wounds.
She then asks him if he will take her with him to the U.S., he agrees and he kisses her. But they are attacked by some Vietnamese soldiers, Including Lieutenant Tay who happily shoots Co. Enraged and distraught by Co's death, he kills them all except for Tay, who escapes. Rambo then buries Co's body in the jungle so her body is not scavenged upon by animals.
After the violence at the camp and on the river, Soviet and Vietnamese troops were scrambled to search and kill Rambo. While hunting for Rambo in a forest, Rambo kills a number of Soviet and Vietnamese soldiers using guerrilla tactics. Vietnamese soldiers continue to chase Rambo into and through a village. In the village, there grows a patch of tall grass where Rambo sets a booby-trap explosion that ignites a fire, burning many of the Vietnamese soldiers. Rambo then uses his bow and explosive-tipped arrows to destroy some huts and military vehicles on a bridge. Rambo then confronts Lieutenant Tay and kills him with another explosive arrow.
While still running away from the soldiers, a Soviet attack helicopter finds Rambo and drops a napalm bomb on him. Rambo dives off a cliff into a river as the bomb explodes. The Soviet helicopter pursues him, shooting bullets into the water. As the helicopter gets closer to the water while shooting bullets, Rambo jumps up from under the water, yanks the gunman into the water, and climbs into the helicopter where he confronts Sergeant Yushin. As they wrestle inside the helicopter, the helicopter flies away and Rambo throws Yushin out of the helicopter to the latter's death. As Rambo approaches the pilot, the pilot also jumps out of the helicopter.
Rambo gains control of the helicopter and flies it back to the POW camp to rescue the remaining POWs. He kills the remaining guards and picks up the captives in the chopper. While flying to Thailand, another Soviet attack helicopter piloted by Colonel Podovsky tails Rambo's. After Podovsky loses Rambo's chopper in a haze of smoke from firing at it, it finds Rambo's vehicle smoking in a river. As the Russian chopper flies in low to investigate and finish off the bird once and for all, Rambo—who appears to be knocked unconscious—suddenly sits up, shoulder-firing rocket in hand, fires through the windshield and finishes off his would-be assailant once and for all.
Rambo then returns to the base and, using the M60E3 medium machine gun from the helicopter, destroys Murdock's command center. He then unsheathes his knife and threatens Murdock to find and rescue the remaining American POWs in Vietnam, snarling almost under his breath, "You know there's more men out there...you know where they are. Find 'em...or I'll find you." Trautman then comforts Rambo and tries to pacify him and to convince him to rejoin the Special Forces, also telling him he would get another Medal of Honor for his actions. Rambo, however, visibly angry and fighting back tears, says that the soldiers he rescued deserve the Medal of Honor more than he does, and he only wants the same thing as the soldiers he rescued; for America to love its soldiers as much as its soldiers love it. Rambo then moves towards an unknown destination. Trautman asks him, "How're you gonna live, John?" To this, Rambo replies, "Day by day." The film ends as Rambo walks off into the distance while his mentor watches him. Because of his actions of saving the POWs, Rambo is granted the Presidential pardon he had been promised and decides to live in Thailand.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- "I don't know what you think of this place, but I like it. I like being here, I like working here. I like belonging to something. "
- ―John Rambo in Rambo III.
After he was seen stick fighting for extra money in a Bangkok warehouse, Rambo was followed back to a Buddhist monestary by his only friend, Trautman. Trautman asked Rambo to come with him into Afghanistan to supply weapons to rebel forces to fight against invading Soviets, led by the brutal Colonel Zaysen. Rambo told him that he "put in his time" and declined the offer, apologising, stating that "it's got to end for me some time." Trautman understands, but is kidnapped by Zaysen. Rambo learns of the incident from embassy field officer Robert Griggs and convinces Griggs to take him through an unofficial operation, despite Grigg's warning that the U.S. government will deny any knowledge of his actions if killed or caught. Rambo immediately flies to Peshwar, Pakistan where he meets up with Mousa, a weapons supplier who agrees to take him to a village deep in the Afghan desert, close to the Soviet base where Trautman is kept.
The Mujhaideen in the village are already hesitant to help Rambo in the first place, but are definitely convinced not to help him when their village is attacked by Soviet helicopters after one of Mousa's shop assistants has informed the Soviets of Rambo's presence. Aided only by Mousa and a young boy named Hamid, Rambo makes his way to the Soviet base and starts his attempts to free Trautman. The
first attempt is unsuccessful and results not only in Hamid getting shot in the leg, but also in Rambo himself getting splinters in the side. After escaping from the base, Rambo tends to Hamid's wounds and sends him and Mousa away to safety. The next day, Rambo returns to the base once again, just in time to rescue Trautman from being tortured with a blow-torch. After rescuing several other prisoners, Rambo steals a helicopter and escapes from the base.
However, the helicopter soon crashes and Rambo and Trautman are forced to continue on foot. After a confrontation in a cave, where Rambo and Trautman eliminate several Soviet Spetsnaz commandos including Kourov, they are confronted by an entire army of Soviet tanks, headed by Zaysen. Just as they are about to be overwhelmed by the might of the Red Army, the Mujahideen warriors, together with Mousa and Hamid, ride onto the battlefield by the hundreds in a cavalry charge, overwhelming the Communists.
In the ensuing battle, in which both Trautman and John are wounded, Rambo manages to kill Zaysen by driving a tank into Zaysen's helicopter. After the battle, which the Mujhaideen win, Rambo is asked if he wants to use his skills to help them fight the soviets. Rambo strongly wants to help his friends, but knows that he has to move on from his days of killing. He returns to his home in Thailand for peaceful life.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Rambo IV[edit | edit source]
- "Any of you boys want to shoot, now's the time. There isn't one of us that doesn't want to be someplace else. But this is what we do, who we are. Live for nothing, or die for something. Your call. "
- ―John Rambo in Rambo IV.
Over twenty years later, John Rambo is still living in Thailand and resides in a village near the Burmese border. He makes a meagre hermit-like living capturing snakes and selling them in a nearby village. He also transports roamers in his boat. A missionary, Michael Burnett, asks Rambo to take him and his associates up the Salween River to Burma on a humanitarian mission to give aid to Karen tribes people. Rambo refuses, but he is convinced by Sarah Miller to take them, and she becomes his friend.
The boat is stopped by Burmese pirates who demand Sarah in exchange for passage. After negotiations fail, Rambo kills them all. Although his actions save the missionaries, it greatly disturbs them. Upon arrival, Michael says that they will travel overland and will not need Rambo's help for the return trip. The mission goes well until the Tatmadaw Army, led by Major Tint to attack for another genocide to the innocent people. They kill the entire of the villagers including two missionaries and kidnap the rest, including Michael and Sarah. When the missionaries fail to come back after ten days, their pastor comes to ask Rambo's help in guiding hired mercenaries to the village where the missionaries were last seen.
Rambo agrees to transport the soldiers. At their destination, Rambo tries to accompany the mercenaries with a black-wrapped package in hand, but their leader, described as a former "old school" and egotistical S.A.S trooper, refuses. After arriving at the destroyed village with their guide, Karen, they are forced to hide when some Tatmadaw arrive by truck and force their villager prisoners to run a gauntlet of hidden land mines thrown into the village rice paddies. The mercenary leader will not order a rescue, as he is concerned that the missing Tatmadaw will put the rest on alert. However, Rambo shows up with what is revealed to be his bow and shoots down the Tatmadaw. Rambo confronts the leader when the man threatens him, and with his arrow pointed at his eye socket, Rambo tells him and the others that soldiering is what they are and do, and says to them, "You can either live for nothing...or die for something." When Rambo stands down and tells the others to come, they follow without question with the leader in tow. They plan to save the hostages at a P.O.W. camp. Rambo helps Sarah and the others to escape. The Tatmadaw unit finds the hostages missing and organizes a massive manhunt.
Everyone except for Rambo, Sarah, and the mercenary sniper "School Boy" is captured. But just as the group is to be executed, Rambo seizes a truck-mounted Browning M2 and minces the Burmese army, giving an opening for School Boy to shoot down the Tatmadaw near the others and provide them also with weapons. Karen rebels join the fight to help Rambo and the mercenaries win. Major Pa Tee Tint attempts to get away, but is personally disemboweled by Rambo wiping out the last remaining forces of the brutal army that serve the regime.
Encouraged by Sarah's words, Rambo returns to live in the U.S., walking along a rural highway past a horse farm and a rusted mailbox bearing the name "R. Rambo". He then makes his way down the gravel driveway as the credits roll. Rambo killed over 80 people in the fourth rescue mission, the most in the series.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Future[edit | edit source]
Although his country is much more supportive of veterans now, John Rambo still is a very traumatized man, and coming home to support will not change the fact that he can't live with himself due to the horrible things he has done or witnessed during in the past. If another film is made, this will likely be the central focus of the film, as Sylvester Stallone says that he would like to take the franchise in a different direction and see the character "go out in a blaze of glory", although he has said that there likely will not be another film.
On January 6, 2016, Stallone officially confirmed that he was retiring the character of John Rambo, having deemed the fourth Rambo film to be a worthy and satisfying conclusion to the series and the character arc, showing that Rambo was on his way to getting better and making amends with his past. Stallone said: "The heart's willing, but the body says, 'Stay home! It's like fighters that go back for one last round and get clobbered. Leave it to someone else."
Thus, if any more Rambo media is produced, such as the Rambo television series which is being talked about with Fox, possibly about Rambo's son; it will not involve Stallone. He added: "You know when you realize there's nothing more to pull out? As an action film, I was very satisfied that it dealt with the Burmese situation. It had one foot in a current event, the longest civil war in history, 65 years at that time. It was so brutal, which civil war is, I was shocked they even gave me an R-rating. I didn’t want to compromise. I said, 'This is probably going to be the last decent film of this genre that I'm going to do as a solo act.' When that was accomplished, I never felt the same willingness to do it again. There's nothing left. When they asked me to do another 'Rambo,' I said, 'If I can't do better than I did last time, and I can't, then why?"
Rambo: Last Blood[edit | edit source]
John Rambo lives a peaceful life at a farm along with Gabriela and her grandmother. John tries to keep his past behind him, and move on with what's in front of him. However Gabriela wishes to see her long gone father in Mexico and get answers to why her father would leave her and her mother.
Gabriela asks John and her grandmother for they're blessings but to her dismay, they both warned her not to go and that her father was not a good man. Rambo then waited for a day and has not seen Gabriela home, but then Gabriela's grandmother arrived and told John that she went to Mexico and has gone missing. John angrily brings his gun and knife and drove off to Mexico. John first arrived to Gabrielle's father and asked him where she is, but the father told him that she has not arrived to his home and tries to close the door on John's face. John kicks the door open and asked him again where is Gabrielle, again the father said he did not know. John stared at him and threatens him that he should have broke his neck long ago and left the fathers apartment.
John then arrived to Gabriela's friend and asked her where she was, her friend said she did not know, only for John to recognize the bracelet on her wrist. He grabs her hand and threatens her to show the man Gabriela was with last time, him and Gabrielle's friend arrived to the club and she showed John where the man was. He tells her to leave, and proceeds to wait until the man left the club.
As both the man and John left the club, John grabs the man and tortures him, as well as asked where Gabriela was, the man then told him the location where she might be, and both went off to find Gabriela. John then arrived to the location and asked the man if he is sure, the man told him he was sure, then John knocked the man out, where he possibly dies offscreen due to critical injuries, and left the car to search for Gabrielle. However he was actually being stalked by a group of thugs and continues to walk away from them.
They take his driver's license, revealing the ranch's location, and a photo of Gabriela, who they recognize. The gang's leader, Hugo Martinez, tells Rambo that he will let him live, but Gabrielle will be severely punished for his actions. Hugo claims that he will make an example of her, by getting her addicted to heroin until she dies. The gang's second-in-command and Hugo's brother, Victor Martinez, then marks him by cutting his calling card into Rambo's cheek, claiming that he will do the same to Gabriela. The gang leaves and Rambo is taken to safety by the woman who had followed him, a journalist named Carmen Delgado, who has been investigating the human traffickers since her sister was abducted and killed by them. She takes Rambo to her home and helps him recuperate from his injuries. Some time later, Rambo is well enough to go back for a second rescue mission. He raids one of the brothels, killing several men in the process, and finally succeeds in rescuing Gabrielle. However, as a result of an earlier drug overdose, she dies returning home. Rambo subsequently buries her near their house and mourns her demise. In grief, Maria leaves the farm, claiming that there is nothing left for her there anymore. Rambo echoes the sentiment, claiming that he will likely drift from place to place again, like he "always did".
After Maria leaves, an enraged Rambo prepares to destroy the gang. He returns to Mexico and asks Carmen to help him locate the gang members. Carmen is reluctant to help Rambo with this, claiming that it will not solve anything. However, after Rambo appeals to her personal grief, she ultimately agrees and gives him the address of Victor's personal residence. Rambo arrives late at night, kills Victor's bodyguards and ambushes him in the shower. The next morning, Hugo arrives to find his brother's mutilated and decapitated corpse, with a knife pinning a photo of Gabrielle to Victor's heart. On the way back to Arizona, Rambo dumps Victor's head on the road and fortifies his farm with booby traps for when Hugo's men arrive to get revenge. Hugo assembles his men and arrives at Rambo's home. The gang arrives at Rambo's farm and he lures them into the tunnels underneath his property, where he quickly eliminates them one by one using explosives, knives and firearms sometimes even in coordination with his traps, despite sustaining some injuries. Rambo finally kills all of Hugo's men, saving him for last and telling him over a walkie-talkie that he will rip out his heart, just as Hugo did to him. Rambo implodes the tunnels, forcing Hugo to go into the barn, where Rambo is waiting. Rambo uses a recurve bow to shoot arrows into his brachial nerve, paralyzing his arms. Rambo then further pins him to the wall and cuts out his heart with the knife he had made for Gabriela, avenging her death.
Having completed his revenge, an injured and drained Rambo sits in a rocking chair on his porch, where he ponders that he is all alone once again. He proclaims that despite everything, he will continue living so he can keep the spirits of his loved ones alive. In a mid-credits scene, Rambo gets up from the chair, saddles up one of his horses and rides off to an uncertain future.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Personality[edit | edit source]
Throughout the film series, especially in the first and fourth films, John Rambo is displayed as a tragic hero, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has difficulty adjusting to civilian life, which is especially complicated because of prejudice against returning soldiers. He is shown to be prone to violence because of the torture he suffered at the hands of North Vietnamese soldiers in the Vietnam War. Rambo has difficulty talking about his problems and he is too scarred from trauma to open up to most people. The only person he really trusts in the world is Trautman, and he still has only told him about one of the brutal deaths he witnessed. This makes Rambo look like a quiet thug or super soldier to people who don't understand the character, but in reality he is so overwhelmed with self-hatred and nightmarish memories that he can't talk to anybody. As a result, conversations with Rambo are fairly one sided, as he chooses not to engage with most people and only speaks directly to a few people. As he grows older, as he becomes bitter and angry at the world, even leading to him casually swearing and making snide comments under his breath at people, and downright insulting people. This is especially elaborated upon in 2008's Rambo, where he refuses to be even remotely social with anybody, even Sarah Miller, who is displayed as a kind soul who wants to learn about Rambo's life and why he is the way he is. He often replies with one-word answers in this film and is terse with people so they will leave him alone. There is a scene, where Michael Burnett tries to get Rambo to take them down the Salween River. Rambo declines and Sarah asks, why he rebuffed the man he was talking to. Rambo replies that he wasn't talking to anybody and Sarah changes her statement to "the man who was talking to you".
It is evident that Rambo did care deeply for all the men in his unit, forming a brotherly bond with them. This is shown at the start of First Blood, when Rambo arrives as the home of Delmar Barry, he walks with a bit of a spring to his step, he is very polite and talkative to Barry's mother, making small talk and even cracking a joke. It's one of the few times he's seen to smile, being visibly excited at the prospect of seeing his old friend again. However, upon learning of Barry's death, Rambo is disheartened, offering the photo of his unit that he carries around to Barry's mother before giving his condolences and leaving, his walk having slowed to a trudge as he departs. During his breakdown to Trautman, he talked about how they had planned to go on a road trip to Las Vegas in Danforth's Chevy Convertible. In Rambo III, Rambo is seen wisecracking one-liners similar to other action heros such as John Matrix from Commando. He cracks several of these, poking fun of the state he and Trautman are in and the predicaments he has gotten himself into. Most fans of the Rambo series aknowledge that Rambo III was more so made to exploit Rambo's character rather than further develop him. This would explain the cheesy one-liners that were typical of other heroes of the time, but not Rambo. It could be argued, though, that Rambo's demeanor was considerably softer since Rambo III dealt with Rambo's only friend who he has known since Baker Team. Since Trautman could talk with Rambo about anything, Rambo would be a much happier man around him. However, even in Rambo III, Stallone carefully maintains the tortured persona that Rambo has to deal with, rarely cracking a smile and revealing the sad eyes he must have. It has been argued that Rambo became more antisocial and angry at the world after Trautman died in between the events of Rambo III and Rambo.
In the next films and novelizations, he is displayed as a man who wants to stay away from conflict but is willing to do literally anything to save his friends and the people he cares about from any danger. Due to his violent nature, many civil people tend to fear him. However, Colonel Samuel Trautman, who was his commanding officer in Vietnam and most likely his only friend, understands him and the pain and torture he had endured in the war and is the only one able to understand the problems he has. Rambo is a survival expert in almost any terrain, especially in jungles and dense forests. Rambo is also an expert in guerrilla warfare, and he is easily able to camouflage himself, create improvised weaponry, and nurse his own wounds. He is also an expert in operating various types of war machines like helicopters and tanks, firing artillery and machine guns and hand-to-hand combat.
Skills and Abilities[edit | edit source]
- "You don't seem to want to accept the fact that you're dealing an expert in guerilla warfare... with a man who's the best with guns, with knives, with his bare hands... a man who's been trained to ignore pain, ignore weather, to live off the land, to eat things that'll make a billy goat puke. In Vietnam his job was to dispose of enemy personnel... to kill, period... win by attrition. Now, Rambo was the best."
- ―Sam Trautman to Will Teasle [src]John J. Rambo is a Vietnam War veteran soldier and a Special Forces Green Beret decorated with a Congressional Medal of Honor; he is a war hero. Colonel Sam Trautman recruited him to Baker Team (an elite group), trained him and commanded him in Vietnam for three years. He was taught to stay alive in the line of duty. According to Colonel Trautman, Rambo is the survivor of countless incursions behind enemy lines.
- Master Marksman: Rambo is incredibly skilled with many types of weapons. Being able to use any weapons he finds in the field, including Kalashnikov Variants, M16s, Hunting Rifles, Shotguns, RPGs and Various M60 variants. His size and strength allow him to use an M60, without the aid of a turret, with barely any loss in accuracy from recoil. Rambo is also a very talented Archer, preferring to use a bow, in times where he needs to be stealthy, but also uses explosive tips when he needs to cause destruction, even using one to take down a helicopter. Rambo is either left handed or ambidextrous, since he uses his left hand as his arrow hand while using his bow, and uses his right hand for firearms.
- "There were three of us on him in a cell block down there. He went through us like we weren't even there."
- ―Mitch [src]
- Master Combatant: Rambo is also adept in unarmed combat, he has a muscular physique due to his time as a soldier in the army and his intense training regimen. He has a high amount of strength and stamina, as well as a great resistance to pain, he is able to hold his own against larger or multiple foes single handed. His strength allows him to pull off a man's throat with his bare hand.
- Knife Mastery: Rambo has an affinity for knives, both as a weapon and a tool for survival. He has used his knife to create a spear, to make a make-shift torch, to pass a minefield, and to kill numerous foes.
- Stealth: Rambo is a master of stealth techniques, and blending into his surroundings, making a makeshift ghillie suit, and covering himself with mud, to hide from enemy forces, sometimes in plane sight, using bushes or camouflage of some sort, climbing trees to stay out of enemies line of sight, setting diversions to draw enemy attention, such as scarecrows, light sources, and even captive enemies (also used as a scare tactic.) His combat prowess stems from his knowledge of guerrilla warfare, he is known to make improvised traps, to kill and disable enemies, using minimal resources, such as a glowstick, a hand grenade, a tripwire stake trap, and even lured enemies into a field using the blood of a chicken, before igniting it with gasoline. He is able to use his terrain and darkness to turn things to his advantage.
- Gifted Intelligence: Rambo is also very intelligent. He can speak several languages, is a capable pilot and a skilled hunter. He is also trained as a medic. He is shown to perform medical procedures on himself, such as stitching and cauterising his own wounds. Rambo is also very capable at orienteering, rock climbing (without safety equipment) and traversal of the wilderness, with minimal resources. He is also skilled at horse riding due his time at father's farm, he is also a skilled motorcyclist. Rambo knows English (his native language), Burmese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Spanish. In the fourth movie, Rambo is able to communicate with Burmese river privates in Burmese. Having lived in Thailand for many years, he also speaks Thai. Further, he may have learned at least practical Vietnamese in the duration of his military service. In Last Blood, Rambo is shown to be able to understand Spanish like when interrogating a Mexican human trafficker on where Gabreila is.
Awards[edit | edit source]
First Blood[edit | edit source]
- Medal of Honor
Rambo: First Blood Part II[edit | edit source]
- 2 Silver Stars
- 4 Bronze Stars for Valor
- 4 Purple Hearts
- Distinguished Service Cross
Rambo III[edit | edit source]
In a deleted scene, Rambo's Class A dress uniform is shown in his footlocker with the following ribbons:
- Medal of Honor - Awarded one and refused another
- Army Distinguished Service Medal
- Distinguished Flying Cross (United States)|Distinguished Flying Cross
- Soldier's Medal
- Bronze Star Medal
- Purple Heart
- Air Medal
- Combat Action Ribbon - Awarded one for a joint-service operation with United States Marine Corps, (2nd Battalion 3rd Marines) in Battle of Khe Sanh 1968.
- Vietnam Service Medal
- Prisoner of War Medal
- Army Service Ribbon
- Vietnam Wound Medal - This award is actually a South Vietnamese (ARVN) forces medal and was not permitted to be worn on uniforms. Rambo may have the medal of a KIA ARVN soldier he fought with that he wore out of respect to their memory.
- Vietnam Campaign Medal
- National Defense Medal
- Good Conduct Medal
Various special duty badges can also be seen on Rambo's uniform.
- Combat Infantryman Badge
- Aircraft Crewman Badge
- Senior Combat Parachutist Badge
- Expert Weapons Qualification Badge
Rambo drops some of his many medals to which the meaning was gone down a prison sewage hole in the novelization of Rambo: First Blood Part II. He claims to have found it therapeutic. Rambo's Social Security Number is 936-01-1758, although citizens in Arizona are issued ones with the prefixes 526-527, 600-601, and 764-765. According to the file, John Rambo has the same birthday as Sylvester Stallone. But, Rambo is one year younger.
Appearance and Attire[edit | edit source]
Rambo is a male of average height. He has tanned skin, long dark brown hair and brown eyes. He is very muscular, and imposing. Rambo's upper body is covered with large scars. He has perpetual stubble.
Time In Vietnam[edit | edit source]
During his tour of duty in Vietnam, and imprisonment, Rambo wore his hair in a shorter style, and also sported a handlebar mustache. He wore a jungle camouflage patterned headband.
First Blood[edit | edit source]
In the first film he wears blue jeans with a red t-shirt over a gray tank top and a thick green M-1965 military jacket. Rambo's hair is shorter than the other films in the series.
Whilst being pursued by the local police, he wears a brown makeshift poncho, and a brown head band, he temporarily covers the poncho with leaves and twigs, making a makeshift ghillie suit.
Rambo: First Blood Part II[edit | edit source]
In the sequel, his hair is longer, the rest of his appearance remains the same. During the film, Rambo gains a new scar, on his left cheek.
During his incarceration, Rambo wears a blue prison uniform, consisting of a blue shirt, blue jeans, and the brown boots from the first film.
While on the base, he wears a red t-shirt shirt, blue jeans and the same brown boots.
During his mission Rambo wears a black jacket and gloves for at the beginning of the mission. He wears a black long sleeve shirt (also abandoned) black pants and a black tank top (lost at the POW camp), and black combat boots. He wears a black sweatband at first, but changes it for a red one, made for a piece of Co Bao's dress after she is killed. He also begins wearing her jade Buddha pendant in remembrance of her.
Rambo III[edit | edit source]
Rambo's hair is much longer, resembling a mullet.
Rambo wears a light blue shirt, and blue jeans early in the film.
Rambo wears a similar attire to the previous film for the nighttime rescue mission, black boots, a tank top, (he removes it whiles tending to his wound in the caves) and wind pants. He even wore a similar black shirt, though he lost it in the village attack. He also wears a red sweatband in the beginning and a black sweatband throughout the rest of the film.
Rambo IV[edit | edit source]
Rambo's hair is still very long though it is straighter and neater than before. In the beginning he wears a dark red bandana, a dark blue coat, a grey t-shirt, blue large pants and brown boots. Later in the film until the final action sequence, he wears a dark grey t-shirt and black cargo pants, along with black boots. Rambo wears a red patterned sweatband at the beginning, but switches to a blue one later. Rambo also bares a constant scowling expression throughout the vast majority of the film.
In the final scene, Rambo wears a very similar attire to the beginning of First Blood. Green Army jacket, blue jeans, black t-shirt, and black boots. (The final scene is a dark mirror of the first scene in First Blood.)
Rambo: Last Blood[edit | edit source]
Rambo Last Blood or Rambo V saw Rambo as a very aged man, with wrinkles on his face, gray hair and greyish ring in eyes, that make them look blue. Rambo cut off his long hair. He wears a denim jacket or T shirt for most of the films.
Rambo the animation TV Series (1986)
On Colonel Trautman's request, John Rambo leads special unit The Force of Freedom against paramilitary terrorist organization S.A.V.A.G.E. (Specialist-Administrators of Vengeance, Anarchy and Global Extortion) all over the globe. Rambo was voiced by Neil Ross.
Rambo Adventures- Italian Comic books
1986 Italian comic book series by Giorgio Pedrazzi.
Rambo Video Games
There was the 1987 video game from Aklaim and the 2008 video game from Reef Entertainment for the Playstation 3.
In 2008, Rambo, a light gun arcade shooter, was published by Sega. Featuring Rambo as Player 1 and Trautman as Player 2, the plot is a recreation of Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo III. The title used original scenes and quotes from respective films under license.
Indian remake of the Rambo film series starring Tiger Shroff as Rambo.
Quotes[edit | edit source]
- [Trautman tries to convince a re-arming Rambo to surrender]
- Col. Trautman: Think about what you're doing. The building's perimeter is covered. No exit. There are nearly 200 men out there and a lot of M-16s. You did everything to make this private war happen. [blocks Rambo and grabs M-16] You've done enough damage! This mission is over, Rambo. Do you understand me? This mission is over! [goes to floodlit windows and gestures about barricade] Look at 'em out there. Look at 'em! If you won't end this now, they will kill you. Is that what you want? It's over, Johnny. It's over!
- Rambo: NOTHING IS OVER! Nothing! You just don't turn it off! It wasn't my war! You asked me, I didn't ask you! And I did what I had to do to win, but somebody wouldn't let us win! And I come back to the world, and I see all those maggots at the airport, protestin' me, spittin', callin' me "Baby Killer!", and all kinds of vile crap! Who are they to protest me, huh?! Who are they, unless they been me and been there, and know what the Hell they're yellin' about?!
- Trautman: It was a bad time for everyone, Rambo. It's all in the past now.
- Rambo: For you! For me, civilian life is nothing! In the field, we had a code of honor: You watch my back, I watch your's. Back here, there's nothing!"
- Rambo: "I'm gonna tear you apart."
- Rambo: " I want them to know death is coming.
- Rambo: "sit do we get to win this time?"
- Rambo: We’re like animals! It’s in the blood! It’s natural! Peace? That’s an accident! It’s what is! When you’re pushed, killing’s as easy as breathing. When the killing stops in one place, it starts in another, but that’s okay, ‘cause you’re killing for your country. But it ain’t your country who asks you; it’s a few men up top who want it. Old men start it, young men fight it, nobody wins, everybody in the middle dies, and nobody tells the truth! God’s gonna make all that go away? Don’t waste your life, I did. Go home.”
- Rambo: "they drew first blood not me."
In Popular Culture[edit | edit source]
Rambo's name has become an eponym for a tactic of military aggression or, alternatively, a person demonstrating great heroism through extreme violence and skill, especially when outnumbered. However, the term can also be used somewhat derogatorily to describe someone who thoughtlessly charges into a fight with no regard for personal safety or careful planning. This term is referred to as "Going Rambo" or "doing it Rambo style." The name is also used in a more figurative sense to describe any action or approach which is deemed to be aggressive.
Rambo has been mentioned in other action films such as 1988's Die Hard, 1995's True Lies, and 2008's Taken. It has even also been added as an adjective in the dictionary. Its definition is: Ram-bo: -noun, a fanatically militant or violently aggressive person.
The term Rambo has become almost universally associated with the idealistic "one man army", hyper-competent super-soldier or mercenary even outside of the Anglosphere, and has become an iconic character archetype of the aforementioned one man army style characters.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- In Japanese dubs of the Rambo series, Rambo's voice was done by Japanese singer Isao Sasaki, actor Ken Watanabe, and seiyus Banjo Ginga, Michio Hazama and Tessho Genda.
- Rambo IV is the first film in the series where Rambo is not seen with his shirt off, due to the extensive tattoo coverage Sylvester Stallone had done to his shoulders and upper back, during the 19 year gap between Rambo III and IV.
- Abu Azrael is referred to as Rambo.
|V • D • E|
|Films:||First Blood • Rambo: First Blood Part II • Rambo III • Rambo • Rambo: Last Blood|
|John Rambo on:||First Blood • First Blood Part II • Rambo III • Rambo IV • On-Screen Kills|
|Cast:||Sylvester Stallone • Richard Crenna|
|Video games:||Rambo • Rambo: First Blood Part II • Rambo (1987) • Rambo III • Rambo on Fire • Rambo (Sega) • Rambo: The Video Game|
|This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).|