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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch the Movie-Then Go to Film School With David Morrell!
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...
Published on August 10, 2001 by William T. Parnell

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clean version of a good movie.
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...
Published on August 6, 2000 by casualsuede

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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch the Movie-Then Go to Film School With David Morrell!, August 10, 2001
This review is from: First Blood (DVD)
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.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ramboned - Great Film, Lame "Lions Gate" DVD Release, November 21, 2004
This review is from: First Blood (DVD)
"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.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking Treatment for a Groundbreaking Film, May 30, 2002
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.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MAN SAID CLEAN HIM UP ummmmmph!!! CLEAN EM UP, March 15, 2009
This review is from: First Blood (DVD)
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?
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.

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slyvster Stallone in the revenge of the Vietnam vet, December 16, 2003
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
The most important thing to keep in mind when watching "First Blood" is not that this 1982 film was Slyvester Stallone's second most successful series after the Rocky films, but that at that point in pop culture history the Vietnam vet had essentially replaced the Nazi as the default villain in a lot of movies and television shows. The idea was that you took somebody with military training and set them off because (a) they did drugs in Nam, (b) were exposed to Agent Orange, (c) went crazy under the pressure, (d) were rejected by their government and the American people when they got home, or (e) any combination of the above. In that light, "First Blood" was one of the few films to present a Vietnam vet as a hero. John Rambo was moody and mentally unstable, in a trained killing machine sort of way, but he had a sense of honor and only struck back when pushed too far.
The rule of thumb is that a movie succeeds more on the villain than the hero, and that holds true in this case, with Brian Dennehy as Sheriff Will Teasle, who does not take a liking to a the moody, shaggy haired, Rambo when he wanders through town. Teasle take Rambo into custody and tries to show him who is boss, but has a deputy sergeant (Jack Starrett) who takes things to far. Rambo snaps, easily escapes from the police station, and the massive manhunt hunt is on. The only problem is that Teasle and all of his men are no match for an unarmed Rambo, who quickly finds a way to arm himself. Teasle has some understanding of how his men are culpable in what is going on, but stubbornly insists that the rule of law should still apply, even when Colonel Samuel Trautman (Richard Crenna) arrives right behind the National Guard to explain how big of a mistake the locals have made.
The main problem with this film is that there were sequels, which buried the strengths of the original under big budget gloss (a charge that can be leveled against the Rocky series as well). Beyond that the main complain would be that once events have been put into play and we all acknowledge that Rambo has been done wrong, the politics of the situation gives way to the action. As such, the politics become an excuse for the violence, which is one of those things that would be ironic on so many levels. Then, at the end, when the movie becomes political again, it seems rather uncomfortably forced and Rambo's articulation of the very real plight of a lot of Vietnam vets becomes exceedingly forced (actually, at the end of this film, after being moody and silent for most of the film, Rambo talks a LOT). The best of the action sequences is when Teasle and his cops (including a relatively young David Caruso), try to track down Rambo in the woods, mainly because it relies more on stealth and intelligence than big guns and bigger explosions. Against a Green Beret these boys have no chance and when Rambo offers Teasle one last chance to let it go, and when the Sheriff refuses, all of our sympathies go to Rambo.
The message of "First Blood" might be forced, but it is hard to turn in a stern indictment of the film on that basis given what was happening with Vietnam vets in Hollywood. Even in this heavy-handed effort you have to admit there was an attempt at a noble motive. Special mention should be made of the audio commentary on the DVD version by David Morell, who wrote the novel on which the film was based. Morell is an interesting choice simply because he was not really involved in the production of the film, but this has some interesting payoffs, such as the argument that "First Blood" changed the action genre as one of the first movies to feature a brief set-up and then pretty much non-stop action for the rest of the film. There are some tidbits about the film (Kirk Douglas was originally cast as Colonel Trautman) and how the ending was changed when audiences were upset that Rambo was killed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One man wrecking crew, May 17, 2003
Jerry Fry (Freeman, MO USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: First Blood [VHS] (VHS Tape)
A former green beret (Stallone) journeys into the northwest on foot to find an old army buddy who he finds has passed away. He walks into the nearest town to get a bite to eat but the sheriff (Brian Dennehy) doesn't want his kind around. He gives Rambo a ride out of town and informs him the next town is only 30 miles away. Rambo doesn't have to take this. He turns around and heads back but Dennehy sees him doubling back, arrests him and takes him to the police station. He gets fingerprinted, then they decide he needs a shave and this is where all the trouble starts. He has flashbacks from Vietnam and sees the Vietcong holding a razor to his face and goes berserk. He gets away, steals a motorcycle and heads for the mountains. Dennehy goes after him but ends up crawling out of his vehicle while it sits perched upside down. Now the manhunt begins, only the odds are in Rambo's favor ("those green berets, they're real badasses"). Rambo is skilled in every facet of guerilla warfare. Six cops with rifles and three dogs just aren't enough. Before it's all over Rambo has caused enough destruction to declare the place a disaster area. And it all started because some cop (Dennehy)wouldn't let him stop in town and get something to eat ("Why you pushin' me"?). Plenty of action. Dennehy plays his usual part; hard nosed and stubborn. It's his way or no way, regardless of the consequences. David Caruso is a deputy in this movie and Richard Crenna is Rambo's former Colonel. Acted well by all.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "They Drew "First Blood", Not Me.", December 13, 2004
"Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don't turn it off! It wasn't my war. You asked me, I didn't ask you. We did what we had to do to win, but, somebody wouldn't let us win. And I come back to the world & see the maggots at the airport. Spittin'. Calling me babykiller & all sorts of vile crap. Who are they to protest me?! Who are they, huh?! Unless they were me & been there & know what the hell their yellin' about!"

"It was a hard time for everyone, John. It's over."

"For you! For me civilian life is nothin'. In the field we had a code of honor. you watch my back, I watch yours. Back here there's nothin'." - John Rambo speaks volumes about some of the lost, misuderstood, burnt-out, underappreciated American Soldiers of the Vietnam War in "First Blood"

After the success of "Rocky III", in the Summer of 1982, Sylvester Stallone's next film, titled "First Blood", would introduce the movie going audience with his second trademark character, a Vietnam Veteran turned drifter who pushes back after being pushed too far.

"First Blood" opens with, Vietnam Vet., John Rambo searching for Delmar Barry, a friend of his that served with Rambo in the Special Forces. Rambo finds where Barry was staying and is shocked to find out that his friend died from cancer, contracted from Agent Orange.

Shocked at the loss of his friend, alone, & alienated, Rambo walks the cold highway into the local town of "Hope" to get food & rest. But, not if the local Sheriff, Will Teasle, has his say. Spotting Rambo on the entrance road into town, Teasle stops his cruiser and insists on giving Rambo a ride... to the otherside of town, with the next town being Portland, 30 miles away. Teasle informs Rambo that "his kind" isn't welcome in town & Teasle's job is to keep it that way.

Rambo, tired of this King S*it Cop, decides to walk back into town & promptly arrested for vagrancy & resisting arrest. After more brutality by Teasle's second in command & fellow officers, Rambo has had enough. Taking matters into his own hands, Rambo breaks out of the Sheriff's Station & proceeds to lead a one man war against the local law enforcement & anything that stands in his way.

A nice surprise comes over the teletype as Teasle and his men are informed that Rambo served in the Special Forces, Green Beret & has been decorated more times than Teasle's artificial Christmas Tree.
"Green Berets, their real bada*ses."

Teasle leads his men into the mountains to hunt & capture Rambo. But, to Teasle's horror, Rambo takes out each officer, including Teasle.

It seems that no man, no law, & no war can stop Rambo, but the tide may turn with the arrival of Colonel Sam Trautman, Rambo's former CO in the war, to talk him down & bring him in.
"GOD didn't make Rambo. I did."

Filmed on location in British Columbia, & Vancouver through November 1981 to January 1982, the production of "First Blood" was taxing to say the least, especially for star Sylvester Stallone.

Stallone wore a tank top throughout much of the film, with the weather being ten to fifteen below zero. The water for the brief shot of Rambo hiding from the National Guard was 39 degrees farenheit (thats coldass water to hide in).

The most valuable prop from the film wasn't the Rambo knife used in the film, but, the dirty piece of tarp that Rambo finds in the junkyard and turns into a makeshift poncho. The scene was filmed in one take with Stallone improvising, taking the tarp slashing a hole through the middle of it with his survival knife, putting it ove rhis head, and tying it off with a piece of rope. Direstor, Ted Kotcheff liked the scene so much he kept the scene, but, when the production found out that was the only tarp in the yard, it was up to the propwrangler to keep an eye on the poncho night and day. After the film wrapped Stallone had the tarp framed & resides in his personal collection to this day.

Kirk Douglas was originaly going to star in "First Blood" as Colonel Trautman (there is even conceptual poster art produced, with Stallone & Douglas featured promenantly). But, with a sudden change to the ending of the film, Douglas renigged on the role even after the writers considered his demands. Three days before the film's startdate Richard Crenna signed on & I can't imagine anyone else in the role.

This special edition to "First Blood" is, so far, the definitive version to own (the new "Ultimate" edition doesn't come close). Features include a widescreen transfer, Dolby Digital & DTS 5.1 Surround, and outstanding audio commentary by creator & author David Morrell. Also, featured is a behind the scenes look back at the making of the film & trailers.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic, April 25, 2000
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: First Blood (DVD)
Everything about this is brilliant. From Goldsmith's rousing score to Stallone's perfect performance. Yes, you heard me. Stallone does act in this movie. I feel so sorry for Rambo. People are real nasty to him. Especially the deputy with the moustache. He was a real jerk. The scene in which Rambo finally explodes in the jail cell is way cool. The music that goes with this scene is SO intense.

The Pacific Northwest scenery is also very beautiful and atmospheric. The sound design seems to be crafted so that dialogue sound natural like it would in a mountain forest or in dead cold environments where the air cannot carry sound so well.

The Blu Ray looks and sounds brilliant. I highly recommend that you buy this and the soundtrack. This is a proper movie by the way. I know that the character of Rambo became a 'little' exaggerated and silly in the sequels but do not let that alter your opinion of this movie.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "First Blood": A Praiseworthy Action Film, December 12, 2003
Daniel R. Sanderman (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
"First Blood" has to be, without a doubt, one of my favorite action films of all time. I believe that I enjoy it so much because it does a nice job of balancing action scenes with drama. Thus, this film does not reek of the overkill violence that plagues the two sequels (as well as the films of other action stars). Stallone actually does some acting in this film. His performance as a Vietnam Vet come home to find a thankless country is compelling and his emotional breakdown near the end of the film is fantastic. There is a lot of suspense in this film and the characters are certainly memorable. Rambo has a clear enemy in this film, played by Brian Dennehy. He is not taking on the country of Vietnam or the Russians-he is simply defending himself from a small-town cop.
My recommendation is to see this film and forget about the two sequels. Of course, any die-hard Rambo fan will tell you that the action sequences only become better as the movies progressed, but they sacrifice much to do this in my opinion. If you enjoy action films with a little class, you'll love "First Blood."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THEY DON'T MAKE MOVIES LIKE THIS ANYMORE!!, October 22, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: First Blood (DVD)
What can I say, this movie rocks! from beginning to end,
this movie hits you right in the gut. From the opening scene of John Rambo finding out his only surviving war buddy, succumbed to cancer to being badgered and tormented by the local sheriff!
The acting is superb and so is the action. This film has a very
realistic appeal to it with lots of good ideas and great camera work and not over produced! which also lacks in movies today, using over produced scenes w/computer graphics, poor acting and story lines! This film is under 1 1/2 hrs long, but there is more heart, action, and great acting that does not even compare to movies today that drag out over 3 hrs long!!
Artisan does an excellent job of putting out this movie, great widescreen edition and cool on screen menu w/ extras. What a difference compared to video tape. The surround sound is good too. What really would have made the DVD extra nice, if the sound was in 5.1 digital with better bass for explosions.
Aside from that I give this movie 4 1/2 stars!
Good job Artisan!
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First Blood
First Blood by Ted Kotcheff (DVD - 2004)
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