When you manage to strike it big as a movie star, you’re exceedingly lucky if you can get that one iconic role that everyone will remember you for – but to many, it’s both a blessing and a curse. Some actors have bristled at typecasting, and many struggle to follow up such a role. Such a thing happened to Sylvester Stallone in the wake of Rocky, but for the superstar – something rare would happen. Lightning would strike twice, as in 1982, we’d meet his second most iconic character: Rambo. FIRST BLOOD would show the world there was more to Stallone than Rocky Balboa, and indeed, introduce a character he continues playing to this day.
Join us as we take a look back into what went into making this seminal film. We examine the novel by David Morell that gave birth to the character and the numerous false starts the film had before it made its way to the silver screen, with everyone from Steve McQueen to Paul Newman at one point wanting to play Rambo. We also dig into the troubled production of the film itself, with battles between Stallone and director Ted Kotcheff, the eleventh-hour departure of original co-star Kirk Douglas, a disastrous first cut, and an alternate ending no one knew existed until a few years ago.
We also examine how Stallone himself adjusted the character for the big screen, paving the way for him to star in a sequel (Rambo: First Blood Part 2) which ranks as perhaps the most popular action film of the eighties. But, most importantly, we examine how the series proved Stallone was bankable outside of the Rocky franchise, with him emerging in the wake of this film as a true global superstar, a position he maintains to this day. Find out all about First Blood in this episode of Sylvester Stallone Revisited!