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Rambo:First Blood

Sylvester Stallone , Brian Dennehy , Ted Kotcheff    R (Restricted)   VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)

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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 to 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

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The original Theatrical Aspect Ratio for First Blood was anamorphic widescreen - 2.35:1 (cinemascope). On its 35mm cinema film neg & stock, it is compressed horizontally in a 2:1 ratio. This interprets that on the film, it will roughly be 1.17:1 and on screen, it will magnify and stretch to its intended 2.35:1 format.
What deterred me from buying this particular DVD is that on its "Technical Information" page, it has listed this DVD's aspect ratio for Widescreen as - 1.85:1 (which is generally non-anamorphic and flat) suggesting that it has been incorrectly set to - "Letterbox" (used to cover production mechanics such as lens' barn doors, sound booms, etc.). If this is the case, certain part of its image that was originally viewed in the cinemas would now be blocked out. That's almost as bad as the 1.33:1 pan & scan. Maybe it's an info error?
I like to watch movies in the format it was intended to be seen by the filmmakers. Also, I can never understand why anyone would want to own an inferior full-screen/pan & scan format. It's like watching half a movie.
On this DVD release, it seems the studios have provided both widescreen & full-screen. I assume this equates to having both sides of the disc being used. It would have been better served to have an attractive picture on one side to reduce accidental handling faults such as dirt or finger prints on the read-areas of the disc. Of course, the flip side should be the majority's choice - Widescreen (when available).
An option for English subtitles would have been great too. When actors tend to mumble, it is handy to be able to rewind to a particular scene and turn on the subtitles to find out what the character in the script was supposed to have said.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Blood Rambo is Best of Series Sept. 23 2003
In "First Blood" Sylvester Stallone is John Rambo a wandering ex-Green Beret looking for a former Vietnam buddy in a small hostile town. Rambo is unjustly harassed and arrested by over zealous Sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy). When Rambo is pushed to the limit he strikes back and single handedly beats up several officers in route to an escape into the surrounding hills.
Now that Rambo is back in his element things get interesting as a member of Teasle's posse unwittingly draws "First Blood" (hence the title) unleashing the wrath that is Rambo! The subsequent hoopla and bombast that accompanied the remaining two installments to the series really overshadow the quality of "First Blood." Stallone is at his monosyllabic best with a screenplay that keeps the dialogue down and revs the action up. Veteran action director Ted Kotcheff expertly handles the key set piece of the film that shows Rambo deftly ambushing several unsuspecting victims with such precision that none of them is fatally wounded. Finally Rambo comes face to face with his accuser Sheriff Teasle to issue an ultimatum that actually does more to up the stakes rather then cool the situation down. Rambo's former commanding officer Trautmen (Richard Crenna) is brought in for advice but instead issues his own declaration when he tells Sheriff Teasle that if he continues to pursue Rambo he better have a lot of body bags.
"First Blood" is really a study in wills and the stubbornness not to know when to back down. Sheriff Teasle is not able to admit that he is over matched and Rambo uses the injustice he has suffered both in the small town and in Vietnam as a reason to let his fury rage on an unsuspecting populace. Recent films like the disappointing "The Hunted" would have done well to mimic the terse sensibilities that served "First Blood" so well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Legend Begins Sept. 22 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This 1982 film introduced the character "John Rambo", and was followed by other films that portrayed a powerful but misunderstood superhero. Rambo is arrested for walking through a small town, but makes his escape against great odds. He flees into the wilderness, Sheriff Teasel's men in hot pursuit. [Does this remind you of some early Hitchcock films?] The many forces combined against one man prove unequal. ["A Fistful of Dollars" or "Yojimbo"?] Like some Hitchcock films, the visuals are used more than dialog for the story.
Most of the film is devoted to the hunt for Rambo in the cold, rainy forest. Rambo eludes his pursuers, the hunted becomes the hunter. The dead and wounded are brought out of the wilderness. The forces against Rambo are escalated, yet success eludes them. Colonel Trautmann, who trained Rambo to be the best killing machine, shows up to confront the Sheriff, and attempts to end the conflict by a political solution ("let him go, get him later").
The burning gas station echoes that scene in "The Birds", a film about Nature taking revenge. Shooting into electrical transformers creates a blackout that is all too familiar. The explosions and fires are another disaster. Does the ending with the Colonel remind you of Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men"? While Rambo walks away, the rest of the story is left to your imagination.
The military trains its guard dogs to be vicious, and to obey only their handler. When the handler leaves the service, his dog is destroyed; it has outlived its usefulness. This film is important as an example of propaganda in the movies. A psychotic drifter who kills police and National Guardsmen is portrayed as a hero! Could this happen in real life? Does the failure of the hunt for Rambo echo the Vietnam war? Does the attack on the town portend future terrorism?
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A good old classic action movie
Published 1 month ago by William A. Bolduc
5.0 out of 5 stars Good action movie.
Lots of action and violence but with a good story behind it. This was my kind of movie back when it was made.
Published 11 months ago by David C. McKay
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Movie!
I've seen all the other Rambo movies but there always seemed to be some information missing. First Blood fills in the blanks. I would recommend this movie to all Rambo fans.
Published 18 months ago by Ken
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic Rambo
DVDis of good quality. Wanted this product because it was the first Rambo and probably the best one in the series.
Published 19 months ago by Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars First Blood review
A classic film of it's era. Very authentic acting. Compelling movie set in the mountains of Brittish Columbia. Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2011 by NewfoundlanderAdrift
5.0 out of 5 stars "I Didn't Come to Protect Rambo From You,I Came to Protect You From...
In 1982 Sylvester Stallone releases yet another fantastic movie with "First Blood",the first in the Rambo series. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2008 by Tommy Sixx Morais
4.0 out of 5 stars It is like stepping into a nightmare
When your only skill is to kill and you have had enough of that, you tend to wander. This is the circumstance in which we find John J. Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) Vietnam vet. Read more
Published on June 29 2006 by bernie
4.0 out of 5 stars A tremendous movie....
When Sylvester Stallone is involved....you know youre going to get terrific action. But the movies story and Stallones character of John Rambo are very interesting as well. Read more
Published on July 14 2004 by Joe Clay
5.0 out of 5 stars America missed the meaning of this movie
I remember seeing this movie for the first time on July 4, 1984. I know back then I was into long hair, and alot of 60's and 70's music. Read more
Published on July 2 2004 by D. R Hayes
5.0 out of 5 stars First Blood is still best of three Rambo movies
The first Rambo movie called First Blood was released in the fall of 1982. The movie was arguably Sylvester Stallone's best performance since Rocky II. Read more
Published on June 21 2004 by Terrence J Reardon
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