First Blood


First Blood

Critics Consensus

Much darker and more sensitive than the sequels it spawned, First Blood is a thrilling survival adventure that takes full advantage of Sylvester Stallone's acting skills.



Total Count: 45


Audience Score

User Ratings: 138,968
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Movie Info

A former Green Beret must use all of the guerrilla tactics he learned in Vietnam to save himself after he is falsely accused of a crime while visiting the lush and wild Pacific Northwest in this heart-pounding actioner. This is the Sylvester Stallone film that introduced the world to the Rambo character who would go on to headline a couple of sequels.


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Critic Reviews for First Blood

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (39) | Rotten (6)

  • There's another appeal in Rambo. Simplicity. Successful action justifies all.

    Jan 8, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The darker tone, somber subtext, and generally non-exploitative violence allow viewers to enjoy the film not only as an action/thriller but as something with a degree of intelligence and substance.

    Apr 30, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • This action film hangs on an interesting reversal, taking the crazed-killer-in-the-woods theme from Friday the 13th and turning it inside out-- the psychopath is now our hero, a maladjusted ex-Green Beret played by Sylvester Stallone.

    Mar 1, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Director Ted Kotcheff has all sorts of trouble with this mess, aside from credibility.

    Mar 1, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • As a Stallone vehicle this is sleek, slick and not unexciting, but crassly castrates the David Morrell novel on which it is based.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Sylvester Stallone is one of the great physical actors in the movies, with a gift for throwing himself so fearlessly into an action scene that we can't understand why somebody doesn't really get hurt.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for First Blood

  • Nov 23, 2017
    To many, Sylvester Stallone is an easy target: he looks like a boxer well past his prime. In actuality, he's an incredibly talented filmmaker, and in this case, an actor. First Blood is essentially a commentary on the state of American war veterans after they were withdrawn from Vietnam. They were largely neglected upon their return, and were often called "baby killers" for what the American citizens presumed was a part of their duties. It follows John J. Rambo, a Vietnam war veteran searching for one of his old comrades. Upon learning his fate, Rambo walks through a small town in Washington state, and crosses paths with a vicious and hateful sheriff. One thing leads to another, and Rambo is being chased by local police, state police, and The National Guard. Leading this pack is his old colonel, Sam Trautman: the only man with a chance of saving the armed forces from Rambo. The tension that builds between Rambo and the police department in the first act sets the stage for a nail biting action film. Stallone performed almost all of the stunts, including one in which he jumps off a cliff and is halted by a series of branches. It was during this sequence that Stallone actually broke his ribs. The finale contains one of my favorite movie monologues ever, and it's delivered with such strong emotion and heart; this is direct evidence that Stallone can not only look the part, but he can play the part as well. First Blood is one of the best action movies ever made, and it's elevated by Stallone's versatile and all-in performance. When Rambo meets the sheriff again face-to-face, he tells him "in town you're the law, but out here it's me." The same can be said about his abilities as an actor, and he has every right to say it off camera as he does on camera.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • May 02, 2016
    This is another franchise I have never seen. I was expecting just all out over the top violence but this was far more thought provoking and it was much better for it.
    Ian W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 08, 2016
    The most well written of the Rambo films. While the sequels were more mindless entertainment oriented, this film has a much more emotional focus on the character of John Rambo and features very thrilling scenes, well written dialogue and a great story. First Blood is one of the best action films of all time featuring lots of thrills and a very great performance by Sylvester Stallone.
    Mr N Super Reviewer
  • Sep 19, 2015
    First Blood introduced us to Sylvester Stallone's second iconic character of his career. A war-battered former green beret searching for friends 8-10 years after returning home from Vietnam. Unable to find them, or finding they have all died, John Rambo is at his breaking point when he crosses paths with an abusive, highly prejudiced sheriff, played perfectly by Brian Dennehy. Stallone does some real acting here and the action is, at times, over the top, but mostly it doesn't take away from the story. It does get a bit sillier in the third act, and Stallone's monologue at the end is legendary for being almost impossible to understand. However, where Rambo, First Blood Part II requires that you turn off your brain and enjoy the mind-numbing violence. First Blood actually has a decent story, characters and some acting, even from Stallone. A decent early 80's actioner and easily the best of the series, although die-hard Rambo fans will probably argue that Part II is better. The violence in part II is thrilling, at times, and there are some memorable, iconic scenes (the leeches while soaking in pig feces, the Russian interrogation scene). But this is the better movie.
    Mark H Super Reviewer

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