John James Rambo
Weapon of Choice
Former Green Beret, mercenary, stick fighter, handyman, riverboat captain, snake catcher
Keep those close to him safe, live a quiet life
Justice, who he is, protection for friends
Raven, Lone Wolf (field names)
- "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.
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 informations about Rambo and history here)
Although Rambo appears to be a butch, action stereotype, the character of John Rambo is actually a broken 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 posttraumatic 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.
Rambo has a total killcount so far of 220, not counting the 59 confirmed Vietnam kills.
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. Peter Gunnarsson Rambo sailed from Sweden to New Sweden in the 1640s, and soon the name would flourish in New Sweden. 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 inspiraction 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 and Military ServiceEdit
John Rambo was born on July 6, 1947 to R. Rambo and Marie Drago in Kingman, Arizona. It is revealed by Marshall Murdock after reading his file in Rambo: First Blood Part II that he was 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 tribeal 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.
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 languages such as Vietnamese (possibly Thai, Burmese, Chinese, Laotian and Khmer also), to operate advanced static and firearm weaponry including tanks and helicopters, guerilla warfare, demolitions, paratrooping, marksmanship and survival skills. Rambo would go on to recieve 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.
During his three year tour of duty, 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. 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 feces and garbage 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.
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.
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, 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. Karry Was Here
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.Karry Was Here
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,Karry Was Here 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.Karry Was Here
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.Karry Was Here
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.
Alternate Ending Edit
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.Karry Was Here
- "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 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.Karry Was Here
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 to a POW camp where he is able to rescue a captive. However, escaping requires him to kill a number of enemy soldiers with his bow. The trio then escape by boat but are attacked by a gunboat.Karry Was Here
Rambo destroys the gunboat with a rocket-launcher. When Rambo calls for extraction, he is denied 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 campKarry Was HerKarry Was Heree 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 confKarry Was Hereess 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 insteadKarry Was Here 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.Karry Was Here
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, specially by Lieutenant Tay happily shot Co by his insanely. Enraged and distraught by Co's death, he kills them all (except for their commander, who escapes, but is later killed by one of Rambo's exploding arrows) and then buries Co's body in the jungle so her body is not scavenged upon by animaKarry Was Herels.Karry Was Here
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 VietKarry Was Herenamese soldiers using Karry Was Hereguerrilla 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 Karry Was Herebooby-trap explosion that ignites a fire, burning many of the Vietnamese soldiers.Karry Was Here
While still running away from the soldiers, a Soviet attack helicopter finds Rambo and drops a keg of explosives down on him. Rambo dives off a cliff into a river as the keg explodes. The Soviet helicopter pursues him, shoKarry Was Hereoting bullets into theKarry Was Here water. As the helicopter gets closer to the water while shooting bullets, Rambo jumps up from under the water, yaKarry Was Herenks the gunman into the water, and climKarry Was Herebs into the helicopter where he confronts the Soviet soldier who tortured him. As they wrestle inside the helicopter, the helicopter flies away and Rambo throws the Soviet soldier outKarry Was Here of the helicopter to the latter's death. As Rambo approaches the pilot, the pilot also jumps out of the helicopter.Karry Was Here
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 picksKarry Was Here up the captives in the chopper. While flying to Thailand, another Soviet attack helicopter tails Rambo's. After its pilot 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 will you 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.
- "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, apologizing, 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.
- "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 meager 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 "Schoolboy" 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.
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?"
- Medal of Honor
Rambo: First Blood Part IIEdit
- 2 Silver Stars
- 4 Bronze Stars for Valor
- 4 Purple Hearts
- Distinguished Service Cross
In a deleted scene, Rambo's Class A 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.
- 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 theraputic. 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.
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 mostlikely 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, espescially 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.
Appearance and AttireEdit
Rambo is a male of average height. He has tanned skin, long 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
During his tour of duty in Vietnam, and imprisonment, Rambo wore his hair in a shorter style, and also sported a mustache. He wore a jungle camouflage patterned headband.
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 IIEdit
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 jeans, and brown boots.
While on the base, he wears a red t-shirt shirt, blue jeans and black 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'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's hair is still very long though it is straighter and neater than before. He wears a dark grey t-shirt and black 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.)
Skills and Abilities Edit
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 and 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 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.)
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. 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.
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.
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 cauterizing 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 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.
In Popular CultureEdit
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.
- 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.
|V • D • E|| |
|Films:||First Blood • Rambo: First Blood Part II • Rambo III • Rambo|
|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|
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