First Blood

1982 film directed by Ted Kotcheff

First Blood is a 1982 film about a Vietnam War veteran who's pushed to the limit by a town sheriff indifferent to drifters like him.

Directed by Ted Kotcheff. Written by Michael Kozoll, William Sackheim, and Sylvester Stallone, based on the novel by David Morrell.
One war against one man.taglines

John Rambo

  • [with knife at Sheriff Teasle's neck] I could have killed 'em all, I could kill you. In town you're the law, out here it's me. Don't push it. Don't push it or I'll give you a war you won't believe. Let it go. Let it go.


Rambo: There's one man dead. It's not my fault. I don't want any more hurt.
Sheriff Teasle: [on top of a cliff above Rambo] Freeze, stand right where you are, give yourself up.
Rambo: But I didn't do anything.
Sheriff Teasle: I'm warning you boy, don't make a move or I'll blow your head off.
Rambo: [backing away] I didn't do anything.

Deputy Lester: [referring to the mistreatment of Rambo] I was just talking to Mitch, and he said that Gault and a couple of the deputies were... a little hard on the guy.
Capt. Kern: Assholes!
Sheriff Teasle: It doesn't make one goddamn bit of difference, Dave, and you know it! If one of my deputies... gets out of line with a prisoner then the prisoner comes to me with it. And if I find out it's like he says I kick the deputy's ass! Me! The Law! People start fucking around with the law then all hell breaks loose! Whatever possessed God in heaven to make a man like Rambo?
[An Army officer named Trautman appears at the tent entrance and calls to them]
Trautman: God didn't make Rambo, I made him!
Teasle: Who the hell are you?
Trautman: Sam Trautman, Colonel Samuel Trautman.
Teasle: Look, we're a little busy this morning, Colonel. What can I do for you?
Trautman: I've come to get my boy.
Kern: Your boy?
Trautman: I recruited him. I trained him. I commanded him in Vietnam for three years. I'd say that makes him mine.
Teasle: I wonder why the Pentagon would send a full-bird Colonel down here to handle this.
Trautman: The Army thought I might be able to help
Teasle: [scoffs] I don't know. In what way? Rambo's a civilian now, he's my problem.
Trautman: I don't think you understand. I didn't come here to rescue Rambo from you. I came here to rescue you from him.
Teasle: [clearly taken aback by Trautman's words] Well, we all appreciate your concern Colonel, I will try to be extra careful!
Trautman: I'm just amazed he allowed any of your posse to live.
Teasle: Is that right?
Trautman: Strictly speaking, he slipped up. You're lucky to be breathing.
Teasle: [sets aside paper, annoyed at the remark] That's just great. Colonel, you came out here to find out why one of your machines blew a gasket!
Trautman: You don't seem to want to accept the fact that you're dealing with an expert in guerrilla warfare, with a man who's the best! With guns, with knives, with his bare hands! A man who's been trained to ignore pain! To ignore weather! To live off the land! To eat things that would make a billy goat puke! In Vietnam his job was to dispose of enemy personnel... to kill, period! Win by attrition... well, Rambo was THE BEST!
Teasle: Now we're afraid, what do you and the special forces suggest we do with the psychopath?
Trautman: Let him go.
Teasle: What?
Trautman: First for now. Defuse the situation, defuse him. Let him get away. You'll soon find him in Seattle, working in a car wash. That way no-one gets hurt.
Teasle: I'll do my job myself, instead of praying they catch him in Seattle!
Col. Trautman: If you send your people in there after him they'll get killed.
Sheriff Teasle: [getting more irritated] You know, we're just a small, hick-town sheriff's department, Colonel, but we're expected to do our duty just like our heroes in the Special Forces.
Trautman: In Special Forces we teach our people to stay alive in the line of duty.
Teasle: No shit, I never thought of that.
Trautman: You want a war you can't win?
Teasle: Are you tellin' me that 200 of our men against your boy is a no-win situation for us?
Trautman: You send that many, don't forget one thing.
Teasle: What?
Trautman: A good supply of body-bags.

Col. Trautman: Company leader calling Raven, come on Raven, company leader calling Raven, company leader to Raven, talk to me Johnny, covey leader to identify Baker Team: Rambo, Messner, Ortega, Colletta, Jorgensen, Danforth, Barry, Krackhauer, confirm, this is Col. Trautman, talk to me Johnny.
Rambo: [on the radio] They're all gone sir.
Sheriff Teasle: It's him, that's him, get on it.
Col. Trautman: Rambo, are you alright? over.
Rambo: Baker Team, they're all dead sir.
Col. Trautman: [on the radio] Not Delmar Barry, he made it.
Rambo: Barry's gone too sir.
Col. Trautman: [on the radio] How?
Rambo: Got himself killed in Nam, didn't even know it, cancer ate him down to the bone.
Col. Trautman: I'm sorry, I didn't know.
Rambo: I'm the last one sir.
Col. Trautman: [on the radio] Hey it's good to hear your voice Johnny, it's been a long time. Look John, you've done some damage here...
Soldier: That's it.
Sheriff Teasle: [informed of triangulated signal] He's northwest, he's northwest.
Col. Trautman: ...But they don't want any more trouble. That's why I've come. I want to come in there and fly you the hell out. Just you and me. We'll work this thing out together. Is that fair enough?
Rambo: Where'd you come from sir?
Trautman: Bragg.
Rambo: I tried to get in touch with you, but the guys at Bragg never knew where to find you.
Trautman: Yeah well, I haven't been spending much time there lately, they've got me down in D.C. I'm shining a seat with my ass.
Rambo: I wish I was back in Bragg now.
Trautman: We'll talk about that when you come in.
Rambo: I can't do that sir.
Trautman: Look John, we can't have you running around out there wasting friendly civilians.
Rambo: There are no friendly civilians!
Trautman: I'm your friend Johnny! I was there with you knee-deep in all that blood and guts. I covered your ass more than once. Seems like bailing you out of trouble's got to be a life-time job for me.
Rambo: There wouldn't be no trouble except for that king-shit cop! All I wanted was something to eat, but the man kept pushing sir.
Trautman: Well, you did some pushing on your own John.
Rambo: They drew First Blood, not me.
Trautman: Look Johnny, let me come in and get you the hell out of there!
Rambo: They drew First Blood... [signs off]
Trautman: Rambo, are you still reading me? Company leader to Raven! Rambo! Acknowledge!
Sheriff Teasle: He's all finished Colonel, we've got a real good fix on him though, come first light I'm gonna put every man I got up on that ridge, then we'll get him my way, alright, look now, I want you stretch a skirmish line right across this ridge.
Col. Trautman: Goddamn it!

Sheriff Teasle: He was just another drifter who broke the law!
Col. Trautman: Vagrancy, wasn't it? That's gonna look real good on his gravestone in Arlington: Here lies John Rambo, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, survivor of countless incursions behind enemy lines. Killed for vagrancy in Jerkwater, USA.
Teasle: Now don't give me any of that crap, Trautman. Do you think Rambo was the only guy who had a tough time in Vietnam? He killed a police officer for Christ's sake!
Trautman: You're goddamn lucky he didn't kill all of you.!

[Rambo fires a gunshot from his M60 knocking Teasle down and prepares to kill him at gunpoint, until Trautman's voice calls to him]
Col. Trautman: RAMBO! Rambo, don't do it! Listen to me, Rambo! You have no chance. Drop your weapon. We're going to order a chopper in and fly you back to Bragg. [the men opened fire and Trautman ordered them to hold their fire as Rambo attempts to re-arm himself and he calls out to him, convincing him to surrender] Think about what you're doing. The building's perimeter is covered. No exits. There are nearly 200 men out there and a lot of M-16s. You did everything to make this private war happen. [blocks Rambo and grabs M-16] You've done enough damage! This mission is over, Rambo. Do you understand me? This mission is over! [goes to floodlit windows and gestures about barricade] Look at 'em out there. Look at 'em! If you won't end this now, they will kill you. Is that what you want? It's over, Johnny. It's over!
Rambo: NOTHING IS OVER! Nothing! You just don't turn it off! It wasn't my war! You asked me, I didn't ask you! And I did what I had to do to win, but somebody wouldn't let us win! And I come back to the world, and I see all those maggots at the airport, protestin' me, spittin', callin' me "Baby Killer!", and all kinds of vile crap! Who are they to protest me, huh?! Who are they, unless they been me and been there, and know what the Hell they're yellin' about?!
Trautman: It was a bad time for everyone, Rambo. It's all in the past now.
Rambo: For you! For me, civilian life is nothing! In the field, we had a code of honor: You watch my back, I watch yours. Back here, there's nothin'!
Trautman: You're the last of an elite group. Don't end it like this.
Rambo: Back there, I could fly a gunship. I could drive a tank. I was in charge of million-dollar equipment! Back here, I can't even hold a job parking cars! [angrily throws machine gun at wall, and screams; voice breaking] I can't-- I just-- Oh, my God. Where is everybody? Oh, God. I had a friend, was Danforth. I had all these guys, man. Back there, I had all these fucking guys, who were my friends. 'Cause back here, there's nothing. Remember Danforth? [Trautman nods] He wore this black headband, and I took one of those magic markers, that I said he found. He mailed it to Las Vegas, 'cause we were always talking about Vegas, and this fuckin' car, this red '58 Chevy convertible, he was talking about this car; he said we were gonna cruise 'til the tires fall off. [begins sobbing] We were in this bar in Saigon and this kid comes up, this kid carrying a shoe-shine box. And he says, uh, "Shine, please, shine!" I said "No." He kept askin', yeah, and Joey said "Yeah." And, I went to get a couple beers, and the-- The box was wired, and he opened up the box, fucking blew his body all over the place. And he's laying there, and he's fuckin' screaming, there's pieces of him all over me, just... [forcefully yanks off his bandoleer] this, and I'm tryin' to pull him off, you know, and i-- My friend that's all over me! I got blood and everything, and I'm tryin' to hold him together, I put him together, his fuckin' insides keep comin' out, and nobody would help! Nobody'd help, and he's sayin' "Hey, I wanna go home! I wanna go home!" He keeps calling my name! "I wanna go home, Johnny! I wanna drive my Chevy!" I said "With what?! I can't find your fuckin' legs! I can't find your legs!" [voice breaking] I can't get it out of my head. I've-- I've dreamed this seven years. Every day, I have this. And sometimes, I wake up, and I don't know where I am. I don't talk to anybody. Sometimes a day...a week... [about to cry] ...I can't put it out of my mind. [breaks down crying and embraces Trautman who consoles him while he continues crying]


  • One war against one man.
  • This time he's fighting for his life.
  • A one man war.


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