Rambo: First Blood Part II

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Rambo: First Blood Part II
Rambo first blood part ii.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by George P. Cosmatos
Produced by Buzz Feitshans
Screenplay by Sylvester Stallone
James Cameron
Story by Kevin Jarre
Based on Characters 
by David Morrell
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Jack Cardiff
Edited by Larry Bock
Mark Goldblatt
Mark Helfrich
Gib Jaffe
Frank E. Jiminez
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release dates
  • May 22, 1985 (1985-05-22)
Running time
96 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25.5 million[2]
Box office $300.4 million[3]

Rambo: First Blood Part II (also known as Rambo II or First Blood II) is a 1985 American action film directed by George P. Cosmatos and starring Sylvester Stallone. The screenplay was by Stallone and James Cameron. A sequel to 1982's First Blood, it is the second installment in the Rambo series, with Stallone reprising his role as Vietnam veteran John Rambo. Picking up where the first film left, the sequel is set in the context of the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue; it sees Rambo released from prison by federal order to document the possible existence of POWs in Vietnam, under the belief that he will find nothing, thus enabling the government to sweep the issue under the rug.

Despite negative reviews, First Blood Part II was a major box office success, as well as the most recognized and memorable installment in the series, having inspired countless rip-offs, parodies, video games, and imitations.

The film was on the ballot for the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Cheers, a list of America's most inspiring movies.[4] Entertainment Weekly ranked the movie number 23 on its list of The Best Rock-'em, Sock-'em Movies of the Past 25 Years.[5]


John Rambo, having been sentenced to hard labor, is working in a labor camp prison when he gets a visit from his former commander, Colonel Sam Trautman. Trautman offers Rambo the chance to be released from prison after the events of the first film and given full clemency on condition of him going back to Vietnam to search for POWs. Rambo meets Marshal Murdock, an American bureaucrat who is in charge of the operation, and he tells Rambo that the public is demanding knowledge about the POWs and they want a trained commando to search for them. Rambo is briefed that he is only to photograph the POWs and not to rescue them, nor is he to engage any enemy soldiers. Rambo reluctantly agrees and is told that an agent of the US government will receive him in the jungles of Vietnam.

Rambo parachutes into the Vietnamese jungles but loses most of his equipment because his parachute line gets caught on the plane on exit. He is left only with his knives and his bow and arrows. He meets the agent, a local woman named Co-Bao, who wants to go to the US and who arranges for her and Rambo to go upstream with a group of river pirates. Rambo comes to the camp, and in contradiction to his briefing, he finds the POWs there and rescues one of them from torture. Later at the camp, a patrol discovers a dead sentry whom Rambo eliminated with a throwing knife. In response, a large patrol goes into the jungles in search of the (unknown to them) intruder. Rambo, Co and the POW escape with the pirates but are attacked by a Vietnam People's Navy gunboat and are betrayed by the pirates; Rambo sends Co and the POW to safety and destroys the gunboat with an RPG-7 and kills all the pirates. When Rambo calls for extraction, the helicopter comes but goes back as Murdock fears what will happen to him and his party if the public come to know about it.

Rambo and the POW are recaptured and sent back to the POW camp. Rambo's wrists are bound to an oxen yoke and he is lowered partially naked into a leech-infested cesspit. Later, Rambo learns that the Soviet Army is aiding the Vietnamese and training them, and is tortured by a Soviet officer, Lt. Col. Podovsky and his silent, robust henchman, Sergeant Yushin. After a transcript of earlier communications is read to him, Rambo is ordered to contact the military and tell them that they should not send any more commandos for rescue operations in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Co infiltrates the camp in the disguise of a prostitute and comes to the hut in which Rambo is held captive. Rambo at first refuses to cooperate, but to protect the POW that he saved previously he seemingly agrees to Podovsky's condition. However, when he is given the microphone he instead threatens Murdock on the radio. With that, Rambo takes Podovsky and Yushin by surprise and escapes, with Co bursting on the scene and firing at the Vietcong. He escapes from captivity into a nearby jungle with Co's help. Co tends to Rambo's wounds and implores him to take her to the US. Rambo agrees, and they kiss; however, they are then attacked by Vietnamese soldiers, and Co is killed. Rambo kills them and buries Co's body in the jungle.

Following his escape, the camp's Vietnamese soldiers and Soviet commandos look for him. Rambo assembles his weapons, and using guerrilla warfare tactics, kills a large number of enemy troops. He proceeds to a small enemy camp and destroys it and several vehicles with explosive arrows.[6] He hijacks a helicopter from the Soviets after throwing Sergeant Yushin out and proceeds towards the POW camp. He destroys most of the camp with the helicopter, then lands and arms himself with the machine gun that is mounted on the Huey, kills the remaining soldiers, and rescues all the POWs. They get to the helicopter and head towards the US camp in Thailand. Lt. Col. Podovsky chases them in his Mil Mi-24 helicopter gunship. Although Rambo's helicopter is heavily damaged by Podovsky's helicopter, he lands on a river, then fakes his death. When Podovsky comes near him and gets careless, Rambo fires a rocket at Podovsky's chopper, destroying it.

Rambo then returns to the base and wrecks Murdock's command center using the helicopter's machine gun. He confronts the terrified Murdock with his knife, demanding that Murdock rescue the remaining POWs in Vietnam. Trautman then comforts Rambo and tries to pacify him. An angry Rambo responds that he only wants his country to love its soldiers as much as its soldiers love it. The film credits roll as Rambo walks off into the distance while his mentor watches him.



Producers considered that Rambo would have a partner in the rescue mission of POWs. The producers allegedly wanted John Travolta to play Rambo's partner, but Stallone vetoed the idea.[7] Lee Marvin (who was considered to play Colonel Trautman in the first film) was also originally set to play Marshall Murdock, but declined. James Cameron wrote a first draft under the title First Blood II, which originally had the idea of Travolta as Rambo's partner, but the concept was dropped and Stallone rewrote the script to have Rambo go solo.

Filming schedule[edit]

The film was shot between June and August 1984.

Shooting locations[edit]

The film was shot entirely on location in Mexico. The waterfall explosion scene was shot in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico and the rest of the film in Tecoanapa, Guerrero, Mexico.


Box office[edit]

Rambo: First Blood Part II opened in the US on May 22, 1985, and was the #1 film that weekend, taking in $20,176,217 on 2,074 screens (which made it the first film in the US to be shown on 2,000+ screens). Overall, in the US, the film grossed $150,415,432 and $149,985,000 internationally, giving First Blood Part II a box office total of $300,400,432.[3]

Rentals and overall figures[edit]

The film grossed $78,919,000 in rentals in the US alone. DVDs of each of the first three movies in the series have been released and selling since 1998, but no figures are available for these yet. As the movie took $300,400,432 at the box office and $78,919,000 from US rentals, it is estimated that with European/international DVD sales of Rambo: First Blood Part II, the overall take for the movie is somewhere in the region of $400–500 million.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

Overall reactions from critics was mostly negative.[8] The film earned a 28% "Rotten" rating in the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.[9] The film was given a positive review by both Siskel and Ebert.[citation needed]

The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.[10]


Award Category Subject Result
Academy Award Best Sound Editing Frederick Brown Nominated
Razzie Award Worst Picture Buzz Feitshans Won
Worst Actor Sylvester Stallone Won
Worst Screenplay Won
James Cameron Won
Worst Original Song Frank Stallone ("Peace in Our Life") Won
Worst Supporting Actress Julia Nickson-Soul Nominated
Worst New Star Nominated
Worst Director George Cosmatos Nominated


The musical score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, conducting the National Philharmonic Orchestra. The main song is sung by Stallone's brother, singer/songwriter Frank Stallone. Varèse Sarabande issued the original soundtrack album.

  1. Main Title (2:12)
  2. Preparations (1:16)
  3. The Jump (3:18)
  4. The Snake (1:48)
  5. Stories (3:26)
  6. The Cage (3:55)
  7. Betrayed (4:22)
  8. Escape from Torture (3:39)
  9. Ambush (2:45)
  10. Revenge (6:14)
  11. Bowed Down (1:04)
  12. Pilot Over (1:52)
  13. Home Flight (3:01)
  14. Day by Day (2:06)
  15. Peace in Our Life - music by Frank Stallone, Peter Schless, and Jerry Goldsmith; lyrics by Frank Stallone; performed by Frank Stallone (3:18)

Note: As released in the United Kingdom by That's Entertainment Records (the British licensee for Varèse Sarabande at the time), the UK version placed "Peace in Our Life" between "Betrayed" and "Escape from Torture," thus making "Day by Day" the final track.

In 1999, Silva America released an expanded edition with the cues in film order. Previously unreleased music is in bold.

  1. Main Title (2:14)
  2. The Map (1:09)
  3. Preparations (1:18)
  4. The Jump (3:19)
  5. The Snake (1:49)
  6. The Pirates (1:29)
  7. Stories (3:27)
  8. The Camp/Forced Entry (2:24)
  9. The Cage (3:57)
  10. River Crash/The Gunboat (3:37)
  11. Betrayed (4:24)
  12. Bring Him Up/The Eyes (2:06)
  13. Escape from Torture (3:41)
  14. Ambush (2:47)
  15. Revenge (6:16)
  16. Bowed Down (1:06)
  17. Pilot Over (1:54)
  18. Village Raid/Helicopter Fight (4:55)
  19. Home Flight (3:02)
  20. Day By Day (2:08)
  21. Peace in Our Life (3:19) - Frank Stallone

Other media[edit]

  • A novelization was written by David Morrell, author of the novel First Blood, on which the first Rambo film was based.
  • A tie-in video game was produced for ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 called Rambo. There was also an NES game as well as a Sega Master System game, and MSX and DOS games based on the film. Sega later adapted some of the battle scenes in the film for the 2008 arcade game Rambo.
  • Officially licensed knives from the film, based on Jimmy Lile's designs were made by both United Cutlery and Master Cutlery. Master Cutlery fabricated both a standard and Limited Edition version. The Master Cutlery versions are push tang construction, have a hollow aluminum cord gripped handle that contains an emergency survival kit, and a precision compass mounted in the pommel. The stainless guards incorporate standard and Phillips head screwdriver points in the design. They are 1/4" thick 420 J2 stainless blades.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "RAMBO - FIRST BLOOD PART II (15)". British Board of Film Classification. May 28, 1985. Retrieved October 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ It's Fade-Out for the Cheap Film As Hollywood's Budgets Soar: It's Fade-Out for Films Once Made on the Cheap By ALJEAN HARMETZSpecial to The New York Times. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 07 Dec 1989: C19.
  3. ^ a b "Rambo: First Blood Part II". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills: Official Ballot" (PDF). AFI.com. Retrieved July 18, 2010. 
  5. ^ "The Action 25 Films: The Best Rock-'em, Sock-'em Movies of the Past 25 Years". Entertainment Weekly. January 30, 2009. Retrieved July 18, 2010. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ We Get to Win This Time, 2002, Artisan Entertainment
  8. ^ Wilmington, Michael (May 22, 1985). "Movie Review : Why A 'Rambo Ii'? For Muddiest Of Reasons". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 26, 2010. 
  9. ^ Rotten Tomatoes
  10. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0. 

External links[edit]