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The Making Of The Rambo Series Was Plagued With Absolute Insanity

Updated January 10, 2020 151.8k views20 items

Hey, bros! Are you ready to learn a thing or 18 about the homoerotic masterpiece that is the Rambo tetralogy? Of course you are! You either end up living for nothing or dying for some insane Rambo facts, right? If you grew up in the '80s or very early '90s, you spent at least one summer afternoon with a bandana tied around your head impersonating John Rambo while you fired an imaginary assault rifle at whatever country you were rescuing missionaries from.

Have you ever wondered about Rambo behind-the-scenes? The second and third installments in the franchise came out at a time of action movie excess, and the story behind those films is ripe with Sly Stallone diva facts that fit nicely alongside the muscle-bound bros glistening with oil who painted each frame of the franchise with their mighty tan brushes. Because of this, you might not remember that First Blood, America’s introduction to John Rambo, is a post-Vietnam deconstruction of small town America, in which political commentary meets gratuitous violence. The movie essentially jump-started the modern action era along with films like Death Wish and The Terminator.

But bros, let's be real about something here: the Rambo movie facts you’re about to read are fascinating, especially when it comes to the way Stallone had the foresight to keep his character alive in order to franchise his second golden-egg-laying, muscle-bound goose (the first being Rocky, obviously). Aside from stories of Stallone’s rise to power, these Rambo series facts will reveal which actor from the golden age of Hollywood almost derailed the series, and the interesting way that Stallone was paid for Rambo III.  

  • A Catchphrase From Rambo Inspired Burmese Freedom Fighters

    Photo: Lionsgate

    The fourth Rambo film, which goes by the somewhat enigmatic title Rambo, is set in Burma/Myanmar and features John Rambo rescuing Christian missionaries and Burmese hostages from the State Peace and Development Council army (the brutal apparatus of the military junta).

    Rambo took a lot of details from what was really going on in Burma at the time, so it shouldn't surprise you the government banned the movie. However, bootleg copies made their way into the country, and into the hands of the Burmese Freedom Fighters, who took up the line "live for nothing or die for something" as a mantra. Members of the group collect bootleg copies of Rambo and distribute them to their friends and family.

    A Rangoon-based activist told The Telegraph: "I like the movie very much because Rambo fought against Myanmar soldiers. I watched the movie at home with my family, and gave it to my friends because I wanted them to see it."

  • Stallone Demanded A Jet As Payment For Rambo III

    Guess what, bros? Sly Stallone decided it was time to go big or go home with Rambo III (since he'd never gone big before that point) and demanded a motherf*cking jet as payment.

    He got it. Which shows serious faith on the part of the producers, who ponied up $12 million for a Gulfstream in order to get Stallone in the headband for a third time. There's no word on whether or not Sly flipped the jet or kept it for one of his many Expendables missions. Which are all real. You knew that, right? That the Expendables movies are docs?

  • Sly Considered Crushing His Hand In Burt Reynolds's Door To Get Out Of First Blood

    Photo: Orion Pictures

    In the DVD commentary for First Blood, Stallone claims he thought about backing out of his commitment to the project because it seemed to be spiraling out of control in pre-production. According to the Italian Stallion, he considered slamming his hand in a door at Burt Reynolds’s house to get out of the movie. Which is apparently a thing that people do ("Many a people have broken their hand at Burt Reynolds’ house, most of the injuries coming from Mr. Reynolds himself").

    If Boogie Nights is any indication, there are lot more things than hands and doors getting slammed and pounded at Burt's casa. Also, in case you're wondering, yes, that redheaded kid in the photo is David Caruso

  • The Italian Stallion Fired The Director Of Rambo III While The Movie Was In Production

    Photo: TriStar Pictures

    A few weeks into filming Rambo III, the most reviled film of the series, Stallone fired a bunch of people and replaced them. Specifically, he fired the director, director of photography, and basically the entire camera crew. 

    Sly told the LA Times (in an article entitled "Rambo Iii Gets Back On The Track In Israel" because.. what?) it had to do with people not thinking ahead.

    "The canvas of this movie is so large you have to constantly think 10 scenes ahead. You can't wing it. They didn't go into the Battle of Waterloo not knowing what their strategy would be. Well, this movie is kind of like a cinematic warfare. We have a huge cast and crew (more than 250 people) and tough locations to deal with. Everyone and everything has to coordinate."

    In case you're wondering whether you accidentally swallowed some magic mushrooms at breakfast, yes, Stallone compared the making of Rambo III to the Battle of Waterloo. 

    The same article in which Stallone spoke his piece includes the following: "According to sources on the set, the problems stemmed from some key crew members' varying interpretations of what the next Rambo movie should look like, to personality conflicts among crew members, the producers and/or Stallone."