Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Sylvester Stallone Beat ‘Die Hard’ to the Punch With This 80s Christmas Action Movie

Sylvester Stallone Beat ‘Die Hard’ to the Punch With This 80s Christmas Action Movie

Sylvester Stallone has made his mark in many action movies, but this one hit the theaters ahead of Die Hard. Now, the never-ending debate rolls on as to whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not. However, some film fans are pointing out that Stallone’s debut as Rambo may be the first 80s Christmas action flick. It turns out that 1982’s First Blood is quietly set during the holiday season.

When John Rambo wanders into the fictitious town of Hope, the sleepy settlement is decorated with Yuletide cheer. Christmas trees pop up in many interior scenes in the film. The Sheriff’s office where Rambo is first detained is filled with festive decor. Even during Stallone’s heartwrenching speech about the horrors of war toward the end of the film, a Christmas tree can be spotted over his shoulder.

That’s right. We’re introduced to John Rambo by Stallone in First Blood, released on Oct. 22, 1982. Die Hard was not rolled out in theaters until July 22, 1988. After this first installment of what would come to be called by some the Rambo series, they would ramp up the character’s violence.

Yet this first movie did have some violence in it. But it also looked to have Rambo use some of his military training learned under Colonel Samuel Troutman (Richard Crenna). Rambo, a Vietnam veteran and somewhat of a drifter, goes into a small Washington town. He’s in search of an old friend. But his trip gets ruined when Sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy) meets up with Rambo. Teasle is simply a man fueled by both intolerance and brutality.

Sylvester Stallone Gets Roughed Up In ‘First Blood’

We get to watch Teasle and his deputies hold down Rambo. They shave him, which sends Rambo into a rage as he remembers his time as a prisoner of war. Rambo fires off at the officers, then flees. As it turns out, Rambo will escape the manhunt put on by Teasle.

Troutman gets involved when he looks to keep the hunters at bay from Rambo. He also hopes to save Rambo from sheer destruction. Needless to say, First Blood had its mix of drama and destruction. The movie also gives people an idealized version of what Vietnam veterans have to go through when re-entering everyday life.

Stallone’s movie didn’t get a lot of love from movie reviewers. Actually, it was a rather mixed reaction from them. Yet movie audiences voted with their wallets. First Blood took in $156 million domestically, setting up the sequels to roll out over the years. In its first week, the movie reportedly took in $9.2 million.

First Blood was filmed in and around Hope, British Columbia. This movie was loosely based on David Morrell’s novel First Blood. It was released in 1972.

As we said, First Blood would become the first in the Rambo series. The next four films are Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, Rambo, and Rambo: Last Blood. Stallone would ensure his place among the action picture fans with this series. Die Hard is an action picture in its own right, too, with Bruce Willis as that movie’s hero. But First Blood beat it to the movie theaters by a few years.