[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rambo_poster_3857.jpg]]

->''"You're always going to be tearing away at yourself until you come to terms with what you are. Until you come full circle"''
-->-- '''Col. Trautman'''

A series of action/drama films starring SylvesterStallone as [[ShellShockedVeteran emotionally troubled]] [[UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar Vietnam War]] veteran John Rambo, who was a former member of the United States Army Special Forces, a Green Beret, and a recipient of the Medal of Honor. ''First Blood'', released in 1982 and the first film in the series, was based on the 1972 David Morrell novel of the same name. The character and franchise became very famous and [[PersonAsVerb a verbal shorthand]] to describe a OneManArmy type of badass.

The films in the series are:

* ''Film/FirstBlood'' (1982)
* ''Film/RamboFirstBloodPartII'' (1985)
* ''Film/RamboIII'' (1988)
* ''Film/RamboIV'' (2008)

Prior to ''Rambo'', however, a cute and heartwarming {{Gaiden}} of sorts was created in 2008 by British director Garth Jennings called ''SonOfRambow''. The film details the misadventures of two boys in 1982 who tried to remake ''First Blood'' with a bulky VHS-Camera and the vibrant imagination of ten year olds. SylvesterStallone himself is said to have loved the film.

A fifth Rambo film was planned, and details varied as to the plot of the film (one potential plot would have seen Rambo face off against some sort of supernatural/alien creature). However, that project seems to have stalled, and ''Rambo'' will remain the final film in the franchise at least with Stallone, who has said the rights holders may make their own sequel but once he finishes a few cuts on the BluRay he's done with the character.

Both the films and the character have enjoyed massive success and popularity, and - alongside the ''Rocky'' series - catapulted Stallone to the position of a major action hero and film star. After the release of the first three ''Rambo'' films, Morrell went on to write the novelizations of the first two ''Rambo'' sequels because he wanted to include characterization that he felt wasn't in said sequels. There was also [[AnimatedAdaptation a 1986 animated TV series]] called ''WesternAnimation/RamboTheForceOfFreedom'' that lasted 65 episodes and spawned a line of toys; [[ComicBookAdaptation a few comic books starring the character]]; soundtrack albums for all the films (but not the animated series, which mainly tracked in JerryGoldsmith's score for the second one); and many video games including the NES version of ''Rambo'' and the Sega Master System versions of ''Rambo: First Blood Part II'' and ''Rambo III''. Sega also released an arcade light gun "Rambo" game back in 2008, and it is perhaps a distillation of what makes the Rambo franchise awesome.

The latest entry in the franchise was ''Rambo: The Video Game'', a rail shooter based on the first 3 movies of the series. It was released on the PC, Xbox 360, and the Playstation 3 in February 2014. A trailer can be seen [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNK7hTmrD04 here]].

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!!Provides Examples Of:

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[[folder:The four movies:]]
* ActionFilmQuietDramaScene: In ''First Blood'', Rambo's breakdown and monologue in the end. In ''Rambo: First Blood Part II'', the scene with Rambo and Co on the boat where he tells her he's "expendable". There are several in ''Rambo IV'' between Rambo and Sarah, most notably her pointing out "Maybe you're right, maybe we won't change anything. But trying to save a life isn't wasting your life." Unfortunately, many of these were cut.
* AnimatedAdaptation: ''WesternAnimation/RamboTheForceOfFreedom'', a SixtyFiveEpisodeCartoon which aired in 1986 alongside a [[MerchandiseDriven tie-in toyline]] which was basically a ''Franchise/GIJoe'' clone with Rambo as the lead character.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: This film series is the primary source of the persistent UrbanLegend that returning Vietnam War soldiers were universally spat on and vilified. While there was ''some'' protesting at the veterans' homecomings, these were isolated incidents, and certainly never reached the in-your-face levels Rambo declaims.
* AppropriatedTitle: The first movie was actually called ''First Blood''. It wasn't until the sequel, ''Rambo: First Blood Part II'', that the Rambo name was used at all.
* AssholeVictim: Chances are any villain will be one.
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Say it out loud: John. RAMBO. This name oozes pure testosterone and has been widely adapted as a synonym for raging {{badass}}. It also helps that in Japanese (乱暴, ''rambou'') it means ''[[MeaningfulName violent, rough, lawless.]]''. The character was named after a breed of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambo_apple apple]] which was, in turn, named after a Swedish-American immigrant.
* BadassBandolier: Rambo has worn a lot of them.
* BadassGrandpa: Colonel Trautman in the first three movies (especially the third). Rambo himself became one in the fourth movie, since Stallone was 62 without showing it.
* BigDamnHeroes:
** Rebels save Rambo in the nick of time in parts 3 and 4.
** Likewise, Rambo saves a group of Burmese civilians (who are being forced to run through a minefield) with his bow in the fourth film when the mercenaries won't do anything.
* BlackAndGrayMorality: In all four movies but especially the fourth. When a missionary takes issue with Rambo killing a half dozen river pirates (because the whole reason they're there is to help stop the violence) Rambo angrily tells him that if he ''hadn't'' done anything they would have made his fiance into a sex slave and killed the rest of them.
* BloodierAndGorier: All of the sequels, but Part 4 really ups the blood and body count.
* BloodyHilarious: Many bad guys in 2 and 3 die this way.
* BookEnds: For the whole series. ''First Blood'' begins with Rambo walking along a lonely road to visit a friend. ''Rambo'' ends with him walking a road which will take him home.
* TheCavalry: Afghan rebels in the third movie, literally; Karen rebels in the fourth.
* ChekhovsGun: [[SarcasmMode Oh, I'm sure]] that unexploded ordnance won't be important later.
* ColdBloodedTorture
* ColonelBadass: Colonel Sam Trautman. He gets more play in the books, and [[spoiler: in the first book, he's actually the man who kills Rambo -- [[BoomHeadshot blowing his old student's head off]] with a ''shotgun.'']]
** You'll need to wait until ''Rambo III'' to see him kick any ass in the movies, however.
* ConditionedToAcceptHorror: Rambo himself. As you could probably guess from the chart, this is played for tragedy in the first movie but quickly sidelined in the rest.
* DirtyCommunists: The Vietnamese in ''First Blood Part II'' and Soviets in ''Rambo III''.
* FightingForAHomeland[=/=]LaResistance: The Afghans in the third movie; the Karen warriors in the fourth.
* {{Flanderization}}: John Rambo killed precisely one guy in the first film, which was completely accidental and a KarmicDeath. Galt, the guy who was killed, had repeatedly gone out of his way to antagonise Rambo, defy orders not to shoot at him and had attempted to murder him in cold blood several times. From II onward however, Rambo was a {{Badass}} who made mountains of bodies out of practically everyone in his way.
** However it should be noted that Rambo was intending to kill the law enforcement at the end of the first movie had Colonel Trautman not negotiated with Rambo to surrender. He had been repressing his killer nature from his days fighting in Vietnam prior to that because he didn't want to kill any of those police men, it was only when they continued to antagonize him that he was getting ready to kill them and fall back into his old ways. Later films are simply showing us what Rambo is like when he isn't holding back.
** The third film also demonstrates the lengths Rambo goes to to control and channel his violent impulses into constructive results. At the start, he's fighting in highly lucrative (and violent) prize fights...and giving the proceeds to the monks he lives among.
* ForgingScene: In the fourth film. Third movie also had it, but it was cut.
** The first one had Rambo building and setting up a bunch of traps and making arrows from freshly cut wood.
* GenreShift: The first movie is a rather thoughtful psychological thriller. From the second movie onwards the series is action-adventure, with Rambo being recruited for highly dangerous missions.
* TheGunslinger: One of the most famous examples of the type B.
** In the fourth film, Rambo shows that he can also be a type C when he kills half a dozen pirates before they can react.
* HotBlooded: Rambo himself.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: The cops of the first film and the Viet Cong and DirtyCommunists of the second film. Averted in the third and fourth films, as the accuracy of the villains are such that Rambo gets shot at ''least'' once.
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: Frequently used on Rambo: by the police in the first movie, the Cong in the second, etc.
* JustPlaneWrong: The Hind gunships in the second and third movies were actually French Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma helicopters, fitted with cosmetic modifications (most obviously the stub wings with rocket pods) to a decent semblance of a Hind. This ended up being carried over to all of the video games, licensed or fan-made.
* KickTheDog: PoliceBrutality directed toward Rambo in the first film triggered his rampage.
** A literal example in the first movie, when Rambo kills the three dogs the police were trying to use to track him.
** Tint is a much more horrifying example.
** The Soviets in the third film.
* KnifeNut: Rambo's serrated-edge hunting knives have become iconic of the series.
* LargeHam: Again, Rambo.
* LighterAndSofter: Parts 2 and 3 where Rambo kicks commie ass.
* TheMentor: Trautman, who is [[AFatherToHisMen like a father to Rambo]].
* MookHorrorShow: Happens in the first two sequels.
* MoreDakka: Rambo practically thrives on this. You could've retitled all the shows 'Dakka: TheMovie' and it would be appropriate.
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: Rambo himself; supposedly from "Arizona" but has a thick Brooklyn accent.
* {{Novelization}}: Notable here mostly because David Morrell, who wrote the original ''First Blood'' novel, went on to pen the novelizations of the two movies that followed, specifically noting and then tossing aside the rather egregious CanonDisContinuity that emerged from the fact [[spoiler: Rambo died in the book, but lives on in the films]].
* OneManArmy: Rambo might well be the TropeCodifier, although see {{Flanderization}}.
** Even in the first movie, John Rambo is considered a one man army. Observe:
-->'''Teasle:''' Are you telling 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.
* OneLinerNameOneLiner
* PersonOfMassDestruction: Rambo again.
* RatedMForManly: As noted with the image up top, this tends to increase with each sequel; notably, ''First Blood ''was not particularly [[TestosteronePoisoning testosterone-poisoned]].
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: Especially the third and fourth movies (focusing on the Soviet war in Afghanistan and Burmese insurrection in Karen State, specifically) but also the second, which is based on an UrbanLegend about [=POWs=] from the VietnamWar.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: The reason Rambo does anything, really.
* RuthlessModernPirates: Rambo pwns some Burmese river pirates in the fourth movie.
** He does same thing for their Vietnamese counterparts in the second movie.
* ScarsAreForever: Rambo's scar on his face, a product of torture from part 2. The scars on his back and chest obtained during his stint as a POW in Vietnam also count.
* ScreamingWarrior
* SequelNumberSnarl: The films in the series are entitled ''First Blood'', ''Rambo: First Blood Part II'', ''Rambo III'', and ''Rambo''. This caused film critic RogerEbert to wonder, in his review of ''Rambo III'', "shouldn't this film be titled ''Rambo II: First Blood Part III''?" Outside the US, this complication was often fixed by changing the title of the films to some variant of ''Rambo: [[TheForeignSubtitle (Subtitle)]]'' and having NumberedSequels.
* ShellShockedVeteran / DeathSeeker: Possible TropeCodifier.
* ShirtlessScene: Of course. Averted in the fourth film, though.
* ShoutingShooter
* SoleSurvivor: Rambo and Delmar Barry were the only ones of their old team to come back from Vietnam. The latter died prior to the start of the first film.
* SpotlightStealingTitle
* StuffBlowingUp: All over the place, natch. An entire boat blows up in the river scene in ''Pt. II'', and that's just getting starting.
** The fourth blows up two boats and a whole lot of forest, courtesy of a ''massive'' unexploded Tallboy bomb. Mines and grenades aplenty, too, though they're usually treated fairly realistically - big boom, no huge fireball.
* SuperSoldier: Rambo is a deconstruction. Troutman trained him to become the best but all his abilities are useless in peacetime.
-->''"You just don't turn it off!"''
* TestosteronePoisoning: Known for being one of the most [[RatedMForManly male-oriented]] action films.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: That poor Burmese army jeep driver whose death kick-starts the climatic battle of part 4 comes to mind; let's not even get started on the [[StuffBlowingUp gratuitous explosions.]]
* TrueCompanions: Rambo and Trautman. Emphasized with "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqMdIZiuERc He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother]]" playing over ''Rambo III'''s credits.
* TruthInTelevision: Unfortunately, what the Burmese are doing to the Karen is not an much of an exaggeration.
** Many Vietnam veterans were [[NothingIsTheSameAnymore heavily traumatized]], and some, sadly, reacted with violence. Stories of crowds of protesters jeering at them upon their return [[HollywoodHistory are an exaggeration, though]], although some ''were'' betitled, and many ended up on the street because they couldn't find a job.
** Aversion: After the second movie, an UrbanLegend began to spread that large numbers of American [=POWs=] remain in prison camps in Vietnam, where they are tortured and treated horribly. While this undoubtedly happened during the war, there is no evidence any remain there.
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: Parts II & III especially, due to their late ColdWar setting. Even the fourth movie is showing signs of this, with Myanmar slowly but surely opening up politically.
* WarIsHell: The war will never end for those who fought it.
* WeDoTheImpossible
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[[folder:Across Other Media]]
* ButThouMust: At the beginning of the NES version, Commander Trautman gives Rambo a mission that may be difficult. If the player chooses, "I feel safer in prison," the commander won't take no for an answer and will keep repeating that until the player chooses, "I'm not afraid of death."
* BalefulPolymorph: During the ending of the NES adaptation of ''First Blood: Part II'', the player can throw Japanese text at Murdock, which turns him into a frog.
* DolledUpInstallment[=/=]SpiritualSuccessor: ''Rambo: The Video Game'' is arguably one to Teyon's previous {{Light Gun Game}}s, ''Heavy Fire''.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: The NES version of ''Rambo'' has some mild language that includes "hell" and "damn" and "I swear to God".
* LockAndLoadMontage: The cartoon included one of these in every episode, with Rambo tying his boots, tying his bandana, and putting his knife in his boot sheath.
* MultipleEndings: In the NES version you can finish the game much sooner and get a different ending if you follow Murdock's orders.
* QuickTimeEvent: The ''Rambo'' arcade LightGunGame features sequences where you must press the Start button at the correct times to succeed, or swiftly "click" on marked spots on the screen à la fellow Sega game ''VideoGame/GHOSTSquad'' to fistfight a villain. ''Rambo: The Video Game'' also includes traditional Quick Time Events, as well as a notorious "[[SkillScoresAndPerks perk]]" that disables them entirely.
* RatedMForManly: The SEGA arcade game, in spades.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: Co's death in the NES version occurs during a conversation cutscene that sort of mirrors the events of the movie. Skipping the conversation skips her death scene. [[TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything The developers]] actually accounted for this in the ending.
* TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything: Late in the NES game, Co appears in front of a waterfall. Talking with her (as most players will do by habit) triggers a conversation in which she is [[PlotlineDeath shot and killed]]. Run past her without talking, however, and she will appear at the end, alive and well, with dialogue specific to the ending.
* UnstoppableRage: In the Rambo arcade game, killing enemies results in Rambo's "Rage" meter going up. When it maxes out, four things happen:
** Rambo gets unlimited ammo.
** Rambo's bullets have a bigger impact radius and deal more damage.
** Rambo becomes invulnerable.
** You get a sound effect of Rambo screaming "AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!" at the top of his lungs.
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