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Played by: Sylvester Stallone
- Accidental Murder: Accidentally kills police sergeant Art Galt in self defense when the latter tried to purposely kill him in cold blood in the first film (and even then, Rambo's actions are just throwing a rock at a helicopter while Galt was leaning out the door). In the book, he disembowels Galt in the police station for reaching for his gun after Rambo overpowered Teasle and stole the razor.
- Action Hero: The 80's emblem, and the 2000's resurgence of 80's action type as well.
- Adaptational Heroism: Perhaps more like "adaptational sympathy", but Rambo was a much darker character in the First Blood book. The novel puts more emphasis on the fact that the whole situation mostly happens because of Rambo's own pride, and Teasle actually gives him several chances to leave the town peacefully, as opposed to the movie where he takes him in after coming back once. Rambo's actions also seem more like vengeance and he eventually realises he is fighting because he likes it, whereas in the movie they seem more like self-defense. And while in the film he only kills one person, in the book he slaughters dozens of people and is basically like an evil version of what the character would become in later films, and more or less serves as the Big Bad of the story.
- Archer Archetype: Is fond of using a bow for its stealthy qualities, but he's not above using explosive warheads when shit needs to get blow'd up. He will use whatever weapon is available that is most appropriate to the situation.
- Ax-Crazy: Particularly in the first movie where Rambo mistakes a kid out hunting game for one of the officers pursuing him and Rambo has to force himself to let the kid go. Col. Trautman himself lampshades this during the climax where he accuses Rambo of having wanted to initiate a fight from the beginning.
- Badass Bandolier: Has worn bandoliers of ammo for his machine gun.
- Badasses Wear Bandanas: He's probably one of the most iconic examples.
- Bag of Spilling: Rambo actually did came well armed and with the equipment he needed (the camera he needed) in First Blood Part II. He just happened to lose it on the way down.
- Berserk Button: Murdoch really should not have decided to abandon Rambo, and by extension, the POWs he wasn't supposed to rescue.
- Big Bad: He's this and Villain Protagonist in the novel. Despite his sympathetic backstory, his actions by the end of the novel make any sympathy you have for him fade away when he kills the innocent townspeople.
- Big Damn Heroes: Especially in the fourth movie, as the Burmese Army found out firsthand.
- Blood Knight: Subverted. Despite the violence associated with him, Rambo actually doesn't enjoy killing and is perfectly content to be left alone. But when push comes to shove he doesn't hesitate to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Played straight in the novel though where he straight-up murders pretty much everyone he comes across and admits to himself that he missed the rush of battle.
- But Not Too White: In the novels, Rambo was mentioned as being half-Native American.
- While the character in the film is played by Sylvester Stallone, who is a combination of Italian, French, and Jewish Ukrainian, the second film notes Rambo as being of Indian/German descent.
- Cop Killer: Killed sadistic policeman Art Galt in self-defense in the first film. Galt's death was accidental, falling from the helicopter after Rambo throws a rock at the windshield because he was leaning out the door with his seat harness unbuckled. Rambo at that point was unarmed, desperate, and looking for any way to return fire, and is visibly surprised when Galt falls to his death.
- Deadpan Snarker: In the third film, Rambo actually manages to crack a few jokes (unlike the other films in the series, where he's dead serious most of the time).*Trautman and Rambo stand alone against an entire Soviet battalion.*Trautman: Any ideas?Rambo: Well, surrounding them is out.Trautman: Hell of a time for humor, John.
- Determinator: Anything that gets in Rambo's way will be obliterated.
- The Dreaded: In the first film. Most of the police and national guardsmen who are hunting Rambo are scared shitless of him.
- Good Is Not Nice: In the fourth film. Very evident when he briefly argues with the missionaries over him saving their lives by killing the pirates.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: His torso is crisscrossed with scars from where he was cut by knives while a prisoner of war. In the third and fourth movies he also has a burn mark on his cheek from when a Russian interrogator touched him with a red-hot knife in the second film.
- Heartbroken Badass: After Co-Bao's death in the second movie.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: In the first film, when he was shunned by society, submitted to humiliation by anti-war "maggots" upon returning home, arrested for no good reason and finds himself a fugitive from justice before turning himself in that leads to six years in prison until the sequel where he is pardoned.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Has a major one at the end of First Blood.
- Honor Before Reason: "Live for nothing, or die for something!"
- Hurting Hero: A result of the trauma he endured in Vietnam as well as the dismissive attitude he received from the public upon coming home.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Co's death in the second movie sparks his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the villains.
- Iron Butt Monkey: He's a badass, but let's face it, nothing goes right for Rambo in any of the films.
- Kick the Dog: A literal example in the first movie, when Rambo kills the three dogs the police were trying to use to track him. Still in self-defense, though.
- Knife Nut: Rambo always carries a knife for "hunting." And what can he hunt with a knife?Name it.
- Large Ham:
- "NOTHING IS OVER! NOTHING!"
- "They would have RAPED her 50 times, and cut all your FUCKIN' HEADS OFF! WHO ARE YOU?! WHOUHANNYOYOU!?"
- "AAAAAAAAAAAARGH !!"
- Madden Into Misanthropy: By the fourth movie he has abandoned civilization and humanity almost entirely.
- Manly Tears: At the end of First Blood as he cries about all the horrors that he has witnessed in Vietnam.
- He also does this in First Blood Part II when Co dies.
- Older and Wiser: In the fourth movie, who is more world-weary and much more hardened battle veteran then he was in the previous movies.
- One-Man Army: Yeah, he's pretty much the Trope Codifier as far as 1980s action heroes go.
- Taken to absurd levels in the third movie, toned down to a much more believable extent in the fourth.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Let's just say that Rambo IS the bomb, minus the nuclear, plus all the lead.
- Retired Badass: Former Green Beret, having previously served in Vietnam. He always has time to fight.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Rambo goes on one in every film in the franchise.
"Murdoch..." *clinches microphone* "I'm coming for you."
- Especially this memorable quote from Rambo: First Blood Part II, after being abandoned under Murdoch's orders.
- Schrödinger's Cast: Rambo's characterization is completely different in the book then the films' one we all know and loved.
- Screaming Warrior: His trademark as of Rambo: First Blood Part II.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Of the classic "has 'Nam flashbacks" variety.
- Sociopathic Hero: Especially in the first movie.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Is killed via shotgun blast to the head by Trautman at the end of the First Blood novel. An alternate ending where Trautman kills him was filmed before they went for the ending that was put on screen, and it appears quickly in a dream sequence/flashback on the fourth movie (and is available on the DVD collection).
- Sole Survivor: In 1971 Rambo's SOG unit, Baker Team, was ambushed by the North Vietnamese Army while on a long-range reconnaissance mission near the Chinese-Vietnamese border. The survivors were imprisoned in a POW camp and repeatedly tortured. In 1972 Rambo and his only surviving teammate, Delmore, managed to escape from captivity. First Blood opens with Rambo visiting Delmore's home, only to learn that Delmore has since died from cancer, leaving Rambo as the sole surviving member of Baker Team.
- Took a Level in Badass: Rambo does this in between every film (at least if the number of kills he manages to rack up is any indication).
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In the fourth movie - although he is still one of "the good guys" - he is portrayed as more rude and cynical than in the first three movies. Considering everything he's been through up 'til then, it's perfectly understandable that he'd be a left a little bitter.
- Tragic Keepsake: Rambo takes Co's necklace after her death in the second film and is still seen wearing it at the start of the third film.
- Villain Protagonist: In the first film, in a way, as he was a fugitive from justice and the antagonists are actually law enforcement trying to track him down. However, he plays the role straight in the novel due to the Adaptational Heroism of the character in the films.
- Warrior Poet: In the fourth movie."When you're pushed, killing is as easy as breathing.""Live for nothing, or die for something."
- Weapon of Choice: Rambo: First Blood Part II has made the character quite fond of using a bow, usually with an explosive tip. In the second and third films, he is more known for using an M60 and Large Bowie Knife. The fourth film gives him a machete that he made himself.
- Western Terrorists: All of his actions he committed during the events of First Blood could be considered acts of terrorism.
Col. Sam Trautman
Played by: Richard Crenna (1982-88)
- Adaptational Heroism: Trautman is more of A Father to His Men type in the movie than in the book.
- Badass Grandpa: He was able to talk Rambo out of going through with his massacre while he's been pushed, and not only lived, but even convinced him to surrender!
- Big Damn Heroes: Subverted in Rambo: First Blood Part II. Despite having the helicopter close to the ground, he is forced by Murdoch, and his mercenaries (by gunpoint) to abandon Rambo. He knew Murdoch would regret that decision.
- Colonel Badass: But really, what did you expect from the man who trained Rambo?
- Ignored Expert: Teasle intentionally ignores Trautman's advice on how to handle Rambo, despite the track record so far.
- Kicked Upstairs: Explains to Rambo that he was shuffled off to a do-nothing desk job at the Pentagon some time after the war ended:Rambo: "I tried to get in touch with you, but the guys at Bragg never knew where to find you."Trautman: "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."
- Hero of Another Story: The DVD extras contain a biography of Trautman, revealing that he served with distinction in the Korean War.
- The Mentor: He's the man who recruited Rambo into Special Forces and trained him to be a One-Man Army.
- Morality Chain: Usually the only one who can talk Rambo out of his more screwed up moments.
- The Pardon: He offers Rambo this in the beginning of the second movie; conduct a top secret assignment (take photographic evidence of existence of POWs in Vietnam), and get pardoned for the crimes he committed in the first movie.
- Parental Substitute: Lampshaded with his first words on screen.
- Schrödinger's Cast: His relationship between Rambo and him is completely differently in the novel then in the films, also Trautman is a Captain in the book.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the fourth film, Trautman only appears briefly in a flashback scene. It's never mentioned what happened to the character following Rambo III. This was probably done out of respect for actor Richard Crenna, who passed away in 2003.
Appeared in First Blood
Sheriff Will Teasle
Played by: Brian Dennehy
- Adaptation Name Change: Full name only; he was Wilfred Teasle in the novel, but according to the Survival Mode on the film's DVD, he's William Wright Teasle. This name change is proper, considering the Adaptational Villainy and Schrödinger's Cast makeover this film's Teasle received in contrast to the novel's Teasle.
- Adaptational Villainy: While Teasle was still a bit of a jerk in the novel, he was also a far more complex character and somewhat of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. The novel goes into great detail on his motives, his relationships with his family and other members of the town, and acknowledges several similarities between him and John. He arguably comes off as more sympathetic than Rambo and even drives Rambo to a diner to have something to eat before taking him to town limits. The film makes him into a one-dimensional asshole who the audience has no trouble rooting against, even though he has his Pet the Dog moments, which were minimal in comparison to the amount he had in the novel. Also, if Teasle in the film is a decorated Korean War hero like in the novel, the film makes him more of a Fallen Hero to that then in the book.
- Alas, Poor Villain: In a way, as everything he tried to do was to prove what Korean War vets are made of after being shunned for so long and to uphold the law in his duty as a policeman, yet now he's wounded in a pathetic state and is about to take more flak than he's ever before imagined.
- Anti-Villain: Type III with aspects of Type II (but the latter is greatly emphasized in the novel). Teasle may have been a Jerkass and something of a Dirty Cop, but everything he's done was to keep his town safe and to uphold the law as well as to put forgotten Korean War vets back in the light again.
- Big Bad: Of the first film. Not present in the novel, however, where he's ultimately the true hero.
- Benevolent Boss: He genuinely cares for his deputies, heck, Galt's death is one of the main reasons why he chases after John. However, he is also considered to count as a Pointy-Haired Boss, due to neglecting to notice Galt's abuse of Rambo, ignoring Deputy Mitch Rogers' advice and even grabbing him by his hair to show him Galt's corpse and vowing vengeance before finally failing to properly organize his deputies to capture Rambo that leads them to be easily overpowered. It does show he still cares as when he and his men were outmaneuvered, Teasle helped a deputy named Balford who was injured by a booby trap built by Rambo.
- Berserk Button: He's always glad to drive drifters to the edge of town closest to their destination, but God help the drifter who dares come back.
- Break the Haughty: After Rambo overpowers his posse during the manhunt initially with just Teasle and his deputies, Rambo pins the sheriff to a tree with a knife on a his throat and was able to paralyze the arrogant sheriff with fear upon warning him what Rambo's capable of and telling him to leave him alone while he still has the chance. After departing, Teasle just sinks down sobbing upon experiencing an amount of fear, humiliation and broken pride.
- Bullying a Dragon: His (but mostly Galt's) mistreatment of Shell-Shocked Veteran Rambo is what led Rambo to go on a rampage.
- Cruel Mercy: Was spared from Rambo's wrath, but did not get his own victory and revenge and is left badly wounded and most likely a cripple. Also, it's implied things will go dark for him once the reason why Rambo go on a rampage through town in the first place goes out in the open.
- Defiant to the End: Eggs Rambo to Get It Over With and Finish Him! after being wounded in battle, knowing that his death at Rambo's hands would be something of a posthumous victory for Teasle as killing Teasle would damn Rambo and bordering on If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him, which can be considered to be A Fate Worse Than Death for a character like Rambo.
- Dirty Cop: Downplayed, but of the abusive convict treatment and Knight Templar kind.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: It is implied (and the director's commentary mentions) that part of the reason Teasle is so hateful about Rambo is because of the Korean War (where he served) being pretty much forgotten by the American people while Rambo (a Vietnam War vet) is a symbol of the new, controversial thing. Explicit in the novel.
- Expy: The movie's depiction of Teasle has more in common with the Batman comic book character Harvey Bullock than the novel's version of the character. As both Teasle and Bullock are a Fat Bastard Jerkass Dirty Cop who are willing to antagonize and arrest The Hero due to their backgrounds they loathed (Rambo is a Vietnam vet and a drifter which are both things Teasle despised, while Batman is a costumed vigilante who Bullock views as a freak).
- Even Evil Has Standards: When Rambo first escapes from the station, Galt was about to open fire until Teasle stops him as Galt would have harmed an Innocent Bystander while shooting at Rambo. Then during the initial manhunt, when Teasle hears the gunshots from Galt's attempt to personally execute Rambo out of spite, he tries to radio Galt to remind him that Rambo is to be taken in alive as part of police protocol. Even after Galt was killed and Teasle vows to get his revenge, he still wanted Rambo to be taken in alive, only this time is the case of The Only One Allowed to Defeat You as he wants to be the one to deliver the final blow against him. Also see Pet the Dog below for more information.
- Face Death with Dignity: Is willing to kill Rambo or die trying, as when Trautman attempts to warn Teasle about his final confrontation with Rambo, Teasle scoffs, "Everybody dies," justified as Teasle is a Korean War vet who must have experienced risks like this and was willing go along with this (although, it might have something to do with feeling personally humiliated from his last confrontation with Rambo where he was frozen up with fear upon facing him, so Teasle this time does not want to show vulnerability and have his pride broken the next time he's given the opportunity to face Rambo). This is proven true as after Teasle was wounded by Rambo, Teasle just eggs Rambo to Finish Him!
- Fallen Hero: A decorated Korean War veteran who is reduced to an overzealous Knight Templar Dirty Cop.
- Fat Bastard: While not exactly fat and more big boned, he has an imposing physique and described by Rambo to be "king shit."
- Faux Affably Evil: When he and Rambo first met, Teasle at first seemed to be courteous to a man on a cold December morning and offered him a ride. Teasle's true colors then show when he casually tells Rambo that because he is a scruffy and long-haired drifter, he is not wanted in the town of Hope. According to a deleted scene with Kern and Teasle, this trope is probably what Teasle meant when he said he initially and very briefly treated him as "one of (his) neighbor's kids."
- Get It Over With: After being shot and severely wounded, he urges Rambo, "Go ahead, you crazy son of a bitch, finish it!" before Trautman intervenes.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Serves as a Hero Antagonist to capture fugitive from justice Rambo, but internally just to prove that Korean War vets such as Teasle are more badass than Vietnam War vets such as Rambo and to avenge the death of Art Galt, who's a despicable character to begin with, accidentally caused by Rambo. In general, despite doing his hardest to uphold the law and bring in his brand of justice, it turned him into a viciously prejudiced Dirty Cop and Rabid Cop in order to do so in his view.
- Hero Antagonist: He is performing his duty defending the well being of his town, after all, and still genuinely believes so as he goes about at the expense of Rambo. Subverted since he's also The Bully and something of a Dirty Cop to a certain extent, as the reason Rambo goes on his rampage in the first place is because of how he and his deputies mistreated him for no good reason. Played straight only in that after Rambo goes nuts, he needs to be taken down, especially in a deleted scene when Teasle argued with Kern on how much devastation Rambo caused such as Art Galt's widow grieving over Galt's death:Teasle: Why don't you go out there and take a look at what's left of my men? You'll see how motivated I am, Dave, and if that doesn't do it for you why don't you go have a talk with Art Galt's widow?
- Teasle plays this role completely straight in the novel to a point he is revealed to be the true hero.
- Honor Before Reason: While his man hunt for Rambo and his refusal to back down is driven by his desire to avenge Galt's death, it's also driven by Teasle's dislike of Vietnam vets and to prove that that Korean War vets are much as efficient as any other soldier who fought in combat and is willing to Face Death with Dignity rather than retreat, grovel or cry like some Dirty Coward if Rambo ever does get the upper hand.
- I Did What I Had to Do: In a deleted scene, he argued to state police officer Kern that he did his duty as a police officer to book Rambo for vagrancy and resisting arrest:Teasle: I did my job, Dave, I booked him for vagrancy and resisting arrest.
- Inspector Javert: He stubbornly views himself as the police officer who holds the responsibility to stop criminals no matter the cost and views Rambo as the criminal needed to be caught.
- Jerkass: Even though he believes he's doing his duty, he does seem to enjoy throwing his weight around. However, in the novel, Teasle is more of a Jerkass Woobie (although the movie's version still count him as this).
- Jerkass Has a Point: While the manhunt is driven by Teasle's dislike of Vietnam vets and Rambo's Accidental Murder of Galt, he is valid that Rambo should not be let off that easy after committing, what Teasle thought was first degree murder (Rambo was also responsible for destruction of property).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!
- Furthermore, when he first arrested Rambo, he was correct that Rambo should not be carrying a dangerous combat knife in the public which makes it at least one (possibly the only) good reason to prosecute him and to make matters worse, Rambo was probably carrying it without a license as he could not afford one due to being shunned by the public to support him. It also does not help that Rambo was not giving out a straight clear answer when Teasle first questions him over it. However, the penalty Rambo received was harsher than the crime itself, thanks to the other charges for vagrancy and resisting arrest. Also subverted as Teasle only found the knife when he searched Rambo's bag without Probable Cause, a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution's Bill of Rights (unlawful search and seizure) that would have resulted in any judge throwing the case out of court for police misconduct.
- However, there is one fact that can mostly be agreed with Teasle, though in his case he is Right for the Wrong Reasons, that Rambo is a dangerous individual who is a threat to public safety.
- This trope is played completely straight with Teasle in the novel.
- Knight Templar: Feels he has his town's best interest at heart when he uses heavy-handed protocol against vagrants.
- Necessarily Evil: Teasle is a Knight Templar Dirty Cop driven by mostly hatred against drifters and Vietnam veterans, but believes his methods are the way to bring justice.
- Never My Fault: Does not care that his and his department's mistreatment of Rambo is what caused him to go bonkers in the first place.
*After being told by Trautman that he picked the wrong man to push.*Teasle: No, Trautman. He picked the wrong man!
- In a deleted scene from Teasle's and Trautman's initial encounter, Trautman tells Teasle that he picked the wrong man to push (referring to the mistreatment he and his deputies gave to Rambo), but Teasle argues Rambo picked the wrong man (likely referring to Rambo trying to deliberately walk into town to Teasle's opposition that led to Rambo's arrest):
- However, Teasle's side of the story is more justified in the novel, as he actually gave Rambo several chances to leave the town peacefully, as opposed to the movie where he takes him in after coming back once.
- Noble Bigot with a Badge: He is extremely prejudiced against Vietnam War vets, but however, he is more respectful towards Colonel Trautman, likely due to Trautman being not only a Vietnam War vet, but also a Korean War vet like Teasle, which is only thing that prevents Teasle from being totally hostile towards him unlike to Rambo. Even earlier when Rambo first escapes from custody, he initially wanted to take in Rambo alive as part of police protocol despite his prejudice against him for his background unlike Galt who just want to kill him for petty reasons. It's only after his friend Galt had been killed that Teasle loses any moral restraint he has inside to kill Rambo to avenge him.
- The Paranoiac: He initially drove Rambo out of town and then arrested him when returning due to him being a drifter who Teasle believes would disrupt harmony in Hope. In the novel, however, Teasle is Properly Paranoid, due to Rambo being more of a irredeemable psycho than the movie.
- Pet the Dog: He is a police officer after all. In a deleted scene, he shows remorse towards Galt's widow, who's grieving over Galt's corpse, and attempts to apologize to a deputy's wife for her husband's injuries Rambo caused. He then justified his man hunt by listing out the devastation Rambo caused ranging from his deputies' incapacitation to Galt's widow's grief. In the bar scene, he has a civil talk with Trautman (even started his talk with him by apologizing for being "out of line") after thinking Rambo was killed by the National Guard, confessing his desire to kill Rambo himself to him. In a deleted part of this scene, at the beginning of the scene, he returned the gesture of being congratulated for Rambo's "death," while at the end of the scene, he then offered Trautman a ride to the airport. During the manhunt, when Orval was wounded, he tends to Orval's wounds and then when Deputy Balford was wounded by a booby trap, he freed Balford. Also, just before his final showdown with Rambo, he alerts the townspeople to get off the streets and hide in their homes to be away from danger when Rambo arrives.
- According to the DVD's Survival Mode easter egg trivia, Teasle's resume in his profile included being a little league coach.
- This is demeaned however, in a deleted scene involving an argument with Kern where Teasle tries to justify his treatment of Rambo, claiming that he "tried to do him a favor" and treated him like "one of (his) neighbor's kids" (likely referring to Teasle's initial civil and jovial welcome to Rambo while trying to escort him out of town and trying to hold back his Irrational Hatred of Rambo being a 'Nam vet while being civil with him, before Rambo pushed his Berserk Button by purposely returning to town that prompts him to arrest and mistreat him out of said irrational hatred):Teasle: I tried to do him a favor, I treated him like he was one of my neighbor's kids.
- However, the novel's depiction of the character has more Pet the Dog moments than the movie's depiction and was more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold in a way.
- Rabid Cop: A Jerkass cop who uses heavy-handed protocol against vagrants and gets other officers to do the rest of his dirty work for him at the station.
- Redemption Rejection: After thinking Rambo is dead, Teasle mellows down and meets with Trautman to apologized for being a Jerkass Rabid Cop about the ordeal and confessing his desire to kill Rambo to him, making it seem he is preparing to walk away from his personal manhunt to Took a Level in Kindness, but when he hears Rambo is still alive and Trautman still tries to reason Teasle, Teasle aggressively rebuffs Trautman's attempts to take on the chance to achieve his own ends by killing Rambo.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Becomes more eager to join the manhunt to find Rambo to avenge the death of friend Art Galt.
- Schrödinger's Cast: His depiction in terms of characterization and physical appearance (Teasle in the film is an imposing man in contrast to the smaller sized version in the book) in the film adaptation is completely different from the novel's version of Teasle.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Dies at the very end of the First Blood novel (and his death is the very last thing written on it). Severely wounded but alive on the movie.
- Supporting Protagonist: In the novel, due to equal amounts of focus and backstory. By the end of the novel, it is clear that Teasle has become The Hero against Rambo, who is a Villain Protagonist in the novel.
- Tautological Templar: See He Who Fights Monsters and Hero Antagonist above.
- Tragic Bigot: Mostly in the novel, as while he bares Fantastic Racism against Rambo for being a Vietnam War veteran who overshadowed the existence of Korean War veterans, he is more of a Jerkass Woobie due to losing a father in a hunting trip, being divorced from his wife and overall portrayed more sympathetically. Downplayed in the film adaptation.
- Tragic Villain: Hinted to be one in the film. Played straight with Teasle in the novel.
- Vigilante Man: Downplayed. While he leads the manhunt of Rambo because he's an escaped fugitive, Teasle's persistence is fueled by wanting to avenge Art Galt's death.
- Villain with Good Publicity: In the eyes of the town of Hope, he is their sheriff hunting for an escaped fugitive and a Hero Antagonist after all. In addition, according to the DVD's Survival Mode, Teasle had many affiliations in the Hope area and was a beloved member of the community, as shown in the film when he seemed to know everyone who walked past. Teasle at one point won the Hope Little League Coach of the Year award, as well as the Kiwanis Service Award in 1968, a Hope community service award in 1973 and a Mayor's Circle award in 1978. He was a member of the local Hope Kiwanis and Elks Clubs, the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Rifle Association. However, if the ending is any indication, this trope will end for him once the truth about what happened to Rambo that led to his escape and rampage through town gets out.
- Villainous B.S.O.D.: Has one after Rambo pins him to a tree and threatens him to leave him alone.
- Villainous Underdog: A retroactive example, unlike future Big Bads in the sequels, he is no genocidal warlord or some Large Ham madman, just an Inspector Javert Hero Antagonist small town sheriff trying to apprehend an escaped fugitive with moments of being a Tragic Villain which drove him to have a bias towards Rambo, while he relies on his Korean War combat experience to fight the iconic One-Man Army. Ironically, the first film was a "cheer for the underdog" story with Rambo being the underdog, more so than Teasle himself if he applies as this trope.
Played by: Jack Starrett
- All There in the Manual: According to the DVD's Survival Mode easter egg trivia, Galt served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1953 to 1957 as a motorpool sergeant at Camp Lejeune and then served in the reserves from 1958 to 1973. This might as well explain why Galt was trigger-happy and a Cold Sniper in the film. It's also state Teasle is a Korean War veteran and both he and Galt have been friends for a long time, since Deputy Mitch Rogers was still a little kid. Also, given Teasle's prejudice against Rambo for being a Vietnam vet and Galt's cruelty against Rambo, it could also imply Galt's bullying of Rambo stems from both officers sharing the same dislike of Vietnam veterans as both Galt and Teasle served in the military at a decade that has been forgotten by the public at the time of this film. In addition, despite being a cop, Galt also has criminal record, which shows Galt is a Hypocrite due to his occupation and also explains what kind of character he is based on his behavior in the film.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Teasle is the Big Bad, but Galt is more of a villain than Teasle is and loved to express how much a vile Dirty Cop he is.
- Bullying a Dragon: His mistreatment of Rambo is what led to Rambo to snap and flee and his attempt to summarily execute him personally is what led to his death.
- Dirty Cop: He's considered to be the most corrupt member of the sheriff's department who's willing to abuse then kill Rambo against the orders of the sheriff, who is his own best friend.
- Disney Villain Death: He's killed when the helicopter he's in makes a hard bank and pitches him over the side to smash face-first onto a rock.
- The Dragon: For Will Teasle.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Unaware to Teasle, who initially wanted to apprehend Rambo after he escapes police custody, Galt planned to just kill Rambo upon finding him, which results in his death.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In a deleted scene, he had a wife who grieves for him.
- Evil Is Petty: The reason he wanted to kill Rambo was for his hatred of Vietnam veterans and to retaliate for being physically assaulted back in the station when Rambo first escaped from custody which was prompted by his mistreatment.
- Faux Affably Evil: He has a carefree attitude to the horrible acts he regularly commits.
- Gutted Like a Fish: In the book, when Teasle tries to shave Rambo, Rambo overpowers him and swipes the razor, then disembowels Galt when he reaches for his pistol.
- Hate Sink: Galt is easily one of the most despicable characters in the series. What with his sheer sadism and poor treatment of Rambo.
- Jerkass: By far the nastiest specimen out of the group hunting Rambo down, and thoroughly enjoys abusing prisoners under his watch at the county jail.
- Killer Cop: Tries to gun down Rambo in cold blood.
- Never My Fault: His mistreatment of Rambo was what caused him to snap and escape, assaulting Galt in the process. However, Galt never owns up to his mistake and tries to kill Rambo to retaliate for assaulting him.
- Police Brutality: His pointless cruelty is what caused Rambo to freak out and make a run for it in the first place.
- Psycho for Hire: He's sadistic and brutal when it comes to treating Rambo in incarceration and reckless when it comes to hunting him.
- Rabid Cop: He is downright sadistic and brutal when he mistreats Rambo and reckless during the manhunt for him when he doesn't give second thought to a Innocent Bystander in the way when trying to kill Rambo or Teasle's orders to capture Rambo alive.
- Schrödinger's Cast: He is a completely different character in the novel, more along the lines of in terms of physical appearance and personality of Deputy Mitch Rogers from the film version.
- Token Evil Teammate: While Teasle and his deputies are actually Hero Antagonists due to their roles as police officers out to capture a fugitive from justice. Galt, due to his brutality against Rambo and his intent to hunt down and kill him, makes him the most corrupt and vile member of the sheriff's department.
- Villainous Friendship: Has one with Teasle. However, Galt ignores Teasle's orders on the radio to take Rambo alive and tries to gun down Rambo in cold blood, which would lead to his death.
Played by: John McLiam
- Demoted to Extra: He has less importance in the movie then the novel.
- Morality Pet: He act as this for Teasle in the novel, trying to tell him how he is doing his job the wrong way and how it would lead to the He Who Fights Monsters path. Orval's death only fuels Teasle with vengeance against Rambo.
- Parental Substitute: Acts as the surrogate father figure for Teasle after Teasle's dad was killed accidentally in a deer hunt in the novel.
- Schrödinger's Cast: While still fulfill the role of the dog man, his character and focus is different in the novel then the movie, revealing to be Teasle's Parental Substitute after his father died in a deer hunt. Also, Orval being killed was Teasle's subject of revenge against Rambo rather then Art Galt, who was that in the movie.
- Spared By Adaptation: He is only injured in the leg, but alive. In the novel, he is killed and was the result of Teasle's vengeance against Rambo.
Appeared in Rambo: First Blood Part II
Played by: Julia Nickson
- Action Girl: She later proves to be just as effect in a gunfight as Rambo is, and even just as cunning too.
- Big Damn Heroes: Co goes out of her way to single handedly save Rambo from his captors.
- Death by Sex: Rambo and Co was about to shared a moment. Not long after, she gets shot in the back.
- Designated Love Interest: The relationship between her and Rambo developed over the past hour in the film.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Co's death is what sparks Rambo's Roaring Rampage of Revenge at the end of the second film.
- The Mole: Co infiltrates the Vietcong camps as one of the service girls, and was the one who provided intel for John Rambo.
- Spared by the Adaptation: It's possible for Co to survive in the NES Rambo game, and if she does the ending will imply that Rambo returned to America and took Co with him.
Lt. Col. Podovsky
Played by: Steven Berkoff
- Big Bad: Is the actual main villain of the second film.
- Dirty Communists: A Lieutenant of the Red Army.
- Faux Affably Evil: He is rather calm and even delightful for a cruel, relentless Soviet Lieutenant.
- Large Ham: His Russian accent is definitely over the top.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: Whether it is drowning you in mud, or launching dozens of missiles on a helicopter, he never raises his voice.
- Villain Ball: He tortures Rambo into deciding to give a demoralizing speech to his unit. Rambo instead calls out Murdoch and uses the mic to fight his way out.
Played by: Voyo Goric
Appeared in Rambo III
Col. Alexei Zaysen
Played by: Marc de Jonge
- Big Bad: The villain behind the invasion of Afghanistan.
- Colonel Badass: Does not even think twice before flying a combat helicopter against a tank!
- Dirty Communists: Like the Big Bad before him, he is also a superior within the Soviet Army.
- Lack of Empathy: He has no qualms with committing mass murder or Cold-Blooded Torture to get what he wants.
- Villainous Breakdown: He grows increasingly unhinged after constantly failing to kill Rambo.
Played by: Randy Ranney
- Beard of Evil: A full beard, and being all too eager to kill anyone who gets in his way.
- The Brute: Similar to Yushin, except he's all fat instead of muscle, but just as deadly!
- Dirty Communists: Like The Dragon before him, he is serving under his superior within the Soviet Army.
- The Dragon: Like Yushin, he is undyingly loyal to Zaysen.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He walks around with a bandolier of grenades on him. That ends up being his own undoing.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Rambo kills him by setting off his grenades and kicking him into a cave.
Appeared in (John) Rambo
Played by: Matthew Marsden
- Awesome, but Impractical: Schoolboy's .50-caliber sniper rifle, while cool, is very impractical for jungle warfare.
- Friendly Sniper: He's quite cheerful and amiable when he's not using his Barrett to pop SPDC troopers' heads like ripe melons.
- Good Is Not Soft: He's the only unambiguously kind-hearted and unselfish person in the band of mercenaries rescuing the missionaries and only idealistic character in the movie that still kicks ass.
- Nice Guy: The most decent and friendly member of the mercenaries.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Schoolboy's weapon of choice is a Barrett .50 calibre anti-material rifle, which was designed for disabling lightly-armored vehicles. Naturally, the effect such a large round has on a human body is rather horrific.
Major Pa Tee Tint
Played by: Maung Maung Khin
- Beard of Evil: If one looks closely, he has a goatee.
- Big Bad: Of the fourth film.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Early in the fourth film, he tells parents of boys he kidnapped to conscript into his army to fear him along with hearing and believing him.
- Dirty Coward: Hides when the fighting starts (leaving his men to be slaughtered). When the battle's over, he runs for his life. The only time he ever even fires his weapon is to shoot an unarmed missionary in the back.
- Depraved Homosexual: Is a pedophile with his only known victim being a young boy.
- Establishing Character Moment: In his first appearance, he forces civilians to run across a minefield before having his men kill them all. He gets even worse from there.
- Expy: Of Zaysen.
- Knight of Cerebus: He's more brutal, sadistic, psychotic and noticeably disturbing then the previous Big Bads or previous kinds of villains all together. He's the complete 180 degree contrast to Teasle if comparing Tint's large amount of Kick the Dog acts to Teasle's large amount of Pet the Dog acts.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Unlike the other villains, he is shown running for his life and hides from the major battle going on at the end of the movie. The only time he adopts a combat pose is to shoot a fleeing, unarmed missionary in the back.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Watching Rambo gut him like a fish is the high point of the movie.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: Always remains The Stoic while committing war crimes.
- Unknown Rival: Somewhat subverted, as he knew about the mercenaries and tortured them regardless, but he had no idea who Rambo was and never met him in person until Rambo gutted him. Upon seeing Rambo, the expression on his face was more confusion than terror.
- Villain Opening Scene: The movie starts with Tint and his army playing a sick betting game by forcing civilians to run through a marsh filled with landmines. When they make it safely across, his army guns down the civilians as Tint looks on. In the Director's Cut, however, this was moved to a much later time.
- Would Hurt a Child: Allows his men to massacre both adults and children and he himself even rapes them for his own sick kicks (another complete contrast to Teasle, whose resume in the DVD special features states him to have been a little league coach).
Played by: Julie Benz
- Attempted Rape: A soldier comes into her cell to rape her, but he's killed by Rambo.
- It's All My Fault: In a deleted scene, she admits to Rambo that she feels that everything that has happened is her fault as she convinced Rambo to take them into Burma.
- Morality Pet: For Rambo. She successfully guilts him into taking she and her colleagues upriver into Burma. She's the only one nice to him, and he's only "nice" to her.
- Only Sane Man: For the missionaries. She seems to be the only one to fully recognize the dangers they're facing, and understand the ugly necessity of Rambo's actions.