Characters: Rambo

     Main characters 

John Rambo

  • 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.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Perhaps more like "adaptational sympathy", but Rambo was a somewhat 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, whereas in the movie they seem more like self-defense.
  • 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: The 80's emblem, and the 2000's resurgence of 80's action type as well.
  • 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). 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 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.
  • But Not Too White: In the novels, Rambo was mentioned as being half-Native American.
  • 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?
  • 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 life in prison until the sequel where he is pardoned.
  • Heroic BSOD: Has a major one at the end of First Blood.
  • Honor Before Reason: "Live for nothing, or die for something!"
  • 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.

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!
    • Colonel Badass: But really, what did you expect from the man who trained Rambo?
  • 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.
  • Ignored Expert: Teasle intentionally ignores Trautman's advice on how to handle Rambo, despite the track record so far.
  • Morality Chain: Usually the only one who can talk Rambo out of his more screwed up moments.
  • The Obi-Wan: He's the man who recruited Rambo into Special Forces and trained him to be a One-Man Army.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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 Jerkass Woobie. 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.
  • 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 then 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 and the novel.
  • Benevolent Boss: He genuinely cares for his deputy, heck, Galt's death is one of the main reasons why he chases after John. However, he is also considered to count as a Bad Boss, due to neglecting to notice Galt's abuse of Rambo and failing to properly organize his deputies to capture Rambo. It does show he still cares as when he and his men were outnumbered, Teasle helped a deputy name 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 man hunt 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.
  • Dirty Cop: 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 then 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 that Bullock views as a freak).
  • 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.
  • Fantastic Racism: Against Vietnam veterans, see Dude, Where's My Respect? above.
  • Fat Bastard: While not exactly fat and more big boned, he has an imposing physique and described by Rambo to be "king shit."
  • Former Regime Personnel: He's a Korean War veteran-turned sheriff.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: See Fantastic Racism and Dude, Where's My Respect? above.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Serves as a Hero Antagonist to capture fugitive from justice Rambo, but internally just to prove that Korean War vets (which Teasle is one of them) are more badass then Vietnam War vets (which Rambo is one of them) and to avenge the death of Art Galt, who's a despicable character to begin with, accidentally caused by Rambo.
  • 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?
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: See Pet the Dog below.
  • 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 then retreat, grovel or cry like some Dirty Coward if Rambo ever does get the upper hand.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Wants Rambo's head to avenge the death of fellow colleague Art Galt, who is a despicable piece of work to begin with, making the audience wonder what Teasle sees in Galt, aside from their shared hatred of Rambo.
  • 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.
  • It's All About Me: See Dude, Where's My Respect? above.
  • 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 man hunt is driven by Teasle's dislike of Vietnam vets and Rambo's Accidental Murder of Galt, as a policeman and he doesn't care if Rambo's rampage is a result of PTSD, he is valid that Rambo should not be let off that easy after committing, what Teasle thought it was, first degree murder and for being a Cop Killer.
    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 for 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. However, the penalty Rambo was given for it was harsher then the felony itself, thanks to the other charges for vagrancy and resisting arrest.
      • 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 in America throwing the case out of court for police misconduct.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: See Pet the Dog below.
  • Knight Templar: Feels he has his town's best interest at heart when he uses heavy-handed protocol against vagrants.
  • Large and In Charge: See Fat Bastard above.
  • Miles Gloriosus: See Break the Haughty above.
  • 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.
    • In a deleted scene from Teasle's and Trautman's initial encounter, Trautman tells Teasle that he (Teasle) picked the wrong man (Rambo) to push (referring to the mistreatment he and his deputies gave to Rambo), but Teasle argues he (Rambo) picked the wrong man (Teasle) (likely referring to Rambo trying to deliberately walk into town to Teasle's opposition that led to Rambo's arrest):
    *After being told by Trautman that he picked the wrong man to push.*
    Teasle: No, Trautman. He picked the wrong man!
    • 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.
  • Not So Different: Both Rambo and Teasle are military veterans in Cold War conflicts who are also each a Broken Ace and a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds due to the way the public has been mistreating them despite their services:
    • Rambo has been living life on the road, nearly friendless with Trautman as an exception, jobless and hated by anti-war civilians to a point he's been called a "baby killer," while Teasle's Korean War service has been forgotten and living in the shadow of the Vietnam War hot topic.
    • More explicit in the novel.
  • 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 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 man hunt, 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.
    • It should be noted he's the only Big Bad in the Rambo films who have any Pet the Dog moments.
    • This is subverted 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 Fantastic Racism):
    Teasle: I tried to do him a favor, I treated him like he was one of my neighbor's kids.
  • Rabid Cop: A Jerkass cop who uses heavy-handed protocol against vagrants and gets other Jerkass officers to do the rest of his dirty work for him at the station.
  • Retired Badass: Teasle is the only cop that seems to give thought to tactics and is unimpressed with Rambo's military background. In his office a Silver Star, Purple Heart and ADSC are on display, revealing that Teasle was not only a soldier but a soldier awarded for extreme valor, presumably in the Korean War.note 
  • Revenge Before Reason: See Roaring Rampage of Revenge below.
  • Revenge Myopia: See Roaring Rampage of Revenge below and Horrible Judge of Character above.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Becomes more eager to join the man hunt to find Rambo to avenge the death of friend Art Galt.
  • Shadow Archetype: See Not So Different above.
  • 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.
  • Tautological Templar: See He Who Fights Monsters and Hero Antagonist above.
  • Vigilante Man: Downplayed. While he leads the man hunt of Rambo because he's an escaped fugitive, Teasle's persistence is fueled by wanting to avenge Art Galt's death.
  • Villain Has a Point: See Jerkass Has a Point above.
  • 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.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: See Knight Templar above.

Art Galt

Played by: Jack Starrett
  • All 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 prolific as a Cold Sniper in the film. Also, given that Teasle is a Korean War veteran and both him and Galt have been friends for a long time when Deputy Mitch Rogers was still a little kid, these facts hint how long they might have been friends. 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 been 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.
  • Asshole Victim: A right sadistic bastard who was going out of his way to kill Rambo when he dies.
  • 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.
  • Cold Sniper: Galt calmly promises to kill the pilot if he doesn't keep the chopper steady so he can draw a bead on Rambo.
  • Death By Fantastic Racism: An example that involves more in the that of Fantastic Racism rather then usual racism, based on the DVD"s easter egg, Galt's mistreatment of Rambo is implied to be caused by his hatred of Vietnam vets due to Vietnam vets given more public attention then Korean War vets or soldiers from The Fifties (when Galt served in the military) and for that, Galt falls 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 re-arrest 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 over his dead carcass, but makes us wonder what she sees in him after the film exhibits his sadism towards Rambo.
  • Fallen Hero: See All In The Manual. Also sort of literal given his Disney Villain Death.
  • Fantastic Racism: Seemingly against Vietnam veterans. See All In The Manual.
  • 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.
  • 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 man hunt 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.
  • Token Evil Teammate: While Teasle is the Big Bad and his deputies are his Mooks and they're Jerkasses too like Galt, they are actually Hero Antagonists due to their roles as police officers out to capture a fugitive from justice, however, 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.

     Appeared in Rambo: First Blood Part II 

Co

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.
  • 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.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Co's death is what sparks Rambo's Roaring Rampage of Revenge at the end of the second film.

Lt. Col. Podovsky

Played by: Steven Berkoff
  • Bigger Bad: Is the actual main villain of the second film.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He is rather calm and even delightful for a cruel, relentless Soviet Lieutenant.
  • Large Ham: His fake 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.

Sgt. Yushin

Played by: Voyo Goric

     Appeared in Rambo III 

Col. Alexei Zaysen

Played by: Marc de Jonge

Kourov

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 

Schoolboy

Played by: Matthew Marsden
  • Awesome but Impractical: Schoolboy's .50-caliber sniper rifle, while cool, is very impractical for jungle warfare.
  • Deadpan Snarker: "Try the decaf, mate."
  • Friendly Sniper: He's quite cheerful and amiable when he'd not using his Barrett to pop SPDC troopers' heads like ripe melons.
  • 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 calibur anti-material rifle, which was designed for disabling lightly-armored vehicles. Natrually, the effect such a large round has on a human body is rather horrific.
  • Token Good Team Mate: The only unambigously kind-hearted and unselfish person in the band of mercenaries rescuing the missionaries.

Major Pa Tee Tint

Played by: Maung Maung Khin

Sarah

Played by: Julie Benz
  • 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.


Alternative Title(s):

First Blood, Rambo First Blood Part II, Rambo III, Rambo IV