Works in this franchise with their own pages:
- Unlike the sequels, the first film had elements of Psychological Horror, revolving around Rambo's damaged and dangerous psyche that drives him into becoming a killing machine and how his combat tactics brings fear into others as he stalks them like a Ninja.
- Really, facing Rambo is nightmare fuel on its own. This is especially emphasized in the first film, where it is clear that many of the people searching for Rambo are scared out of their minds trying to find him and when they realize that they're not tracking Rambo, he's hunting them.
- The mineshaft. Cornered by the National Guard in the entrance to a cave? Crappy. Being covered with [hungry, biting] rats while half-submerged in water in a narrow passageway with only a torch for light while trapped inside a mountain? Terrifying.
- Rambo getting tortured in the Vietnam flashbacks.
- The standoff between Rambo and Art Galt. It becomes a very intense standoff in the scene in it's own. Art takes flight in his helicopter and starts firing round after round from his bolt-action rifle to try and nail John from the cliffside that he's trapped on. Just before Art makes a successful shot, Rambo throws himself from the cliffside and lands in a tree. Hitting every branch on the way down. Now, for anyone in the know at this moment, when Stallone threw himself (with no stuntman mind you) into the actual tree in this scene, he actually and literally injured himself. And those cries he admits and looks of anguish? Yeah, those are real! You can never watch that scene again with that knowledge in mind. Also, this moment definitely shows how Galt is more vile than Teasle other than his mistreatment of Rambo back in the station.
- The trailer for the first film, unlike future sequel trailers which entranced audiences to a fun action-packed adventure, this trailer instead showcased a From Bad to Worse situation with the music increasingly intensifying until it frighteningly explodes at the end like as though it makes an action film like this one being a some sort of nightmarish Psychological Horror experience than some fun rollercoaster. The way it was advertised, it was like the filmmakers were promoting a horror film (not unlike The Terminator, until it also became an action franchise like the Rambo sequels that follows).
- When Rambo starts the mission, he attempts a low-altitude static-line jump from the plane - and the line doesn't release, leaving him hanging out the side of the plane helplessly until he can cut away his gear and saw himself free.
- Rambo's loving treatment at the hands of the Vietnamese and Russians - left tied up and essentially naked in a pool of mud that's filled with leeches, then beaten, tortured with electricity, and has his face sliced open with his own knife that's been heated to the point that it glows.
- The POWs are essentially used as work slaves, shuffled around from camp to camp and forced to harvest crops. They're filthy, emaciated, and have been there so long they don't even know what year it is. One is shocked when Rambo tells him that it's 1985. For reference, American involvement in the Vietnam War ended in 1973.
- Colonel Zaysen is this. He destroys entire Afghan villages, kills innocent people, women and children with mines, bio-weapons and other evil stuff For the Evulz.