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  • Actor-Shared Background: Teasle's Korean War military background reflects his actor Brian Dennehy's service in the United States Marines in The '50s. Interestingly, the DVD's Survival Mode profiles Teasle to have specifically served in the Marines like Dennehy, which means that the shadow box in Teasle's office should have a Navy Cross instead of the Distinguished Service Cross. In the novel, Teasle was explicitly stated to have been a Marine, decorated for his actions in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.
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  • California Doubling: Hope, British Columbia doubled for (fictional) Hope, Washington.
  • Completely Different Title: In many countries, it is instead named for the protagonist, Rambo (though a few decided to invert The Foreign Subtitle and make it Rambo: First Blood). This even reduced the complicated sequel names, as those countries turned Rambo: First Blood Part II into a simpler Rambo II, sometimes with an added subtitle - and the film simply named Rambo became Rambo IV.
  • Creator-Preferred Adaptation: David Morrell preferred the film's ending as Rambo doesn't die... thus allowing for sequels that ended up making him millions.
  • The Danza: With the exception of the National Guardsman leader Lt. Clinton Morgen (Patrick Stack), all of the other guardsmen who pursue Rambo into the mineshaft are referred to by the same names as the actors who portray them.
  • Deleted Scene:
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    • A scene was filmed but never used where Rambo, while in the cave after dispatching Teasle and his men, has another flashback: he and his buddies are in a bar in Vietnam, being entertained by the local women. Rambo takes one to a back room and they make love. The scene then flashes to the present, and Rambo begins to cry.
    • Some television versions are said to include a scene in the beginning of the movie where Rambo enters a town diner to buy some takeout, and the cashiers hassle him, first not serving him, then charging him for condiments. Finally he just leaves.
    • The USA network version has new scenes cut from the original including: a scene after the posse is injured, paramedics putting the posse in ambulances, and Galt's body into a helicopter, just as Kern arrives; an extended conversation between Trautman and Teasle about Rambo taking out his posse; a second extended conversation about the capture of Rambo; a scene where Teasle and Trautman land at the spot where Rambo is "killed". Shortly after, Teasle is congratulated for "killing" Rambo.
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    • The 1983 broadcast of the film in Canada featured scenes that was cut from the theatrical version, and the following deleted scenes were not on the special features on the DVD and Blue-Ray releases: Rambo checking the bullets in Galt's pistols. Balford saying "I am ready when you are". Lester consoling Galt's widow. Kern confronting Teasle on arresting Rambo. "That boy is a heart attack!". Additional dialogue between Teasle, Kern and Trautman. Extra footage of Rambo in the caves and Teasle offering to drive Trautman to the airport.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Rambo's horrific scream when landing on a tree branch was not acting; Sylvester Stallone broke a few ribs on that impact.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Jack Starrett plays a Dirty Cop who is prejudiced against Vietnam vets, while Starrett himself had before directed the Vietnam War motorcycle movie The Losers (1970).
  • No Stunt Double: Sylvester Stallone actually performed the stunt where he leaps from a cliff to a tree against the director's wishes. The look of pain is genuine, as he cracked about six ribs in the process.
  • The Other Marty: Kirk Douglas was actually cast as Colonel Trautman for a little while, but he walked off the set due to disagreements with the director and producers over the film's ending. Richard Crenna was called in to replace him. The DVD extras contain marketing stills of Kirk wearing Trautman's signature uniform.
  • Production Posse: Actor Brian Dennehy and director Ted Kotcheff had both previously worked on another psychological thriller released around the same year by Orion Pictures as this film titled Split Image.
  • Saved from Development Hell: The film rights to the book were bought a full decade earlier. Over a dozen scripts were written during that time, along with several A-list actors considered, approached or attached and then dropping out.
  • Star-Making Role: This film was a Career Resurrection for Stallone, being the first non-Rocky film that succeeded at the box office, and for veteran character actor Richard Crenna. For Brian Dennehy, who had appeared in past obscure parts, it was much more, leading to substantial roles including Gorky Park, Cocoon, Silverado, F/X: Murder by Illusion, Tommy Boy, William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, Assault on Precinct 13 (2005), Everyone's Hero, Ratatouille, Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups and most recently a uncredited cameo in Tag.
  • Throw It In!:
    • The end of the chase between Rambo (on a motorcycle) and Sheriff Teasle, where Teasle's police car rolls off an embankment and flips over upside down, was not scripted this way, but when the car ended up in that position, Ted Kotcheff liked the result so much that he continued shooting the scene and had Brian Dennehy get into the police car while it was still upside down, and filmed the scene as it appears in the movie.
    • Rambo jumps off a cliff into a tree, then falls down, hitting branches on the way down, to hit the ground with a blood-curdling scream. That's because Stallone broke several ribs doing the stunt.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Averted. It was, after all, based on a 1970s novel, and the "messed up Vietnam veteran" was still used to good effect in The '90s by The X-Files and The Simpsons. Rambo's name is not in the title, and since he kills no one, it even falls out of the hyper-violent '80s action movie genre that the film's sequels helped create.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Dustin Hoffman was the first choice for John Rambo with Mike Nichols directing. He turned down the role because he felt the script was too violent. Other candidates included Powers Boothe, Jeff Bridges, Robert de Niro, Michael Douglas, Clint Eastwood, James Garnernote , Paul Newman, Nick Nolte, Chuck Norris, Al Pacinonote , John Travolta and James Woods
    • Robert Duvall and Gene Hackman were both considered to play the role of Teasle, mostly likely for the novel's sympathetic Jerkass Woobie depiction of the character than the movie's actual final product of the man. Interestingly, Duvall was a Korean War veteran much like Teasle and fits more into the novel's physical profile of Teasle than Dennehy's barrel-chested and imposing physique shown in the movie, as Teasle in the novel was described as being a smaller man, around 5'7 in height and average weight with Duvall's appearance being the closest to that description, while Hackman would later appear in director Ted Kotcheff's Uncommon Valor, playing a character who's also a Korean War veteran.
    • Chuck Norris said in an interview that the makers of Rambo at one point brought up the possibility of him playing Rambo.
    • Lee Marvin turned down the role of Col. Trautman, because he didn't want to play a Colonel. Rock Hudson was offered the role, but he was about to undergo heart surgery and had to pass.
    • Sydney Pollack considered doing the film in late 1974 with Steve McQueen as Rambo and Burt Lancaster as the sheriff. However ultimately he decided against it.
    • One version of the script had Bette Davis as a psychiatrist who treats Rambo.
    • George Miller was asked to direct.
    • After the success of Convoy, Kris Kristofferson was considered as a possible choice for John Rambo. Some felt the former Airborne Ranger would make a solid Rambo, and they hoped his good friend Sam Peckinpah could be persuaded to direct. John Frankenheimer was another candidate to direct.
    • In the scene where the sheriff pulls Rambo over, Rambo was supposed to say "You ever hear of Easy Rider?" When the sheriff answered in the affirmative, Rambo would reply "Well, I'm Easy Walker."
    • John Milius was approached to write the script in the late seventies.
  • Written-In Infirmity: Sylvester Stallone accidentally broke the nose of a stuntman during the prison escape scene by elbowing him in the face, which is why he is seen wearing a band-aid throughout the rest of the film. Coincidentally, this is what Rambo does to a policeman in the novel during the exact same scene.

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