Sylvester Stallone Blamed ‘Unprofessional’ Director For Putting Him Aand Stuntmen In Real Danger That Resulted In An Actual Death


First Blood not only unveiled the iconic machine gun-wielding figure of John Rambo and established Sylvester Stallone, already renowned for his Rocky series, as an action movie sensation, but it also weaved a poignant narrative that sheds light on the harsh reality of Vietnam War veterans being marginalized upon their return to the United States.

This theme is vividly portrayed by Rambo (Sylvester Stallone), a decorated Vietnam veteran who seems to grapple with an unrecognized bout of post-traumatic stress disorder. Driven by his personal demons, Rambo embarks on a relentless one-man battle against the tranquil town of Hope, Washington, retaliating against the persistent harassment and torment inflicted by local authorities.

Director Almost Got Sylvester Stallone In Danger

During the commentary for First Blood, Sylvester Stallone unveiled that the directors’ commitment to the script was rather loose. He pointed out that some scenes were spontaneously rewritten on the spot, and new sequences were haphazardly added while filming was underway. This unpredictability and lack of proper preparation resulted in a hazardous environment for the stunt professionals, including Stallone himself.

Reflect ing on a scene where Rambo leaps off a cliff to evade a helicopter with a gun, crashing through tree branches, Stallone recounted how he had to redo the stunt thrice. Unfortunately, after the second attempt, he couldn’t continue – he had broken a rib when colliding with one of the branches.


In an earlier sequence of the movie, we witness Rambo’s jailbreak as he speeds away on a motorcycle, pursued by Sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy) in his patrol car. Sylvester Stallone labeled this chase as “horrifically unchoreographed.” He added, “They just really let it fly.”

He pointed out that the moment when the patrol car skids down the hill on its side and flips unexpectedly was completely spontaneous. The scene turned out to be so visually striking that it was retained in the final cut of the film. Brian Dennehy actually climbed into the upturned vehicle, and filming continued from there.

Two Deadly Stunts That Completed The Sequence

In a different interview, an ambulance paramedic who was part of the set during the cliff jump scene recounted an anecdote about the two stunts that were required to nail the sequence. Going by the IMDb name Choatelodge, the paramedic shared that a backhoe was employed to position the tree through which Rambo tumbled at the cliff’s bottom. To ensure safety, the area was equipped with cushion bags.

According to the account, a stuntman scaled the tree to its maximum height. As the cameras captured the moment, he skillfully glided down the tree trunk until he landed on the cushion bags below.

“The climber had been made up with superficial cuts and wounds before the shot and by the end of it he had supplemented this makeup with several real cuts of his own,” Choatelodge said.

Following this, Choatelodge detailed how the stuntman, Don Charles McGovern, bravely jumped off and skillfully landed on his back onto an airbag positioned atop a stack of empty cardboard boxes.

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