Rambo is perhaps one of the greatest action movies in the movie industry. The Rambo franchise which features five movies under the name is a series of action films with the lead actor Sylvester Stallone, who plays the role of Rambo. The series is an adaptation of the novel, First Blood, by David Morrell, released in 1972. The first movie from the series follows the story in the novel, with four other installments dropping after that.
The movie follows the story of John Rambo, who is a United States Army Special Forces veteran, who is traumatized by his experience of fighting in Vietnam. He appears to get some superior military skills as a result and he uses them to fight off police officers, drug cartels, and many more. His story goes on from the first movie in the series until the last one.
The first installment was released in 1982 for First Blood and the last one so far comes many years later in 2019. Sylvester Stallone acts as the lead character, Rambo, in all of the movies. Rambo is one of the most successful films in history having grossed over $819 million in total for the whole series.
Rambo Movies Order At A Glance
The Rambo movies in the right order are:
- First Blood (1982)
- Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
- Rambo III (1988)
- Rambo (2008)
- Rambo: Last Blood (2019)
Rambo Movies In Order
If you’re looking to watch the Rambo series or you’re a big fan of action movies looking for a movie recommendation, then you should consider starting from the first installment in the series, First Blood, which was released in 1982. After that, Rambo: First Blood Part II follows, with the release coming in 1985. The third installment of the Rambo series is Rambo III and it comes three years after its predecessor in 1988.
The fourth installment is Rambo, released in 2008. And just like the fourth movie was far apart from the third one, the last movie in the series comes eleven years later in 2019 for Rambo: Last Blood. There are no clues as to whether the Rambo series will continue, though many sources have predicted that Last Blood will be the last installment of the series.
1. Rambo: First Blood (1982)
This is the first installment of the Rambo series and it was released in 1982. It was distributed by Orion Pictures and features Sylvester Stallone as Rambo, Richard Crenna as Sam Trautman, and Brian Dennehy as Sheriff Will Teasle, among others. The first movie is based on the novel of the same name, First Blood, written by David Morrell. The movie was a huge success upon release and marked the beginning of the Rambo movie franchise.
The story follows the story of a war veteran, John Rambo, who has just been in the Vietnam War. He enters a town named Hope in Washington in search of his friend but soon finds out his friend died of cancer as a result of Agent Orange, which they were exposed to during the war.
As he is there, the town’s sheriff, Will Teasle, confronts him and tries to send him out of town to Portland, where Rambo said he was headed. Rambo decides to return to the town but is then arrested by Teasle, who charges him with some crimes including possession of a concealed knife.
In custody, Rambo is abused by the officers led by chief deputy, Art Galt. The abuse then seems to trigger flashbacks about his time in Vietnam and the torture he went through as a prisoner of war. The officers then try to dry shave Rambo but he soon kicks in and fights his way out of the station and heading into the woods with a motorcycle he steals at the station. Annoyed by what happened, Teasle organizes a search party using automatic weapons, dogs, and a helicopter.
Rambo is soon spotted on a cliff and despite against orders, Galt shoots from a helicopter at Rambo, who gets himself injured in one of his arms as he tries to escape. After a period of shooting, Rambo is able to throw a rock at the helicopter and it damages the helicopter’s windshield, causing the pilot to lose control. In the process, Galt falls off and dies as a result.
Teasle believes Rambo is responsible for Galt’s death and is out for revenge. As Rambo is an expert at guerilla warfare, he can use his skills to overpower and subdue the officers after him one after the other until he is left with only Teasle. He manages to get hold of Teasle too and threatens him with a knife to his throat. He tells Teasle to let him go or he would “give him a war he won’t believe”.
Teasle, who has now witnessed the threat of Rambo, gets help from the state police and the Washington National Guard. One of the people brought in is Colonel Sam Trautman, Rambo’s mentor, and former commanding officer. He tells Teasle about Rambo and asks him to let Rambo leave the perimeter so he can then surrender peacefully later.
Teasle does not agree with that and instead charges head-on as he’s still out for revenge. He lets Trautman call Rambo through a police radio he now has, having stolen it during his escape, so he can surrender but Rambo insists he won’t, not after the abuse he went through from Teasle’s officers, saying “they drew First Blood”.
Later on, Rambo is spotted by an abandoned mine by the National Guard. They blow up the entrance of the mine, against orders, and they believe Rambo has been killed. Rambo, however, gets hold of a supply truck carrying an M60 machine gun and ammunition. Meanwhile, Trautman tells Teasle to escape before Rambo shows up but again, he does not listen and is bent on killing Rambo.
He eventually gets shot by Rambo who spots him on the police station’s roof and as he’s about to finish the job and kill Teasle, Trautman advises him against it as he would eventually get himself killed. This prompts Rambo to break down and narrate his experience to Trautman. Rambo then surrenders and Teasle is taken to a hospital.
2. Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
The movie is a sequel to First Blood (1982) and it was released in 1985. It stars Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Charles Napier, and Julia Nickson, among others. The movie is set three years after the events at the end of First Blood.
The story continues as Rambo has been released from Prison after his former commanding officer, Colonel Sam Trautman, informs him of his solo infiltration mission to confirm the possible existence of Prisoners of War (POW) in Vietnam. He is then taken to Thailand where he will meet the bureaucrat overseeing the operations, Marshall Murdock. Rambo is given instructions to only take pictures and not rescue any of the victims.
On his way to meet his assigned contact, Co Boa, a Vietnamese intelligence agent, he loses all his weapons except his knife, a bow, and arrows. He meets Co and they are taken upriver by some river pirates arranged by Co. When they get to the camp, Rambo spots one of the POWs who has been tied to a cross-shaped post. He goes against his orders and saves the POW but as they plan to escape, Vietnamese troops spot them and as they expect rescue, Murdock, aborts the rescue saying Rambo violated orders.
Murdock then reveals to Trautman that Congress didn’t expect him to find anything and if they even found any, they were to leave them to die there including Rambo. Meanwhile, Rambo and the POW are captured and retaken to the camp while Co watches on.
Co is later able to help when Rambo is forced to make a video warning Murdock of further intervention as forced by the leaders at the camp. As they escape, Co is killed and that hurts Rambo who kills all the soldiers after him including using an explosive arrow to kill the officer who killed Co and he later buries Co.
Eventually, Rambo is able to bring the POW back to base where he threatens Murdock to save the other POWs. Trautman then asks him to return home following his Pardon but he refuses, saying he only wants respect and love for the soldiers from the country.
3. Rambo III (1988)
The movie is the third installment of the Rambo series and was released in 1988. It is set three years after the events at the end of First Blood Part II.
Rambo, who has now settled in a Thai monastery, gets invited by Col. Trautman to join him on a mission to help the Mujahedeen and other tribes in Afghanistan to repel the soviet army. Rambo refuses and Trautman proceeds but soon gets caught by Soviet leaders. Rambo is informed of this and he decides to go on a solo rescue mission to save Trautman.
While he’s still on his mission, Rambo helps a band of Afghan rebels who are fighting soviet forces when they try to destroy their village in a bid to get them to help him in his fight to save Trautman and bring down the soviet leaders. The rebels refuse to help and Rambo heads out and can get to Trautman and save him before he is tortured with a flamethrower. As the two try to escape, they are surrounded but the rebels come in good and help them overcome the soviets.
4. Rambo (2008)
The movie was released in 2008 and serves as the fourth installment of the Rambo series. It is set 20 years after the events in Afghanistan and Rambo is still living in Thailand and making a living as a snake catcher and also providing boat rides.
During the crisis in Burma where ruthless officer, Major Tint, has led his soldiers to spread a campaign of fear by taking over small villages and in the process killing innocent and taking others hostage, Rambo is asked to take a group led by a missionary doctor, Micheal Burnett, to Burma on humanitarian service to provide medical aid to a village where Karen people lived.
Rambo initially refuses but is convinced by Sarah, the fiancée of the doctor. During the trip, they encounter some pirates who ask to take Sarah to allow passage. Rambo doesn’t like the idea and he kills them all, in a move that doesn’t please Micheal. So when they get to their destination, Rambo is asked to go back as they no longer need his help.
Soon after, the village is attacked and missionaries are captured prompting the pastor of the missionaries’ church to come over to Thailand with mercenaries for a rescue mission. Rambo, again, guides them to their destination and offers to help but the leader of the group, Lewis, rejects the offer.
Rambo, however, does not listen and he still follows them which happens to work in their favor as he’s able to help them defeat some soldiers who are toying with hostages.
He joins the team and they fight off Tint’s soldiers with the help of the Karen rebels and eventually, Rambo can take down Tint himself. Later on, Rambo goes back to the United States where he visits his father.
5. Rambo: Last Blood (2019)
The movie is the last in the Rambo franchise and was released in 2019. It continues to feature Sylvester Stallone as Rambo alongside others like Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Yvette Monreal, and Genie Kim. It was distributed by Lionsgate Films and the movie grossed $91.5 million worldwide.
The movie is set eleven years after the events in Burma. Rambo is now living on his father’s ranch with his old friend, Maria, and her granddaughter, Gabriela. Gabriela is told by her friend, Gizelle, that she knows where her biological father is in Mexico. Despite Rambo and Maria telling her not to Mexico, she leaves and heads to Mexico. When she meets with her father, Manuel, he tells her never cared about her or her mother, leaving Gabriela heartbroken.
Gizelle takes her to a club after that encounter with her father and Gabriela gets drugged and kidnapped by members of a Mexican cartel led by the Martinez brothers. Meanwhile, Rambo has now gotten to know of Gabriela’s disappearance, prompting him to head to Mexico to find her.
When he gets to Mexico, he threatens Gizelle and Manuel about Gabriela’s whereabouts and then Gizelle takes him to the club where he last saw Gabriela. There Rambo meets El Faco, who was last seen with Gabriela.
As El Faco attempts to lead Rambo to Gabriela’s location, he is attacked by the Martinez brothers. In the process, they get his driver’s license and the location of Rambo’s ranch. After the attack, Rambo is helped to recover by Carmen Delgado, a journalist who is also out to get the Martinez Brothers after they killed her sister. Rambo recovers and can find Gabriela but she soon dies as a result of an overdose. As revenge, Rambo rigs his ranch with traps, and with the help of Carmen, he kills both Martinez brothers brutally.
Do You Need To Watch Rambo Movies In Order?
The movies in the Rambo series pick up a story from the end of the previous one. To be able to properly understand the story and the characters, then it is highly advisable to watch in the right order.
Will there be more Rambo movies?
It is hard to say, Rambo: Last Blood didn’t perform that well at the box office, and in the end, it all comes back to that. There is always a possibility that Sly Stallon wants another movie badly, so he can intervene in some way and force it. That said, even he is not young anymore, so we can only wait and see.