We heard about this film for weeks before it
came out. Adults in the small town I grew up
in wouldn't talk about it. Saying Viet Nam
was like talking about sex; an issue best
left for parents to explain.John Rambo brought to life the post-war struggle. Identity, place, fraternity, and love all hid in the shadows, away from the 'Nam vet's glare.
When this film came out, my Mom worked for the Forest Service (or "Smokey the Bear") in the typing pool in Corvallis, Oregon on the West coast of the US. She took me to see First Blood and she caught a bunch of flack for doing it. But my Ma' wanted me to get the whole story.
My Mom was kind of an old socialist in the French feminist egalitarian way. In the mid to late seventies, her resolve faded like the French femenist movement, swaying along the path, adopting religious tones mixed with pragmatism. But Mom didn't let her slowed activism change how she raised my step-siblings and me. If we asked, we got a truthful answer. She told us love was great. She told us good friends were the most important thing. She told us life was messy and painful sometimes, too.
In a way I think US parents wanted to forget about the seventies. Nixon was in the crapper still. The shock of the number of dead men hadn't really sunk all the way in. The total devastation to those left living could only be guessed at.
First Blood was an important step, bringing more of the story to the screen than just apocalypse. Sly Stallone humanized our social deficiency brilliantly.Life is simple, but life is very hard
sometimes; this is displayed wonderfully
in this first John Rambo episode. Too
bad about the sequels.
Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2016 Monster Fest For more in the 2016 Monster Fest series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2019 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2019 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.