East 56

Rambo is tired


Sylvester Stallone is 67, the United States is 238.


The first of the four Rambo films – First Blood – was released in 1982, more than thirty years ago. It appeared just as the US was beginning to recover from the traumatic defeat in Vietnam and in many respects represented the American return to a “muscular” international presence.

Rambo came to symbolize American military prowess around the world. The model was highly influential within the United States as well and likely has much to do with the country’s particular infatuation with ‘elite’ military special forces like the Green Beret commandos, Delta Force and, later, the US Navy’s “Seal Teams.”

Though produced with the frank intention of earning money at the box office, in its way the Rambo franchise became one of the most spectacularly successful propaganda initiatives ever. Newspaper picture editors could always be counted on to use photographs of anti-American protestors around the world wearing Rambo T-shirts, unaware that he was meant to be the ‘enemy’.

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