In a famous scene from the 1982 movie First Bloodprotagonist John Rambo, played by Sylvester Stallone, finds himself surrounded by police and soldiers in the small town of Hope, Wash.
Rambo’s former commander, Colonel Sam Trautman, tries to convince the struggling Vietnam veteran to surrender before it’s too late.
“It’s over, Johnny. It’s over,” Trautman, played by Richard Crenna, tells Rambo.
“Nothing is over!” Rambo shouted. “No!”
Decades later, the love between First Blood and the BC town where it was filmed is definitely not over yet.
VIEW | Residents and visitors celebrate Rambo in Hope, BC
Fans of the film are expected to flock to Hope, BC, about 150 kilometers east of Vancouver, this weekend to celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary.
Activities include a skateboarding competition, a Rambo-related art show, and a three-hour walking tour of the film’s filming locations. A tank is expected to run over several cars on the town’s main street on Sunday.
While First Blood features standard tropes action movies – gunfights, gas station explosions – it also deals with more serious issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and the US role in the Vietnam War.
The film, which became an international hit and spawned several sequels, originated in Canada. It was directed by Canadian Ted Kotcheff and adapted from a novel written by Canadian author David Morrell, who blast the most recent Rambo sequel – year 2019 Rambo: The Last Blood – called it “a mess” and said he was “embarrassed to have my name associated with it.”
Most First Blood was filmed in Hope, something that has become a point of pride for residents.
A large wooden statue of Rambo stands in the middle of the town. Ryan Villiers, who sculpted the statue, returned for the anniversary to create another one.
“Hope is the culture of Rambo,” he said. “It’s crazy to see… the legacy lives on.”
Tracy Paynter with the Hope Visitor Center and co-host of the First Blood event estimates that around 15,000 people come to Hope each year because First Blood.
“It’s important not only to Hope’s people but to fans around the world,” she said. “They’re the ones that keep this movie alive and they keep coming back to this town because they love the movie, they love this town.”
On the beach4:27Hope BC celebrates 40 years since “Rambo: First Blood” was filmed on location
The film crews spent about $1 million locally making the film, which was good for Hope’s economy at the time and also for BC’s film industry. Decades later, cinematic productions generated $4.8 billion in direct spending to the province’s economy last year, according to the Vancouver Economic Commission.
“This is the birthplace of Hollywood North,” says Paynter. “After First BloodThe rest just followed suit. “
6th6:3937 years after John Rambo debuted, First Blood is still big business in Hope, BC