Sylvester Stallone‘s iconic soldier John Rambo has taken many lives over the course of his movie franchise, and here’s the full kill count. There’s no doubt that Stallone is a cinematic legend, mostly famous for his action movie work, but also very capable of a strong dramatic performance when given a good script. When it comes to Stallone’s long, illustrious career though, his two defining characters are definitely Rocky Balboa from the Rocky franchise and John Rambo from the Rambo series.
Rambo’s path through movies is a quite interesting one, as the original First Blood movie presented a man who’d been to war and returned scarred by the experience, and really didn’t ask anyone for anything but to be left alone. It’s only when a small-town sheriff decides to keep pushing him that Rambo reverts into combat mode, making him almost a tragic protagonist. Conversely, Rambo: First Blood Part 2 and Rambo 3 turned him into a guns-blazing action movie hero, which worked out fine overall, but gave Rambo a lot less depth.
In the two most recent films, Rambo and Rambo: Last Blood, Stallone’s hero was much less an all-American tough guy patriot, but the violence he inflicted was taken up to eleven, with some saying things went too far. Whatever any particular person’s favorite flavor of Rambo might be, he boasts a massive body count.
It may surprise some fans who started with the Rambo sequels, or those who just haven’t revisited First Blood in a long time, that Rambo’s kill count is almost nonexistent in his debut outing. Fitting the more dramatic narrative and his status as someone forced into a fight, Rambo practices self-restraint, and is actually only responsible for one onscreen death in First Blood, that of a cop he caused to fall out of a police helicopter onto rocks below. Even that is questionable, since Rambo wasn’t necessarily trying to kill anyone when he threw a rock at the cockpit. Any other possible deaths as a result of Rambo’s actions aren’t confirmed onscreen.
Rambo: First Blood Part 2 is where death becomes Rambo’s primary currency when dealing with bad guys. John makes a total of 75 onscreen kills in the sequel, with implements such as knives, shotguns, a bow and arrow, and even a rocket propelled grenade launcher. He also tosses people out of a helicopter, among many other kill methods. Rambo 3 ramps things up even further, with John taking no less than 115 lives onscreen, as the character really began to become an exaggerated superhero. Rambo, released in 2008, takes things in a grittier, more graphic direction, with a darker edge, but doesn’t let up on the death by a long shot. Rambo racks up a whopping 254 onscreen kills, a large amount happening via the explosion of a powerful bomb.
The most recent Rambo movie, Rambo: Last Blood, sees the Vietnam vet rack up a further 46 kills. Before the final tally though, there’s one other factor to consider. According to information relayed in First Blood Part 2, Rambo killed 59 men during the Vietnam War. However, whether that should be included in his count for the franchise is debatable, since they didn’t happen onscreen. If the Vietnam kills are added, Rambo ends up with an astounding 552 lives ended over the course of the series. Without them included, his final kill count is 493. Wow.