DEATH RACE 2000
1975, New World Pictures, 80 min, USA, Dir: Paul Bartel

In the year 2000, hit-and-run driving is no longer a felony - it's the national sport! In a dystopian future, economic collapse has pushed America into martial law; to keep the people pacified, the government has created the Transcontinental Road Race. Pro-wrestling-style drivers (David Carradine, Mary Woronov and a pre-ROCKY Sylvester Stallone among them) resort to any violence necessary to cross the finish line first, racking up bonus points for killing pedestrians. But resistance fighters hope to use the race to their own ends in Paul Bartel’s satirical cult favorite.


NIGHTHAWKS
1981, Universal, 99 min, Dir: Bruce Malmuth

In this inventive action-thriller, Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams star as New York City cops tasked with bringing down an international terrorist played by the inimitable Rutger Hauer. “Nighthawks is an exciting cops and killers yarn with Sylvester Stallone to root for and cold-blooded Rutger Hauer to hate.” – Variety, 1980.


FIRST BLOOD
1982, Rialto, 93 min, Dir: Ted Kotcheff

“It wasn't my war! You asked me, I didn't ask you! And I did what I had to do to win!” Sylvester Stallone created another screen icon in John Rambo, a Vietnam vet driven to violence in this box office hit. His bravura performance is balanced by that of Brian Dennehy as the small-town sheriff who doesn’t know what he’s dealing with, and Richard Crenna as the Special Forces colonel who does. Though the film doesn’t skimp on action, Kotcheff’s equal emphasis on character makes FIRST BLOOD the best of the Rambo series.


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