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.


ROCKY IV
1985, Park Circus/MGM, 91 min, USA, Dir: Sylvester Stallone

In the biggest box office hit of the ROCKY series, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) is killed in the ring by Soviet heavyweight Ivan Drago (a very imposing Dolph Lundgren), and Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) travels to Russia to avenge his old friend’s death in an epic 15-round bout. Made while Cold War tensions were high, ROCKY IV shamelessly waves the U.S. flag, but when James Brown sings “Living in America,” you’ll feel like doing the same.


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