John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) with a bow

John Rambo

“What you call hell, he calls home.”
– Colonel Trautman


This character originally appears in David Morrell’s First Blood. However, this profile discusses the much better-known cinematic version of the character, as played by Sylvester Stallone in the first 3 Rambo movies. This profile was written well before the fourth.

The Rambo movies enucleate the nuance present in Morrell’s story, but are important movies in several respects :

  • As successful political propaganda.
  • As establishing a new vibe of action hero with impressive musculature, super-heroic invulnerability, and heavy weaponry. Subsequent action movies, comics, video games, wrestling, TV, shows, etc. were influence by this highly popular concept.
  • As establishing new standard in the levels of violence and carnage that “should” be part of action movies. Back then, it was often seen as grotesque and almost nihilistic.



  • Real Name: John J. Rambo.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’10″ Weight: 215 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown

Powers and Abilities

John J. Rambo is probably the best, most efficient green beret ever. It was generally accepted he was one of the three finest soldiers ever produced by the US armed forces.

He’s extremely well versed in a huge number of combat skills (hand to hand, firearms, gunships, low tech weapons, knives…) and is frighteningly efficient at guerilla tactics, sneaking, sentry removal, demolitions and such.

His physical abilities and staying power being fittingly developed, he has demonstrated the ability to single-handedly destroy consequent enemy forces. He’s the quintessential cinematic special forces soldier.



Rambo, John J. was born in 1947 7/6 in Arizona, USA of Indian-German parents. He joined the US Army in 1964 8/6. Entering the Special Commando as a Light Weapons specialist, he received medical training and training in helicopter piloting and languages.

Rambo was one of the great legends of the Việt Nam war, rating 59 confirmed kills and having received two silver stars, four bronze stars, four purple hearts and a medal of honour for accomplished military services. However, this hardened soldier found it almost impossible to fit back in the civilian world, and sound became a miserable drifter.

With deep psychological wounds, unable to hold a job, unwilling to have normal social relations and haunted by the war, Rambo was a typical burnt out vet. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was just another somewhat insane prole going from one unqualified job to another.

At one point, his drifting led him to a small American town, where a temperamental sheriff started to harass him. The not-too-stable vet snapped when the police’s attitude toward him reminded him too much of the war. He was soon violently defending himself against his outclassed tormentors – the situation couldn’t be defused before several were wounded and one killed.


The Army, however, now knew where to find one of their once-finest commandos. Hoping to help him come to terms with his ghosts and to unlock a desperate situation, colonel Sam Trautman sent him back to Việt Nam to conduct a one-man combat rescue operation to free some POWs.

The mission was a success, and John Rambo could put himself together a bit. After coming back stateside, he exiled himself again to a Buddhist monastery, looking for inner peace.

Trautman, his friend and mentor, came to him for help in conducting a highly sensitive operation in Afghanistan, but Rambo’s vows made him refuse. Trautman attempted to conduct the op by himself but failed and was captured. Rambo accepted to be infiltrated into Afghanistan, but his main goal was to get the colonel back out alive.


1080p trailer of the 1982 First Blood movie.


Short, very muscular body, covered with many scars, some recent, some not so recent. Rambo is generally clad in ex-con or miserable vet clothing. When on a military op he prefers combat fatigues, combat boots and a red headband, going bare-chested.

He generally has a low-profile attitude, keeping his eyes to the ground and being quite expressionless. In combat, he has a strange grin, half his face having damaged muscles which do not move well.


Haunted, tired, bitter vet and drifter. He now seeks peace within himself (engaging in Buddhist prayer, meditation and general religious life), but occasionally, knowing full well what skills he has, works as a mercenary and prizefighter to earn a living.

Although having troubles in his civilian life (at least prior to the monastery), and unable to find peace, he handles combat stress and torture extremely well. On a mission, he seems unbreakable. However, even though it doesn’t immediately show, he takes punishment from his war exploits. After the action has died down suffers from serious trouble finding rest and peace.

He’s very professional in performing his work and doesn’t bear a grudge against single individuals who were part of a society that he has fought before. For example, having fought the Vietnamese on multiple occasions, he fell in love with his Vietnamese guide and collaborator.

John, being somewhat clinically paranoid, distrust authority and basically anyone else. The one exception his former mentor, boss and only friend Colonel Trautman. John would go to, and does, to any length, to save the life of Trautman, if need be.

In combat he shows no mercy at all, never hesitates and is nearly superhumanly aware and efficient.


Trailer for the second movie. In 480p, therefore you can see it on this page without missing much.

DC Universe History

Although he’s an interesting character, John Rambo has unfortunately become a cliché, and the subtleties of his background are often lost. Thus, he’s a bit hard to introduce. However, you could still have the vet-snaps-against-authority (or crime) situation. The hero(es) arrive, attempt to apprehend the perp, and are badly hurt by the commando.

When they start understanding that he’s the god of guerilla warfare, that he snapped for a reason, and that the situation is much more complex than the routine mad sniper case they thought it was, you might as well have them discover the super-commando-from-Hell’s exact name from his files…


“Do we get to win this time, sir ?”

“You drew first blood !”

“Nothing is over ! NOTHING ! You just don’t turn it off ! It wasn’t my war ! You asked me, I didn’t ask you ! And I did what I had to do to win ! But somebody wouldn’t let us win !”

Rambo: “I put in my time.”
Griggs: “What’s that mean ?”
Rambo: “It means my war is over.”

Teasle: “Are you telling me that 200 of our men against your boy is a no-win situation for us ?”
Trautman: “You send that many, don’t forget one thing.”
Teasle: “What ?!”
Trautman: “A good supply of body bags !”

Trautman: “How’s the wound ?”
Rambo: “You taught us to ignore pain, didn’t you ?”
Trautman: “Is it working ?”
Rambo: “Not really. Don’t take it personally.”

Rambo: (over radio) “Are you listening ?”
Russian Commander: “Who are you ?”
Rambo: “Your worst nightmare.”

(Trautman and Rambo are face to face with a Russian attack helicopter, over a dozen tanks and personnel carriers, and over a hundred soldiers)
Trautman: “You got any ideas ?”
Rambo (thinks for a moment): “Surrounding them is out.”
Trautman: “Hell of a time for humor, John.”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Rambo (cinema version)

Dex: 06 Str: 04 Bod: 06 Motivation: Unwanted Power
Int: 06 Wil: 07 Min: 07 Occupation: Vet
Inf: 07 Aur: 03 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 021 HP: 040

Acrobatics (Climbing): 05, Animal Handling (Riding): 04, Charisma (Intimidation)*: 07, Evasion (Ranged only): 08, Martial Artist*: 06, Medicine (First Aid): 05, Military Science: 08, Thief (Stealth): 09, Weaponry (Melee, Exotic): 07, Weaponry (Heavy, Firearms, Missile): 08, Vehicles (Air): 08, Vehicles (Land): 06

Area Knowledge (Vietnamese Jungles), Iron Nerves, Languages (German, Thai, Vietnamese), Expertise (Demolition, Việt Nam War).

Colonel Sam Trautman (High).

SIA (Patriotism), Mistrust.


  • Rambo always pack a Combat Knife [BODY 05, Enhance (EV): 01 (Cap is 06), Descriptor: Piercing, Slashing].
  • If he’s armed, that will probably either be a M60E3 light machinegun [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 07, Ammo: 06, R#03, Recommended STR 03 (none when using a bipod and the Bracing Bonus), Advantage: Autofire, Drawback: Long Reload, MPR (heavy and cumbersome – cutting movement speed by 1 – unless your STR is 2 APs above the Rec. STR]. or
  • A M16 assault rifle [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 06, Ammo: 08, R#02, Advantage : Autofire] with M203 grenade launcher [BODY 04, Range: 07, Ammo: 01, R#03] and fix frag grenades for the M203 [BOY 02, EV 07 (Area of effect), Grenade drawback].
  • If he doesn’t have access to this hardware, he has been known to employ a Compound Bow [BODY 03, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 04), Enhance (Range): 03 (cap is 06), Ammo: 01, Recommended STR: 02, R#02, Limitation: Low Penetration, Descriptor: Piercing] with Normal Arrows (x12) and Explosive Arrows (x8) [BODY 02, EV 06 (Area of effect)].
  • He might have Timed charges (x6) [BODY 02, Bomb: 09, Cling: 01, Bonus: Has time-set functions, Note: Uses User’s Demolition skill as AV when exploded and Camouflage skill as OV/RV versus detection].

By Peter S Piispanen and Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Rambo movies – not the First Blood novel.

Helper(s): Phil Dixon, Andrew Lee, Roy Cowan.