How to watch chronologically and by release date

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The year was 1982. Late Night with David Letterman premiered on NBC, Chariots of fire won the Best Picture award at the 54th Academy Awards and the San Francisco 49ers won their first Super Bowl. And this is also the year when the public first met the legendary John Rambo. the years 1982 First blood was the ultimate action flick of that era and it rose to instant popularity in its day, launching a franchise and spawning a series of films to be released in the years to come.

Inspired by the eponymous novel by David Morrell, First blood Featured Sylvester stallone like John Rambo, who continues to be the hero of the entire series. The Rambo The franchise quickly became so iconic that the character’s legacy has since spanned 32 long years with five episodes, a 65-episode animated television series, and several video games. And more importantly, the fan following the franchise created for Stallone’s ultra-macho one-man army remains, and will likely endure, well into the decades to come. Although Stallone’s Rambo is quite different from the one in the book, his character left a mark on audiences. His tragic life and deep trauma, thwarted by his muscular figure, heavy weapons, and sweat-drenched bandana-covered body, became the archetypal image of an action hero for the next two decades.


The film series kicks off years after the Vietnam War with Rambo going to meet a friend in a small town in Washington. He soon finds himself in trouble with the local police and a mini militia as the situation quickly becomes more and more catastrophic. The sequel stories that followed see Rambo in different difficult and life-threatening situations, where he must save himself and those who ask for his help. The only major difference between the movies of the 80s and those of the 2000s is the change in the character arc of John Rambo. While the earlier installments focused more on glorifying the war and battles of Rambo, the later ones brought back the angry hero Morrell created in the novel but also explored his emotions. In a way, you could say that the whole franchise is the journey of Rambo’s life and his evolution.

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Now, if you are looking to revisit the John Rambo Saga, then there is an order in which you should watch them. The first three films are somewhat related, each starting from where the previous one ended. But the last two films are more stand-alone stories. Of First blood To Last blood, here’s a quick guide on how you can watch Rambo’s five films in chronological order and their release dates. Fortunately, the timeline of the story and the film’s releases coincide. Buckle up, soldier, because it’s gonna be a hell of a ride.

Related: ‘Rambo’ The Complete Steelbook Collection 4K Blu-Ray Review: A Must For Fans

Rambo Movies in Order of Release Date


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Image via Orion Pictures
  • First blood – October 22, 1982
  • Rambo: First Blood Part II – May 22, 1985
  • Rambo III – May 25, 1988
  • Rambo – January 25, 2008
  • Rambo: last blood – September 20, 2019


Rambo films in chronological order

The best way to watch all of Rambo’s movies is to watch them in the order they were released. It’s also because the stories unfold more or less in a linear fashion, spanning years in John Rambo’s life, starting with First blood and ending with the last one.

1. First Blood (1982)


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Image via Orion Pictures

Realized by Ted kotcheff from a screenplay written by Michel kozoll, Guillaume Sackheim, and Sylvester Stallone, the very first episode starring Stallone, Brian Dennehy, and Richard crenna in the main roles. First blood introduces John Rambo as a US Army Vietnam War veteran who is quite traumatized by his past. Seven years after the war, Rambo is now homeless and tries to make his way through a small town to meet a dying friend. But coincidentally, he gets in trouble with the local sheriff, which sets off the killing machine he was trained for.


2. Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)


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Image via TriStar Pictures

After the incidents of First blood, Rambo ends up in a rural labor prison. Three years later, he receives a visit from Colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna), who sends him on a secret mission to Vietnam. A small group of American soldiers are still being held by the enemy as prisoners of war in Vietnam and Rambo must infiltrate their location to obtain photographic evidence. Rambo agrees to continue the mission in exchange for a pardon. The film follows his journey to Thailand and then Vietnam, through a series of bureaucratic roadblocks and attacks by pirates and Vietnamese troops.

3. Rambo III (1988)


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Image via TriStar Pictures

Take off from the Vietnam mission in the previous film, Rambo III explores the Soviet-Afghan war that took place in the 1980s. John Rambo now lives in Thailand. Colonel Trautman visits him again with another mission. This time the CIA wants Rambo to go to Afghanistan and investigate the Soviet army. When Rambo refuses, Colonel Trautman leaves himself but is quickly captured by the Soviets. When Rambo learns of this, he travels to Afghanistan to save the colonel.


4. Rambo (2008)


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Image via Lionsgate / TWC

Stallone himself directed this fourth installment of the franchise. It has been 20 years since the events of the Soviet-Afghan War and John Rambo continues to live in Thailand and work as a snake catcher. Meanwhile, the saffron revolution has erupted in Myanmar. A team of Christian missionaries seeks Rambo’s help to enter the country on a humanitarian mission. He reluctantly helps them cross borders and when the group is attacked by rebels, Rambo sets out to save them with merciless violence.

5. Rambo: Last Blood (2019)


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Image via Lionsgate

In the fifth and final installment of the franchise, Sylvester Stallone once again co-wrote the screenplay, alongside Matthew Cirulnick. Realized by Adrian grünberg, Rambo: last blood Stallone stars, Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Adriana barraza, and Yvette Monreal in major roles.


It’s been 11 years since the events of the last movie and Rambo now lives on his late father’s ranch in Arizona, with his friend Maria and granddaughter Gabriela. Gabriela suddenly learns of the existence of her biological father who is supposedly in Mexico and wants Rambo to accompany her there. But Rambo refuses and does not prevent him from going. When Gabriela sneaks out of the house and crosses the border, she is soon kidnapped by the Mexican cartel. As planned, Rambo travels to Mexico to save Gabriela while fighting the local cartel. This movie concludes the entire John Rambo story with flashbacks to previous installments.


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