10 Life Lessons Rambo Movie Life Lessons From The Great Hero Of Vietnam War
First Blood, the first of the Rambo movies, is about a troubled Vietnam war hero trying to get readjusted to life in America. He’s just learned that the only other survivor from his unit has died from cancer due to Agent Orange exposure, but he gets no sympathy from a sheriff who doesn’t like drifters. What lessons might we take away from this? :
Lesson # 1 : Don’t be too quick to judge people. Sheriff Teasle makes it clear that his town doesn’t want people like Rambo because of the way he looks. He didn’t consider that Rambo might have issues that for now are more important than getting a haircut or cleaning his jacket. All the ensuing conflict would have been avoided if Teasle hadn’t decided to make an enemy for no good reason. As Rambo said, “All I wanted was something to eat.”
Lesson # 2 : Sometimes what you say is less important than how you say it. Rambo defends his actions by saying “They drew first blood, not me.” Of course, this is just a tough guy way of saying “But Colonel, they started it!”
Lesson # 3 : Know when you’re outmatched. Colonel Trautman’s advice to Teasle was that instead of sending a bunch of poorly trained cops into the woods against an expert in guerrilla warfare, they should just let him go and arrest him later when no one would get hurt. Teasle repeatedly ignores this, always thinking that somehow his next attempt would be different.
Lesson # 4 : When you get caught up in something, it’s easy to lose perspective. Sometimes an outside observer can see how ridiculous it is. Like how Colonel Trautman sums up Rambo’s crime: “Vagrancy, wasn’t it? That’s gonna look real good on his gravestone in Arlington: Here lies John Rambo, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, survivor of countless incursions behind enemy lines. Killed for vagrancy in Jerkwater, USA.”
Lesson # 5 : Some job skills don’t transfer well. Rambo found that his extensive training was useless when he came back from Vietnam, and he wasn’t able to find something else he could do nearly as well. He said: “Back there I could fly a gunship, I could drive a tank, I was in charge of million dollar equipment. Back here I can’t even hold a job parking cars!” A tough problem, but maybe the solution is to become a Career Renegade.
Lesson # 6 : Sometimes it’s best to just let it go. Sheriff Teasle refused to give up on his maniacal desire to catch Rambo, who had never done anything wrong in the first place. This resulted in the accidental death of one cop, many injuries, and major property damage. Still, he refused to back off, even when he acknowledged that it could cost him his life. These are the times when you need to walk away (and solve the problem in a better way).
Lesson # 7 : War is bad. Of course we know this, but usually just as statistics in the news. It’s very different when you actually see the results. You have to feel sorry for people who consider themselves lucky to survive with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Lesson # 8: Rambo doesn’t need to say much. Rambo grunts. Johnny Rambo doesn’t talk much and when he does, he says only unbelievably manly things, like, “ Don’t push it or I’ll give you a warning you won’t believe.” Listen more and talk less is a good character of the successful person.
Lesson # 9: Sometimes the movie is better than the book. For some reason there’s a widespread assumption that the book has to be better than the movie. I don’t think that’s always true, and here’s a good example. The book was much more violent and portrayed Rambo as a psychotic killer. In the movie, Rambo was a sympathetic character who went on to become Ronald Reagan’s hero.
Lesson # 10 : Be prepared to seize opportunities. After Kirk Douglas gave up the role of Colonel Trautman over a script dispute, Richard Crenna stepped in after filming had already begun. Although he had already been in 28 movies, this would become his most famous role. You never know when your big break will come, so you have to keep your eyes open.
What it ended up doing was changing the face of action movies and spawning a character that would become the spokesman of the genre, especially in the 80's. The word 'Rambo' is now synonymous with war, firing a machine gun with one hand while holding the ammo feed in the other, kicking ass and taking names. You can choose to be “Rambo” in your life!