For those who have seen the film Rambo: First Blood, this may come as a surprise. The 1982 film didn’t end with the death of Rambo, if it did how could there have been 3 sequels? The truth is this. Rambo: Fiirst Blood is based on the 1972 novel of the same name written by David Morrell. The plot of the movie is similar to the novel, except for the ending, the second time around that is. In the version by Morrell, John Rambo dies at the end of First Blood, shot by Captain, not colonel Trautman. Think the film was ever going to end differently than it did? Think again.
The script for the film was mostly written by Sylvester Stallone. He had achieved critical acclaim for his writing and portrayal as Rocky in the Rocky films. Stallone always intended for Rambo to die at the end of First Blood, but things were about to change.
Once the filming of Rambo: First Blood was completed, the movie underwent a screen test. The screen test included the original ending as written by Stallone. In this ending Rambo committed suicide by shooting himself after Trautman refused to shoot Rambo. This shocked the audience. They had grown to love Rambo and were on his side. To have him die at the end of the movie surprised many, with director Ted Kotcheff recalling, “When Rambo got killed a voice from the audience said ‘If this director is in the audience, he should be strung up from the nearest lambpost!'”
Stallone and Kotcheff decided to rewrite the ending and not have Rambo die at the end of First Blood. Instead, Trautman convinced Rambo to hand himself in to the authorities.
You can watch the original ending where Rambo dies in First Blood above.