It is no secret that in every project Sylvester Stallone has done, he has taken an active role in rewriting or editing the screenplay as much as he can and to the best of his ability. It is his talent for writing that makes him unique and stand out from his contemporaries. Even while creating Rambo, the actor was heavily involved in the screenplay and even gave his own little nuggets of suggestions here and there.
However, Stallone was not too happy with how the movie was supposed to end and threatened to quit if the director didn’t change the ending. It wasn’t because of the storyline, but rather because of a noble cause that Stallone held his ground.
Sylvester Stallone Forced Director To Change Rambo’s Ending
Sylvester Stallone knew that Rambo wasn’t a character everyone would be fond of. As he describes him in his Netflix documentary, Sly, Rambo was a ‘homicidal maniac’. The only way he agreed to do the movie was if he was allowed to rewrite the screenplay.
While the actor wanted to bring a degree of shocking feral ferocity to the character, inspired by his father, he was very sure of how he wanted the movie to turn out. To seek inspiration for the screenplay, the actor researched a lot about war veterans, particularly those who had fought in the Vietnam War.
After knowing and understanding their trauma, he knew he could not let the original ending make it to the film. The original end was Rambo getting shot by Colonel Trautman, and he slowly passes away. Knowing the mental toll this ending would have on Vietnam veterans, Stallone refused to keep it in the film.
Sylvester Stallon Wanted To Change Rambo’s Ending For A Noble Cause
Sylvester Stallone had read and researched a lot about war veterans and their harrowing experiences in wars. It is no secret that every war veteran might have bravely faced and overcome the challenges of the battlefield, but an even greater and evil battle awaited them upon returning home. This was the war being fought within their heads, 24/7 with no relief.
Knowing this, Stallone refused to have his character die in Rambo. He stated in the Netflix’s Sly documentary,
“And I said to the director, ‘This is not good.’ I don’t want everyone who was a Vietnam vet to see this film and then me shot, and realize, ‘Oh, so there’s no hope for me at all. None.’ And I left…. At that time they were losing 20,000 vets to suicide a month. I said, ‘I don’t want to be part of that. I don’t’.”
The makers decided to screen the one with the original ending in Las Vegas. Fortunately, the reviews were extremely bad, prompting the production to keep the ending that Stallone suggested.
Rambo: First Blood can be streamed on Netflix.