Reel/Real Impact: Rambo and its Issues

In the 1980s, the war film genre was well and alive, judging by the crop of action films about Vietnam.  These films were made under the disguise of action-adventures, but in actuality they were imbued with a strong political subtext, reminiscent of the anti-Communist Cold War movies of the 1950s.  For some critics, they represented an American version of fascist ideology.

Prominent in this genre are the three Sylvester Stallone Rambo films that, in their comic-strip revision of the Vietnam War, proved to be bonanza at the box-office.

Rambo raised several significant issues:

1. A study by the National Coalition on Television Violence reported that there were 161 brutal violent acts per hour.

2. Parents were worried that military toys, such as a Rambo squirt machine gun, came from the right-wing movie.

3. The U.S. Army started hanging “Rambo” posters outside of recruitment offices.