Phillip Etemesi at ScreenRant posted an article that should appeal to a lot of folks who check in here. First Blood: 10 Differences Between The Movie & The Book takes a look at, well you read the title. Here are three of my favorite differences and my comments on each…
Escape From Jail.
In the film, the deputy sheriff decides to beat him up… The officers keep on brutalizing him… one of them comes with a razor to shave hi(m), it triggers memories of his torture in a POW camp in Vietnam. He thus fights his way out of the station while still clothes… No one dies in the process.
In the book, Rambo is not abused. He is simply locked in a cell. When Teasle shows up to cut his hair, he begins to panic. And when the deputy comes with another straight razor, he loses his mind completely. He takes the razor and slices through the deputy’s abdomen before escaping while naked. He steals a motorcycle and manages to hide from the police for the night after a good samaritan offers him shelter.
(One of the reasons that First Blood was hard to get made as a movie is because Rambo in the book killed police officers and wasn’t as sympathetic or heroic as he ultimately became in the movie. – Craig)
In the book…
Rambo in the novel doesn’t value the lives of law enforcement officers. He kills most of them together with their dogs before cornering Teasle and giving him a warning.
In the movie…
Rambo takes out the entire town’s police force by himself. Using guerilla tactics, he attacks one at a time until they are all wounded. It’s important to note that he only wounds the officers in the movie and doesn’t kill them.
(Again, the book made it harder for audiences to sympathize or empathize with Rambo. Killing a dog in a movie is perhaps the ultimate downer. – Craig)
Fleeing From The Cave
In Morell’s book,
Rambo keeps up with his murderous ways and goes on to kill plenty of the members of the state police who had been brought in after he decimated the local police. A couple of civilians and national guard members also ned up being casualties.
In the movie,
Rambo damages plenty of property in the town but doesn’t kill anyone.
(First Blood had been floating around Hollywood for years before Sly become attached. No one prior was able to get a handle on the character. Under Sly, Rambo became more heroic, sympathetic and less of a killer… at least until Last Blood. – Craig)
If you’ve read this far I encourage you to click over to get the full story!