The film about the mistreatment of a returned Vietnam veteran who is an ex-Green Beret, was an influential film in the action genre and resulted in four sequels. The producers wanted Steve McQueen to play Rambo but changed their minds because they thought he was too old to play a Vietnam vet.

Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall turned down the part as the Sheriff and Lee Marvin turned down the part of Colonel Trautman. That role then went to Kirk Douglas who later quit because he didn't like they way they changed the ending from the book the film was based on.

Author David Morrell who created Rambo was not a fan of 2019's "Rambo: Last Blood". He told Newsweek Magazine "The film is a mess. Embarrassed to have my name associated with it." "I felt degraded and dehumanized after I left the theater," Morrell said. "Instead of being soulful, this new movie lacks one," Morrell said. "I felt I was less a human being for having seen it, and today that's an unfortunate message."