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Where Was First Blood Actually Filmed?

Fans of the later entries in the "Rambo" franchise, in which the title character storms Viet Cong camps and pumps soldiers with hundreds of rounds of machine-gun fire, may be shocked when they revisit the somber, more realistic first film.

The 1982 hit "First Blood" was a successful hybrid of '80s action and '70s meditation that sympathetically depicted the plight of Vietnam veterans, who were often traumatized and cut off from social support. Homeless drifter and vet John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) starts a one-man raid on a small Washington town, but only after he's arrested and abused by the sheriff (Brian Dennehy in a great performance) and his deputies. The violence is driven largely by desperation and Rambo's righteous anger over being abandoned by his country. 

It's a far cry from the sequels and their turn to extreme, patriotic war action. But while the film is set in Washington, production actually took place elsewhere. Here's where "First Blood" was actually filmed.

First Blood was shot in, oh, Canada

"First Blood" was shot entirely in the province of British Columbia in Canada. This included the use of Hope, British Columbia, for the small-town scenes. They also filmed on location for forest scenes in Golden Ears Provincial Park, Pitt Lake, and Port Coquitlam (via IMDb).

This makes sense, as British Columbia and Canada have a history of hosting American TV and film productions, including sci-fi network series "Debris" and the title location of "Brokeback Mountain." The firearms used in the movie had to be imported into Canada because of the country's strong gun regulations and ended up being stolen during production. The weird mix of unseasonably sunny weather in November and heavy snow in January also shut down production repeatedly (via AFI Catalog).

Despite the challenges, the film successfully wrapped production and was a box office hit that spawned several sequels, with the most recent entry, 2019's "Last Blood," appearing to conclude John Rambo's increasingly violent story. You can currently see the beautiful locations showcased in "First Blood" for yourself by renting or purchasing the film through iTunes or Amazon.