Fans descend on Canadian town where Rambo was filmed to celebrate its 40th anniversary

It was Rambo-mania in the town of Hope, British Columbia, as stars from the film, their family members and fans gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of one of the most iconic action movies of all time last weekend. 

The district of Hope, a town with a population of less than 7,000 situated amid the Cascade Mountains around two hours east of Vancouver, doubled as the fictional town of Hope in Washington State for the 1982 movie. 

Filming of the Sylvester Stallone classic began all the way back in November 1981 and lasted until the following April. 

The movie spawned four sequels, the most recent of which, Rambo: Last Blood, was released in 2019, to mediocre reviews. 

One of the organizers of the event, Brian McKinney, told DailyMail.com: ‘The First Blood concept really has evolved into this cult like thing. Apparently, there are close to a billion fans of the ‘Rambo’ franchise.’

The festival ran from October 7th until 10th. Among those who visited were Patrick Stack, who played Lt. Clinton Morgan, Stephen Chang who played the Viet Cong commander who causes much of Rambo’s trauma, as well as the family of Brian Dennehy, who played the notorious Sheriff Will Teasle. 

During the celebrations, a statue of Dennehy in character as Sheriff Teasle was unveiled.  

Stars from the film, their family members and fans gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of one of the most iconic action movies of all time last weekend

Filming of the Sylvester Stallone classic began all the way back in November 1981 and lasted until the following April

Without going into specifics, organizers said that visitors spend ‘a lot of money on souvenirs and First Blood keepsakes

One of the organizers of the event, Brian McKinney, told DailyMail.com: ‘The First Blood concept really has evolved into this cult like thing. Apparently, there are close to a billion fans of the ‘Rambo’ franchise’

A highlight of the weekend saw a tank drive over a car, smashing and flattening it. Other highlights included Rambo paintball and Rambo karaoke

The festival ran from October 7th until 10th

Dennehy’s grandson, William Lancaster, who flew up from Los Angeles with his family for the event, told CTV News: ‘We felt that was just too good an opportunity to pass up’

Many fans came in costume as John James Rambo for the celebrations

In total, around 3,000 people showed up for the anniversary celebrations

Sylvester Stallone pictured in one of his most iconic roles, the movie spawned four sequels, the most recent of which, Rambo: Last Blood, was released in 2019, to mediocre reviews

Dennehy’s grandson, William Lancaster, who flew up from Los Angeles with his family for the event, told CTV News: ‘We felt that was just too good an opportunity to pass up. There was something so moving, endearing and sincere and also whacky and crazy about it that we were like, let’s go.’ 

Lancaster even documented his experiences in a short movie, he told the station. Dennehy passed away in April 2020 at the age of 81. His daughters, Elizabeth and Kathleen, were also present. 

Elizabeth told the Abbotsford News: ‘How lucky are we that even though he’s gone, and that is heartbreaking, that through his work he’ll never be forgotten. That is so great, and to be with people who care so much and appreciate him so much, I think it’s going to be a beautiful weekend.’ 

In total, around 3,000 people showed up for the anniversary celebrations.  

It was always unlikely that Stallone himself would should up to the event as he fights to rebuild his marriage wife Jennifer Flavin

Brian McKinney, who is the lead at the Hope, Cascades & Canyons Visitor Centre, said: ‘Here at the Visitor Centre, we have 15,000 fans a year that come to our community specifically because this is where their favorite Sylvester Stallone movie was shot’

McKinney added: ‘Our approach to this phenomenon is that we basically just let the community do its own thing in terms of the filming locations. We just add the behind-the-scenes stories to them’

McKinney went on to speak about the area saying: ‘The beauty of most of these locations is that geographically not a lot has changed in all those years by this we mean the view through the lens is pretty well the same view today as it was in November and December of 1981’

Among those who visited were Patrick Stack, who played Lt. Clinton Morgan and Stephen Chang, pictured above, who played the Viet Cong commander who causes much of Rambo’s trauma

McKinney also spoke about the demographics of the visitors saying that they range from five to 95 years of age and that it’s ‘not just primarily the 30 – 40-year-old testosterone fueled, steroid gym monkey male. There are a LOT of females of all ages who are fans of this franchise as well

McKinney concluded: ‘Fans come into town dressed as John Rambo, yes have First Blood or John Rambo tattooed somewhere on their body, fans walk around town with the soundtrack blasting through their ear buds while taking selfies and they come from all four corners of the planet’

One of the attendees of the festival, Jacob Kalashmikoff, told CTV News: ‘It’s a great film. I drive through Hope all the time and instantly what I think about is Rambo’

A resident of the town, Nick Tyler, told Global News: ‘It’s a special occasion in our community and we thought we’d come down to show our support. It’s a blast. Not every day you get to see a tank crush a car on our main street’

The festival is testament to one of the most scenes in the movie in which Rambo’s former commander Col. Sam Trautman, played by Richard Crenna, tells his former charge to surrender before it’s too late. Trautman said: ‘It’s over Johnny. It’s over.’ Rambo passionately replies: ‘Nothing is over! Nothing!’

Brian Dennehy’s grandson said of the event: ‘There was something so moving, endearing and sincere and also whacky and crazy about it that we were like, let’s go’

Lancaster even documented his experiences in a short movie, he told the station

Dennehy passed away in April 2020 at the age of 81. His daughters, Elizabeth and Kathleen, were also present

Elizabeth Dennehy told the Abbotsford News: ‘How lucky are we that even though he’s gone, and that is heartbreaking, that through his work he’ll never be forgotten’

It was always unlikely that Stallone himself would should up to the event as he fights to rebuild his marriage to wife Jennifer Flavin. 

Former model Flavin, who shares a third daughter Scarlet, 20 with Stallone – filed for divorce on Aug. 19 after 25 years of marriage.

The news sent shockwaves through Hollywood, with many expecting a bitter divorce battle to rival Brad and Angelina.

Yet just a month later, the divorce was called off and the couple were then seen smiling and reuniting as they were pictured out and about in Los Angeles.

The pair have now faced accusations of staging the split for an upcoming reality show starring their family.  

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McKinney, who is the lead at the Hope, Cascades & Canyons Visitor Centre, said: ‘Here at the Visitor Centre, we have 15,000 fans a year that come to our community specifically because this is where their favorite Sylvester Stallone movie was shot.’

‘Our approach to this phenomenon is that we basically just let the community do its own thing in terms of the filming locations. We just add the behind-the-scenes stories to them,’ he continued.  

Elizabeth Dennehy added: ‘That is so great, and to be with people who care so much and appreciate him so much, I think it’s going to be a beautiful weekend’

The unveiling of the statue of acting great Brian Dennehy 

Recently, Sylvester Stallone’s wife Jennifer Flavin, who shares a third daughter Scarlet, 20 with Stallone – filed for divorce on Aug. 19 after 25 years of marriage

The news sent shockwaves through Hollywood, with many expecting a bitter divorce battle to rival Brad and Angelina

Yet just a month later, the divorce was called off and the couple were then seen smiling and reuniting as they were pictured out and about in Los Angeles

Famously after the TWA hostage crisis in June 1985, President Ronald Reagan joked that ″after seeing ‘Rambo’ last night, I know what to do the next time this happens

Another of the highlights of the weekend, visitors participated Rambo themed paintball

In 2017, Chris Pratt credited ‘Rambo’ for making him ‘who I am today.’

Pratt told Seth Meyers in a 2019 interview: ‘Stallone from ‘Tango & Cash’ and of course ‘Rocky’ but ‘Rambo’. ‘Rambo’, for me, that made me who I am today. He is so good.’

Pictured is Hope resident and movie extra Mary Kirksey, who played the mother of child in trouble at the police Dept, for graffiti at the beginning of Rambo

During the celebrations, Hope Mayor Peter Robb christened a street in the town after the movie calling it Rambo Lane

McKinney went on to speak about the area saying: ‘The beauty of most of these locations is that geographically not a lot has changed in all those years by this we mean the view through the lens is pretty well the same view today as it was in November and December of 1981.’

During the celebrations, Hope Mayor Peter Robb christened a street in the town after the movie calling it Rambo Lane. The street is where the climax of the movie occurred in which Rambo shoots his gun across the street at a local bank. 

Another highlight saw a tank drive over a car, smashing and flattening it. Other highlights included Rambo paintball and Rambo karaoke. 

McKinney added: ‘The die-hard fan knows where they are at all times as they make their way around town reliving their favorite movie making moments and trust me, we have talked to some of the most intense fans on the planet.’

He also spoke about the demographics of the visitors saying that they range from five to 95 years of age and that it’s ‘not just primarily the 30 – 40-year-old testosterone fueled, steroid gym monkey male. There are a LOT of females of all ages who are fans of this franchise as well.’

Without going into specifics, McKinney said that visitors spend ‘a lot of money on souvenirs and First Blood keepsakes.’ 

He concluded: ‘Fans come into town dressed as John Rambo, yes have First Blood or John Rambo tattooed somewhere on their body, fans walk around town with the soundtrack blasting through their ear buds while taking selfies and they come from all four corners of the planet.’

The street is where the climax of the movie occurred in which Rambo shoots his gun across the street at a local bank

Other highlights included Rambo paintball and Rambo karaoke 

Pictured is Karl Hasketh, with his wife Ann and son Steven. The Hasketh’s from Walsall, England haven’t travelled in their 32 years of marriage, calling their trip to the Rambo festival their honeymoon

In 2019, a headband worn by Stallone in the movie was auctioned off for $10,000

Steven Hasketh from Walsall, England, who won best dressed Rambo

Rambo themed beer, locally brewed in Hope, is pictured for sale 

The iconic Rambo mugshot has become a popular t-shirt design and has even been sported by Stallone himself

Patrick Stack who plays everyone’s favorite character Lt Clinton Morgan was at the festival for three full days 

A Rambo knife, similar to the one used by the iconic character, is pictured for sale

Rambo socks were among the most popular items that were on sale over the weekend 

One of the attendees of the festival, Jacob Kalashmikoff, told CTV News: ‘It’s a great film. I drive through Hope all the time and instantly what I think about is Rambo.’

Kalashmikoff showed up the event dressed as Stallone’s character. 

A resident of the town, Nick Tyler, told Global News: ‘It’s a special occasion in our community and we thought we’d come down to show our support. It’s a blast. Not every day you get to see a tank crush a car on our main street.’ 

In a testament to the enduring popularity of the movie, Chris Pratt credited ‘Rambo’ for making him ‘who I am today’.

The 37-year-old actor has revealed Sylvester Stallone, who portrayed as the lead role as John Rambo in the movie franchise, was his biggest influence growing up, and the the 1980 movies he featured in encouraged him to embark on a career in the acting industry.

Speaking about his career and his 70-year-old idol on ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers’ on Wednesday (03.05.17), the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ star – who plays the role of Peter Quill and his alter-ego Star-Lord in the Marvel Comics production – said: ‘That was my childhood growing up, and coincidentally the childhood of Peter Quill. His whole ideology is based on his pop icons from that 80s era. And Syl Stallone and Kurt Russell has such an influence on my childhood.’

‘Stallone from ‘Tango & Cash’ and of course ‘Rocky’ but ‘Rambo’. ‘Rambo’, for me, that made me who I am today. He is so good.’

And the dark-haired hunk – who has four-year-old son Jack with his wife Anna Faris – has revealed he even had his own survival knife because he felt so inspired by the Vietnam war veteran, who now joins him for a cameo appearance in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’.

He explained: ‘I had a survival knife. You unscrewed the top so you could navigate your way to safety, some waterproof matches, a little fishhook and some line just in case you are going to get stuck in the woods for a long time, you are going to catch some dinner. And a sewing kit should you fall off a cliff and cut your arm, the way he did in ‘First Blood’, you can sew that together, and that won’t get infected.’  

The festival is testament to one of the most scenes in the movie in which Rambo’s former commander Col. Sam Trautman, played by Richard Crenna, tells his former charge to surrender before it’s too late. 

Trautman said: ‘It’s over Johnny. It’s over.’ Rambo passionately replies: ‘Nothing is over! Nothing!’ 

Jacky

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