The community of Hope, BC embraces its Rambo roots for a weekend-long event celebrating the 40th anniversary of First Blood.
The iconic 1982 film, which led to four sequels and an animated television series, was filmed in multiple locations in and around Hope. The District Municipality’s bond with the franchise has garnered countless fans over the decades – and many are back this weekend.
“It’s literally like Rambo-mania here in the town where it all started, in the original Hollywood North,” said Brian McKinney, an event planner who remembers watching the filming when he was just 13. .
McKinney says fans of the film franchise starring Sylvester Stallone are coming to town from as far away as Germany and Japan. Festivities include walking tours, film screenings and meet-and-greets with some of the cast.
There’s also a special Saturday unveiling of a new Rambo-related woodcarving. Sundays, Wallace Street. will also be closed for much of the day as a tank has to drive over cars parked along the road.
Vernon’s Jacob Kalashmikoff showed up Friday dressed as main character John Rambo.
“It’s a great movie,” Kalashmikoff said. “I cross Hope all the time and instantly think of Rambo.”
A representative from Hope Tourism said this could be the busiest weekend of the year.
“In our drop-in center, we probably get over 15,000 to 20,000 inquiries a year for anything related to the movie,” McKinney said.
The anniversary celebration also includes a tribute to the late Brian Dennehy, who starred in Sgt. Will Teasle. Organizers said the tribute is a surprise and will be announced on Saturday.
“We thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up,” said William Lancaster, Dennehy’s grandson who came with his family from Los Angeles. “There was something so moving and endearing and heartfelt and so wacky and crazy about it that we were like, let’s go.”
Lancaster brought in a small film crew to document the weekend.
Hope Mayor Peter Robb also unveiled a new street, aptly named Rambo Lane. The area is in the same location where the film’s climactic scene was shot, in which Rambo fires his gun across the street at the Mountain State Savings Bank, now Treehouse Health Foods.