In the movie First Blood, Vietnam veteran John Rambo is arrested on trumped-up charges of vagrancy and resisting arrest. By the end of the movie he has clearly committed a large number of crimes including actually resisting arrest, assault of several police officers, arson (terrorism?), vandalism, theft of several vehicles, theft of several guns, etc. The audience is never told the charges or possible sentence that Rambo is facing by the end of the movie. Instead the movie ends abruptly on a freeze-frame as he's walking out of the police station in handcuffs.

If we ignore the charges that lead to his initial arrest, what charges would John Rambo be facing when he surrendered to the police at the end of the movie? Bonus question (might be better for the Law community): what kind of sentence would he be looking at for those charges?

The reason I'm curious is because I've heard people say, "He didn't actually kill anyone, so he probably wasn't given a life sentence." This seems a little silly to me: just because he didn't kill anyone doesn't mean he isn't going to prison for a very long time. The sum total of his charges could easily add up to an equivalent life sentence.

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    This is too broad &/or opinion based. All we know is that he was sentenced to at least 8 years.
    – Paulie_D
    Jul 22 '17 at 22:06
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    @Paulie_D The sentencing is opinion based but the charges are not. There are tangible scenes showing Rambo commiting crimes. What are all the crimes that he committed? It's a simple, but not easy, question.
    – Cameo
    Jul 22 '17 at 22:09
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    But it's guessing at the possible charges. The list could be endless and so too broad. In any case it's irrelevant trivia.
    – Paulie_D
    Jul 22 '17 at 22:15
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    @Cameo, further more, the charges against him depend on several things, including what they actually think they could proove. For example, if they can not proove intent, murder may instead by charged as manslaughter. As such, it is impossible to tell what charges would actually be charged against him, without seeing it happen in the movies. Anything further is basically speculation.
    – Gnemlock
    Jul 23 '17 at 6:57
  • The better question would be "What exactly was Rambo doing wrong when that jerk Sheriff told him to leave town"? Jul 23 '17 at 8:11

Since it all started with brutal police abuse of a decorated war hero, that would tend to make what might happen a not-straightforward assessment. Local authorities might not want to further highlight the actions (which could lead to them losing their positions or even facing charges, themselves) leading up to the more spectacular events, and any good defense attorney would make a huge deal out of it to leverage a plea bargain, at the very least.

As far as the officer in the helicopter (mentioned in another answer), there are no witnesses to what happened. Rambo's defense would be "how would I take down a helicopter, in flight, with my bare hands?" A destroyed helicopter would not have damage indicative of a thrown rock ("look, rock damage" "well, it did plunge from hundreds of feet in the air into the rocks"). So that would not even have charges, unless he confessed somehow.

I think the implication was that the US military ushered him away, claiming jurisdiction of some kind, out of the control of local authorities who would be the ones who would file charges.


He did killed one police officer, that guy that was shooting at him from the chopper. Rambo throws the rock at chopper and causes the guy to fall down. He will surely charged with murder, probably not the first degree and he may defend with self-defence, that will surely be the heaviest charge against him. The cop was an a***ole and was shooting to kill instead to stop Rambo, but legaly probably was allowed to use firearms since Rambo was running after being arrested. It is not likely Rambo would walk free for that regardless of being shot at when he threw the rock.

Right after that charge are mutlipe heavy injuries caused on police officers. Regardless how cops are treating him, he is not allowed to fight, escape and esppecially not to phyisically hurt them nor anyone else for that matter. He would surely be guilty on multiple accounts. And assault in police station may be separate charge from physically hurting people in the woods.

Not sure about dogs though. Are they considered police property? Can some animal rights sue him regardless of them being police dogs? Someone else would have to clarify.

After those you have probably tons of charges you mentioned yourself, falling under different laws depending on was the deed against civil, police or army personel and property.


If you're talking about the movie, the only charges Rambo faced were multiple Destruction of Property charges. The rest was considered self-defense due to the sadistic actions of the officers, particularly Art Galt.

In the book, Art Galt was gutted by Rambo during the scene when he was being shaved by Teasle. Actually, the Art Galt of the book was more like the character of Mitch in the movie than he was like the Art Galt character in the movie.


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