Sylvester Stallone said that the first time he watched a rough cut of First Blood, he and his manager almost threw up in the back of an alley, then tried to figure out how to buy the movie back so they could destroy the negative.

Based on the 1972 novel by David Morrell, First Blood tells the story of John Rambo, a war veteran who is forced to fight for his life after being abused by a small-town police force.

"It was so bad," Stallone told Howard Stern about the initial First Blood edit. "We tried to buy it back and burn the negative. Originally it was three hours long, I stayed an hour and a half in the woods chasing guys. Plus I was pontificating throughout the thing. For example, I shoot an owl, and the owl drops, and I go 'Take that you mouse-munching mother...'"

Watch the 'First Blood' Trailer

Luckily Stallone had a simple, if drastic, plan to fix the movie. "I said 'here's a good idea, cut out all my dialogue, every line.' And have other people talk about you - which by the way is not a bad way to live in general, [let] other people fill in the blanks, like a Greek chorus you know? I think it works. It went from three hours to 90 minutes."

Read More: How Sylvester Stallone Got Captured by 'Rambo III'

The now-tightly edited First Blood was a big success at the box office, earning $125 million at the box office, almost exactly the same amount Stallone's other 1982 movie, Rocky III, earned. Four more Rambo movies followed as the franchise earned over $800 million collectively, with the most recent being 2019's Rambo: Last Blood.

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It started out with good intentions, then swerved into something entirely different. 

Gallery Credit: Michael Gallucci

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