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Music Conducted By
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrations By
Arthur Morton

Recorded By
Alan Snelling

Performed By
The National Philharmonic

Album Produced By
Douglas Fake

Intrada MAF 7111

Previous Release(s)
Varese Sarabande
Intrada Expanded CD

Year Of CD/Film Release

Running Time

Normal Release

Reviewed By
James Parker

Cues & Timings


CD 1 – Complete Original Soundtrack

1. Theme From First Blood [Pop Orchestra Version] (4:07)
2. Home Coming (2:21)
3. My Town (0:59)
4. Under Arrest (0:45)
5. The Razor (2:37)
6. A Head Start (1:03)
7. Hanging On (2:02)
8. Over The Cliff (1:26)
9. A Stitch In Time (0:57)
10. Mountain Hunt (4:52)
11. No Truce (0:39)
12. First Blood (4:45)
13. The Tunnel (3:25)
14. Escape Route (2:36)
15. The Truck (1:00)
16. No Power/Night Attack (2:50)
17. Hide And Seek (0:57)
18. It’s A Long Road (Instrumental) (3:22)
19. It’s A Long Road (Theme From first Blood) * (3:19)

CD 1 Total Time: 45:14

CD 2 – Original 1982 Soundtrack Album

1. It’s A Long Road (Theme From First Blood) * (3:19)
2. Escape Route (2:36)
3. First Blood (4:35)
4. The Tunnel (4:00)
5. Hanging On (3:26)
6. Home Coming (2:20)
7. Mountain Hunt (6:01)
8. My Town (1:55)
9. The Razor (3:05)
10. Over The Cliff (2:05)
11. It’s A Long Road (Instrumental) (2:51)

Total Original Album Time: 37:00

The Extras

12. It’s A Long Road [Recording Session Piano/Vocal Demo] (3:18)
13. Carolco Logo (0:19)
14. Rambo [Special Summer 1984 Trailer] (1:15)

Total Extras Time: 4:57

CD 2 Total Time: 42:05

* Sung by Dan Hill, Lyrics By Hal Shaper

Soundtrack Ratings







First Blood

Album Review (CD 2)

Jerry Goldsmith's creative score helped define John Rambo: his struggles, frustrations, and his identity as an individual. The use of a solo trumpet to introduce the Rambo theme in Home Coming and reprise it several times in the score was a masterful idea. The solo trumpet cries out proclaiming itself as if to say "I exist" while the melody signifies a combination of feelings. In this wonderful theme one hears loneliness, solitude, sadness, but also pride without regret. Rambo did his duty for his beloved country, yet feels betrayed. As this reviewer recalls, we were hated by all political persuasions upon our return. Goldsmith, with his talent and genius for understanding characters aptly represented these complex feelings and issues.

Escape Route depicts Rambo's escape from an underground cavern and opens with an electronic keyboard and a motif heard throughout the score in First Blood, The Tunnel, Mountain Hunt, No Power, and Over the Cliff. As the main theme is used to identify Rambo, this motif signifies his purpose. Once outside Rambo prepares to steal a passing Army truck, with various solos from woodwinds and snare drum evolving into a very powerful brass punctuated passage as he makes his leap.

First Blood is made up of two sequences. It opens with trilled woodwinds and a variation of the main theme with paired horns for Rambo's radio conversation with his mentor Coronal Trautman. Its tempo portraying a sad but respectful fanfare. The second sequence finds Rambo evading the National Guard, with Goldsmith's martial rhythms interrupted by the electronic mission motif before a chase ensues and the full orchestra rallies for a dramatic virtuoso passage.

The Tunnel begins with a subdued version of the main theme again on solo trumpet and is soon joined by the electronics, strings and woodwinds as Rambo makes a perilous journey through the cavern. The overall tempo is slow yet the mission statement signifies Rambo's progress. As Rambo stumbles upon hundreds of Rats that attack him in the darkness a violent explosion of orchestral energy represents the horrifying and traumatic event.

Hanging On is another cue made up of two separate set pieces. It begins with Rambo's preparations to destroy the hardware store by utilizing as much explosive material as he can find and setting light to it. In classic Goldsmith tradition the composer captures every nuance of Rambo's exploits as he builds up to the explosion. For the second part a simple two note rhythm sustains Rambo's perilous trudge through the wilderness before punctuated horns, strings, and full orchestra announce his arrival at the edge of a cliff. The tempo quickens and is later disrupted as Rambo hangs on for dear life, the desperate nature of the moment powerfully captured in the brasses.

Mountain Hunt is perhaps the most musically complex and interesting cue on the album and again covers two sequences. The first is the elaborate truck stunt in which Rambo smashes through a police blockade in the stolen Army truck. Goldsmith provides his most powerful rendition of his Rambo theme yet, which explodes in the cymbals accompanied by a five note motif heard throughout the score. The second part briefly includes the National Guard march before focusing on the earlier sequence when Rambo is hunted by Sheriff Teasle and his men. Goldsmith provides stark suspenseful orchestration, capturing the atmosphere of the dense forest undergrowth punctuated by bursts of brass as Rambo snares each of the men.

My Town is for another two sequences. The first part deals with Trautman's attempts at communicating with Rambo on radio with a suspenseful passage on bass accompanied by timpani and then snare drums with horns and woodwinds emerging as Rambo answers. The second is a heartfelt rendition of the theme as Rambo discovers the last of his unit has died. The Patton-like horn signature surfaces followed by a very sensitive and beautiful rendition of the main theme on violin and solo guitar as Rambo's loneliness is now complete.

Chimes, then a repetition of the keyboard mission motif open The Razor as Rambo defies Sheriff Teasle and walks back into town after being 'politely' told to leave. Woodwinds carry the main theme interpolated with other instruments and a painfully dissonant passage leads us into the next sequence from the film. After being arrested Rambo is humiliated by some of Teasle's officers and restrained during a shave with a cut throat. This brings back a horrifying flashback of his incarceration at the hands of the Viet-Cong, with Goldsmith providing unsettling electronic effects, distorted strings and woodwinds for these harrowing moments. As Rambo breaks free Goldsmith instigates a dynamic confrontation with electronics, timpani, and snare drum in a blend of sounds resulting in a tribal-like barbaric identity for Rambo's escape from the police station. The cue concludes with a triumphant full orchestral rendition of the main theme as Rambo escapes on motor bike.

No Power is the extra cue missing from the vinyl release and covers the scene in the latter part of the movie as Rambo takes out the power of the town and makes his way to a confrontation with Teasle. It begins slowly without much melody or development, but midway through we hear the main theme counter pointed by a slow martial tempo on timpani expressing more of a funeral dirge as Teasle bickers with Trautman.

Over the Cliff opens with a melancholy arrangement of the solo trumpet fanfare for the finale of the movie as Rambo is arrested and lead away. Suddenly the cue evolves into another energetic and violent piece for the earlier sequence as Rambo makes a dramatic leap off the cliff and into a tree. Goldsmith provides a blistering cacophony of sound, highlighting low end brass for Rambo's painful decent through the branches.

The vocal version of It's a Long Road concludes the album, but the score closes with the original un-used orchestral version. This is a reprise of the main title theme heard in Home Coming with solo guitar followed by woodwinds and full orchestra. Although the melody line is the same heard throughout the score, and as in the Home Coming expresses solitude and loneliness, here the theme makes a statement and brings closure to the story.