A producer by the name of Ed Carlin stood in front of Hope town Council during the summer months of 1981 and did his best sales pitch about an "adventure film" that would have a "high special effects" content.
"Car chases, the explosion of a service station and a final devastating shootout along with watching major Hollywood stars in action should prove entertaining for Hope residents" Carlin said.
"We like Hope, B.C. the most out of a list of B.C. towns because of its mountainous backdrop for the manhunt in the movie" the producer said.
After a series of public hearings to solicit feedback from the community and an eventual motion from town council, Hope, B.C. would go on to stage arguably one of the most successful and talked about Stallone action films of all time.
Things moved quickly during the fall and winter months of 1981 as the first wave of what would be an eventual roster of 100 people moved in on the small community. A crew of 15 – 20 were the first to arrive as construction began on 3 sets that would play critical roles in the production; a gas station and a gun shop to eventually be blown up along with a sheriff station staged to be shot out during the final gun battle.
Meanwhile 550 local residents showed up for a casting call at an office set up by "First Blood" productions for their dream to hit the big screen. Competition being fierce as only 100 would be picked for crowd scenes.
The final cast was contracted which included Sylvester Stallone who would play John Rambo, Richard Crenna who would play Col. Sam Trautman and Brian Dennehy playing the part of sheriff Will Teasle. A young up and coming actor in his early 20’s David Caruso who would later go on to be a super star in the CSI Miami series would play deputy Mitch and veteran actor Jack Starret as bad guy Sgt. Arthur Galt.
Filming got underway in November and continued into the first 2 weeks of December bringing lights, camera and action at all times of the day & night.
Stars became locals and locals became stars as the cast and & crew we’re welcomed into Hope. |t wasn’t uncommon to see cast members visiting bars and restaurants before and after a day’s shooting.
"The friendliness and co-operation from the locals has been exceptional and we do apologize for the U.S. flags and mail boxes on the street" Brian Dennehy said in an interview. First Blood productions would eventually leave over 1,000,000.00 in economic spin-offs once shooting was wrapped.
And so a star was born. A star being the film industry in British Columbia. Many of the crew who worked on the set of First Blood would go on to successful careers in film & entertainment. One local retailer summed it up best selling souvenir T-shirts during production which proudly displayed "FIRST BLOOD MADE HOPE, B.C. HOLLYWOOD NORTH"
Since the release of the film in 1982 thousands of fans descend upon the community of Hope every year to re-live their favorite moments of First Blood.
But keep in mind there are so many other things for you to see and do in the Hope area. You can check out their on-line visitor guide here - http://hopebc.ca/visitor-centre
Welcome to Hope
FIRST BLOOD FILMING LOCATIONS