Hope, BC is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Sylvester Stallone’s iconic film

The Hope, BC community is committed to its Rambo roots with a weekend event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of First Blood.

The iconic 1982 film, which led to four sequels and an animated TV series, was filmed at multiple locations in and around Hope. The community’s connection to the franchise has drawn countless fans over the decades – and many are returning this weekend.

“Here in the town where it all began, in the original north of Hollywood, it’s literally like Rambo mania,” said Brian McKinney, a promoter who recalls seeing filming when he was just 13 years old Has.

McKinney says fans of the Sylvester Stallone film series are coming to town from as far afield as Germany and Japan. Celebrations include hikes, film screenings and meeting some of the actors.

On Saturday there is also a special unveiling of a new Rambo-related woodcarving. Wallace Street on Sunday. will also be closed for much of the day as a tank is said to drive up and down the street over parked cars.

Vernon’s Jacob Kalashmikoff emerged as the title character, John Rambo, on Friday.

“It’s a great film,” Kalashmikoff said. “I drive by Hope all the time and immediately think of Rambo.”

A Hope Tourism representative says this weekend could be the busiest of the year.

“At our visitor center location, we probably get in excess of 15,000 to 20,000 inquiries per year that have anything to do with the film,” McKinney said.

The anniversary celebration also includes a tribute to the late Brian Dennehy, who played in Sgt. Will Teasle. Organizers said the honor was a surprise and would be announced on Saturday.

“We felt the opportunity was just too good to pass up,” said William Lancaster, Dennehy’s grandson, who flew in with his family from Los Angeles. “There was something so touching, lovely and genuine and also crazy and crazy about it that we thought 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 climax scene was filmed, in which Rambo fires his gun across the street at the Mountain State Savings Bank, now Treehouse Health Foods.

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