BLADE Magazine

The Story of the Rambo Knives in 22 Photos

Follow the Rambo knives through the first four movies with these photos. If you want to step back in time even further, download the June 1983 issue of BLADE.

Rambo knives
The Rambo knife that started it all in 1982: the First Blood by BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© member Jimmy Lile. This is serial no. 8 of the original 13 First Blood knives Lile made, with sheath.
Jimmy Lile and Sylvester Stallone at an early ’80s California Custom Knife Show. Stallone holds the First Blood knife.
The serial no. 8 First Blood knife and sheath rest on Jimmy Lile’s record book concerning the making of the knives. At the top of the page it reads “#1-6 Stallone got.” Sylvester Stallone received six of the original 13 First Blood knives.
Jimmy Lile (center) with actors Jack Lucarelli (left) and Jameson Parker (right) at an early ’80s knife show. Lucarelli wrote the book on Lile, “James B. Lile The Arkansas Knifesmith.”
The Rambo knives from the first (bottom) and second Rambo (Rambo: First Blood Part II) movies, the latter film hitting theaters in 1985. Note the differences in blade finish, the shape of the blade and sawteeth, choils, guards and buttcaps.
BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© member Gil Hibben assumed the mantle of Rambo knifemaker for the third installment of the Rambo movie series (Rambo III in 1988) with this robust model in 440C stainless steel, oblong blade hole and modified handle of mascassar ebony.
Sylvester Stallone holds the Rambo III knife while a friend squeezes the Rambo II model.
With the Hibben family, including Mrs. Linda Hibben, looking on proudly, Gil Hibben gives then Vice President Dan Quayle a presentation-grade Rambo III in a ceremony at the White House in the late ’80s.
A batch of unfinished Rambo III models awaits completion.
Stallone forges a knife in a scene that was deleted from Rambo III and showed up later on DVD outtakes.
In a recent image, Gil Hibben holds one of his Rambo III knives.
Twenty years after Rambo III hit theaters the fourth installment, Rambo, hit theaters in 2008, and Gil Hibben did the honors on the knife once again.
Though two decades older from his last appearance as John Rambo, Sylvester Stallone and his knife still had a commanding presence on the big screen in the fourth flick.
Made to reflect a knife built for the needs of both the jungle environment and its user, the Rambo IV knife was crude in comparison to the earlier Rambo knives, but every bit as effective if not more so as a cutting tool.
Gil Hibben heat treats one of the knives for the fourth movie in his shop.
Sly with the Rambo IV knife and a friend with the Rambo II.
A handle wrapped with black electrical tape illustrated the primitive yet efficient nature of the Rambo IV knife.
After years of being as mythical as its title character, the fifth movie in the Rambo franchise, Rambo V, is slated for a fall 2019 release, according to Deadline.
Gil Hibben’s shop bench top full of Rambo IV knives.
Gil holds serial no. 87 of the first 100 Rambo IV knives.
Hammer marks enhanced the rough finish of the Rambo IV blade.
In the 35th anniversary year of Rambo, Gil Hibben holds the Rambo III, his most popular knife ever.


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