Rambo III is an American Action film released on May 25, 1988. It is the third film in the Rambo series following First Blood and Rambo: First Blood Part II. It was in turn followed by Rambo in 2008, making it the last film to feature Richard Crenna as "Colonel Sam Trautman", however, Crenna does appear in the final Rambo film in flashbacks.
One minute of the movie was censored in the United Kingdom.
The film opens with Colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) returning to Thailand to once again enlist the help of Vietnam veteran John J. Rambo (Sylvester Stallone). After witnessing Rambo's victory in a stick fighting match, Trautman visits the construction site of the Buddhist temple Rambo is helping to build and asks Rambo to join him on a mission to Afghanistan. The mission is meant to supply weapons, including FIM-92 Stinger missiles, to Afghan rebels, the Mujahideen, who are fighting the Soviets in the Soviet-Afghan War. Despite showing him photos of civilians suffering under Soviet military intervention, Rambo refuses and Trautman chooses to go on his own.
While in Afghanistan, Trautman's agents are ambushed by Soviet troops while passing through the mountains at night. Trautman is imprisoned in a Soviet base and coerced for information by Colonel Zaysen (Marc de Jonge) and his henchman Kourov (Randy Raney). Rambo learns of the incident from embassy field officer Robert Griggs (Kurtwood Smith) and convinces Griggs to take him through an unofficial operation, despite Grigg's warning that the U.S. government will deny any knowledge of his actions if killed or caught. Rambo immediately flies to Peshawar, Pakistan where he meets up with Mousa Ghanin (Sasson Gabai), a weapons supplier who agrees to take him to Khost, a village in the mountains near the Pakistan border, after Rambo threatens him, close to the Soviet base where Trautman is kept enslaved. The Mujahideen in the village, led by the village's main leader Masoud (Spiros Focas), are already hesitant to help Rambo in the first place, but are definitely convinced not to help him when their village is attacked by Soviet helicopters after one of Mousa's shop assistants has informed the Soviets of Rambo's presence. Aided only by Mousa and a young boy named Hamid (Doudi Shoua), Rambo makes his way to the Soviet base and starts his plan to free Trautman. The first attempt is unsuccessful and results not only in Hamid getting shot in the leg, but also in Rambo himself getting wood fragments in the side. After escaping from the base, Rambo tends to Hamid's wounds and sends him and Mousa away to safety, before cauterizing his own wound.
The next day, Rambo returns to the base, after scaling a cliff on the fort's perimeter to avoid detection, just in time to rescue Trautman from being tortured with a flamethrower. After rescuing several other prisoners, Rambo steals a Hind helicopter and escapes from the base. However, the helicopter is damaged as it departs and soon crashes, forcing Rambo and Trautman to continue on foot. After a confrontation in a cave, where Rambo and Trautman eliminate several Soviet Spetsnaz commandos, including Kourov, they are confronted by an entire army of Soviet tanks, headed by Zaysen. Zaysen warns them to drop their weapons and comply to his orders saying that they cannot escape and he wants to take them back alive. Just as they are about to be overwhelmed by the might of the Soviet Army, the Mujahideen warriors, together with Mousa and Hamid, ride onto the battlefield by the hundreds in a cavalry charge, overwhelming the Soviets. In the ensuing battle, in which both Trautman and John are wounded, Rambo manages to kill Zaysen by driving a tank into the Soviet colonel's helicopter, which he first tried to damage with a Molotov cocktail, handed to him by a man on a horse. Rambo survives the explosion and gets out of the tank. At the end of the battle Rambo and Trautman say goodbye to their Mujahideen friends and leave Afghanistan to go home. The movie ends with two quotes: "This film is dedicated to the gallant people of Afghanistan." and "I am like a bullet, filled with lead and made to kill". However, this was not the original quote in the movie. The first ending quote of the movie read "This ﬁlm is dedicated to the brave Mujahideen ﬁghters of Afghanistan".