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Kirk Douglas quit Rambo mid-filming when his scenes were cut

Legendary actor Kirk Douglas was supposed to be in the '80s action movie Rambo, but he walked out on the role halfway through filming.

Kirk Douglas as Spartacus in Spartacus

The late, great American actor Kirk Douglas lived to be 103 years old, and had many a starring roles to his name during his time in Hollywood. One action movie in particular that he cannot put his name to though, is Rambo, after the legendary actor quit the project mid-filming, due to his scenes being cut.


Douglas is perhaps most well-known for his role as the titular protagonist in Stanley Kubrick’s historical epic Spartacus, but he accrued credits in all sorts of genres during his illustrious career, from romance movies to drama movies. In the ‘80s, he was all set for a role in Rambo, but that didn’t quite work out.

According to a report from The New York Times, Douglas was lined up for a small but significant cameo in the movie, where he would have played Sylvester Stallone’s army trainer. When the scenes he had filmed were messed with and ultimately cut quite drastically, Douglas was enraged. So much so that he upped sticks and quit the job right then and there, never to return to Rambo again.

It sounds like the Rambo shoot was a problematic one, as many film productions can be. Stallone was reportedly injured during a stunt, and bad weather forced the project to come to a halt and delayed a number of key stunt scenes.

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Then, of course, Kirk Douglas, Hollywood A-lister, stormed out. That left the production needing a replacement and fast. Richard Crenna stepped in, but he had a clause in his contract that increased his price substantially after a certain amount of time on set. With shooting delayed and work still to be done, the decision was made to release Crenna, too.

To be fair to Douglas, we’d be feeling pretty aggrieved if all our scenes were cut from a movie too.