If you get a military expert to watch most war movies, they will likely be able to pick holes and pull apart many of the technical elements of the battle scenes. And that’s exactly what happened when an expert in tanks watched Rambo 3 for the Insider series How Real is It?
Military vehicle historian and armor officer Nicholas Moran has high praise for some war movies that use tanks, such as Fury starring Brad Pitt (2014) and All Quiet on the Western Front (2022). His highest rating (a perfect score!) goes to the TV series Band of Brothers, which was praised for its realism.
It’s probably unsurprising that action movies such as 2017’s The Fate of the Furious and 1988’s Rambo III are not as accurate as the war movies which prioritize emotion and realism over tension and thrills. Moran watches a scene in which Sylvester Stallone‘s Rambo (in a tank) goes up against a heavily armed gunship helicopter which he describes as “basically a flying tank.”
Moran questions Rambo’s ability to both drive the tank and also be the anti-aircraft gunner. He also questions the helicopter pilot’s decision-making. The helicopter is equipped with missiles, but instead is firing unguided rockets at the front of Rambo’s tank. “And so the enemy pilot dies the death that his stupidity deserves” – Moran doesn’t pull his punches. “It has a tank, so I’ll give it a one.” That’s a 1/10 rating for the tank scene in Rambo III – just because a tank is present in the scene.
So, it probably won’t come as a huge shock that the Rambo movies are not terribly accurate or realistic to real-life war conditions. Stallone will next be seen in Expendables 4, but while we wait for that, check out our guide to the best spy movies.