In 1988 Sylvester Stallone made the third Rambo movie. As a knife collector, Stallone had a number of Gil Hibben's knives in his personal collection. So when he needed a bold new knife design for his John Rambo character in the movie, he called on Gil. After some ideas were passed back and forth between Stallone and Gil, they settled on the now famous modified bowie design.
Gil Hibben and Sylvester Stallone
After the movie was released, United Cutlery licensed the design to make replicas of the movie knife. It became one the biggest selling knives of all time, selling over 250,000 copies worldwide, and established a new market for collecting movie replica knives. The knife has more than proven itself not only as functional knife but also a collectors item and is still selling some 19 years later.
United Cutlery replicas
The United Cutlery replica.
Rambo I. II and III replicas from United Cutlery. I and II were based on Jimmy Lile's design and III was designed by Gil Hibben.
United Cutlery released 4
versions of the knife.
Bottom: The original version - United Cutlery UC-201 was originally released in 1988 (although I have seen it referenced as RB3). The UC-201 model is still listed in the United catalog.
Middle: In the year 2000, United released another version, UC-1238 Rambo III Special Edition. This version had a black handle, the blade is etched with the "John Rambo" signature, it is serial numbered, and it came with a display plaque and a collectors card.
Top: In 1998 United released
the 10th Anniversary Edition UC-1162. It was serial numbered, has a "John Rambo"
signature etched on the blade and came with a display plaque.
Special Edition 10th Anniversary Model
In addition, United Cutlery
made a miniature version.
The miniature shown along with the larger United Cutlery replica.
also made a limited number of Damascus miniature replicas.
Gil Hibben also designed a dagger that was briefly seen in the movie.
Many people do not know that the United Cutlery replica is actually about 1 3/8 inches shorter and has a slightly thinner blade than the actual movie knife. Besides several prototypes that Gil Hibben made for the movie, Gil made a serial numbered limited edition of 350 handmade, full-sized copies of the movie knife. These knives feature a hand rubbed blade of 1/4" 440C stainless steel, stainless steel guard and pommel, and a hand finished Ebony handle. Although these are certainly collectors items, like all of the handmade custom knives that Gil makes, they are fully functional knives with heat treated and tempered blades sharpened to a shaving edge.
Notice: The original serial numbered series of 101 handmade Damascus knives and serial numbered series of 350 handmade 440C stainless steel knives have sold out. Hibben Knives is now offering a new Limited Edition of 100 handmade, full size, serial numbered copies of the movie knife with the new "RIII" marking.
For over 20 years we have used the “RAMBO” trademarks (currently owned by Studio Canal Image S.A.) in connection with the advertising and sale of the knives featured in the movies Rambo III and Rambo. While we strongly believe we still have the right to use the “RAMBO” trademarks, we have decided to temporarily discontinue such use in order to avoid a legal dispute with the trademark owner. We are, and will continue to be, the ONLY source of authentic reproductions of the knives used by Sylvester Stallone in the movies Rambo III and Rambo.
Please visit our ONLINE STORE to order.
Here is a RIII version that few people have seen and some interesting trivia. Have you ever wondered about the slot in the blade of the knife? One of Gil's original designs actually had a second blade that fit into the slot with a spring loaded release catch. The movie producers decided against this version and went with the now famous knife. Only two of the knives were ever made with the second blade, Gil has one (pictured here) and Stallone has the other.
Gil's Latest movie knife
All photos copyright Mike Carter 2007 and may not be republished without permission.
In October of 2006, Sylvester Stallone contacted Gil about making a new knife for the upcoming "Rambo" movie due to be released early 2008. Gil came up with several prototype designs over the next few months. The studio wanted a crude looking knife since according to the script Rambo would forge his own knife in a primitive foundry using materials that could be scavenged. The result was a large machete style knife with a cord wrapped handle covered with grip tape.