Legendary Knives

Legendary Knifemaker

The origin of the Stallone RIII Bowie Knife

Gil Hibben and Sylvester Stallone

Gil Hibben Handmade Knives Made For Use In The "Rambo III" Movie

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.

This is the ONLY AUTHORIZED full-size handmade copy of the knife designed by Gil HIbben and made famous by Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo in the movie "Rambo III". I say full size because many of the factory reproductions are actually a smaller scale reproduction of the movie knife.

This unique knife was designed by Gil Hibben and is entirely handmade by Gil in his own shop in LaGrange, Kentucky.

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.. 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.  
Other than the "RIII" marking, these are exactly the same handmade, full size, screen accurate copies of the movie knife.


Manufacturer: Gil Hibben / Hibben Knives
Model #: RIII
Limited Edition of 100 Handmade Knives
Overall Length: 17 1/4"
Blade Length: 11 7/8"
Blade Width: 2 1/4"
Blade Thickness: 5/16"
Blade Steel: 440C Stainless
Rockwell C Scale Hardness: 56-57
Handle Material: Makassar Ebony
Weight without sheath: 2 lb. 5 oz.
Weight with sheath: 3 lb. 3 oz.


Handmade Damascus RIII - serial numbered series of 101 handmade Damascus knives

Handmade Miniature RIII

RIII Prototype

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 sold the second on auction in 2015.



Gil Hibben also designed a dagger that was briefly seen in the movie.


United Cutlery replicas

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. 

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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 


Special Edition                                              10th Anniversary Model

In addition, United Cutlery made a miniature version.

The miniature shown along with the larger United Cutlery replica

Charlton LTD. also made a limited number of Damascus miniature replicas.

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