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Hope residents mourn dismantling of bridge used in Rambo movie

Hundreds of people, some in their finest John Rambo costumes, gathered under a high-noon sun in Hope, B.C., to bid farewell to one of the community's most famous landmarks – the bridge on which Sylvester Stallone's iconic film character clashed with his sheriff nemesis.

Dismantling of the Kawkawa Bridge is scheduled to begin Monday. A new span has already been erected, and residents and film buffs alike flocked to the Kawkawa for what was called the bridge's final take.

The wooden span was made famous in the original Rambo film, titled First Blood. The sheriff – played by Brian Dennehy – picked Rambo up and escorted him to the bridge, where he ordered the Vietnam War veteran to leave town. Rambo refused and was arrested when he walked back toward the community, setting the stage for the action thriller.

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Some of the film's memorabilia was on display Sunday, including a blue-and-white cruiser driven by one of the police officers. Event organizers also held a Rambo look-alike contest.

Nat Baker with the Hope Visitor Centre said the bridge has long been a tourist draw.

"People do pass through town and then see the posters, and then want to see the spots where Rambo was filmed. Or people come to the town specifically to see filming locations. It does happen year-round that we get requests for that."

What to do with the bridge was a subject for debate among Hope residents. Some suggested it should be preserved, while others called it an environmental hazard. Mr. Stallone's representatives also made a pitch to save the span, Mr. Baker said.

"They wanted to take it and put it in front of Planet Hollywood, his restaurant. That became a problem when we figured out the logs were creosote-soaked and wouldn't get across the border. That became a big hassle and they gave up on the idea."

Mr. Stallone wanted to be at Sunday's event, Mr. Baker said, but was busy filming a new movie.

Simon Birmingham, who has collected more than 1,000 items of First Blood memorabilia, including posters and photos, said it's sad to see the old bridge go.

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"It's going to be a tragedy. You're going to lose one of the greatest film props in movie history," he told CTV News.

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