Sheldon Lettich: From Vietnam to Van Damme (hardback)
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Sheldon Lettich: From Vietnam to Van Damme (hardback)

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Sheldon Lettich: From Vietnam to Van Damme

by Corey Danna

298 pages


  ISBN 9781629339887

From the steaming jungles of Vietnam to the verdant hills of Hollywood, Sheldon Lettich has carved a unique legacy amongst his peers. In an era before costumed superheroes ruled the multiplex, when action stars were not pumped up and enhanced by special effects, because they were the special effect!

Sheldon was at the forefront, working with action superstars like Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mark Dacascos, Sylvester Stallone, and Dolph Lundgren. Movies like Lionheart, Double Impact, and Only the Strong are now widely considered classics of the genre, and his relationship with Van Damme would span multiple films. This is not only Sheldon’s story, but a deep dive into those action classics and the others that are part of his multifaceted filmography.

Sheldon Lettich: From Vietnam to Van Damme features brand new interviews with Mark Dacascos, Boaz Yakin, Brian Thompson, and many more to bring you a behind-the-scenes overview of the action-packed cinema of the 1980’s and 90’s.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Corey Danna is a freelance journalist who has worked with sites such as,,, and several others. His work has also appeared in print magazines like Kung Fu Tai Chi, Exploitation Nation, and Tae Kwon Do Times. He also contributed heavily to the book The Good, The Tough, and The Deadly: Action Movies and Stars 1960-Present released in 2016.

Most recently he worked with Enjoy the Ride Records and Malibu Bay Films to release the soundtrack to Andy Sidaris’s Hard Ticket to Hawaii on vinyl, cassette, and digital. Corey currently resides in Michigan with his wife and children.

"This is one in-depth book that takes the reader behind the scenes of Lettich’s life on and off the movie set and features priceless anecdotes about the making of some of our favorite action films. This one is a definite must have to go with your collection that should include Stories from the Trenches as well as the Life of Action books."

Love Horror article

Daily Breeze interview

"Anyone who grew up in the VHS-era is undoubtedly familiar with the work of Sheldon Lettich, since he worked on some of the more memorable action flicks of the late-1980s and 1990s. In this illuminating 298-page biography, Corey Danna takes the reader through Lettich's life and career - his family moving from Brooklyn to Los Angeles when he was five; enlisting in the Marine Corps once he turned eighteen, at the height of the Vietnam war; eventually returning to LA and meeting his future wife - until his screenplay for 1987's RUSSKIES made it to the screen. After co-scripting BLOODSPORT, which turned Jean-Claude Van Damme into an action-superstar, Lettich was recruited by Sly Stallone to co-write RAMBO III; then made his feature directional debut with LIONHEART. Lettich is liberally quoted throughout the book, along with sprinkled recollections from friends and colleagues such as Josh Becker, Brian Thompson and Mark Dacascos. In addition to in-depth chapters devoted to features like DOUBLE IMPACT and ONLY THE STRONG, we learn about unfullfilled projects, production conflicts, fascinating behind-the-scenes info (such as how Lettich rescued Van Damme's CYBORG from direct-to-video oblivion), manipulative assholes encountered along the way, as well as '90s industry changes which pushed these muscular '80s heroes out of the limelight. Containing over 20 pages of photos from Lettich's personal collection, this is an insightful and nostalgic glimpse into the business of B-movie filmmaking and a writer-director who always strived to deliver much more than cookie-cutter action fodder."
- Shock Cinema