Up 18,140 this week

Thunderbolt (1929)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.9/10 from 248 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 5 critic

A criminal known as Thunderbolt is imprisoned and facing execution. Into the next cell is placed Bob Morgan, an innocent man who has been framed and who is in love with Thunderbolt's girl, ... See full summary »


(story), (story), 3 more credits »
0Check in

Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns a classy 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

Related News

Forgotten Pre-Codes: "Afraid to Talk" (1932)
square shot
The Forgotten: One Way Street

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

list image
a list of 91 titles
created 20 May 2011
a list of 3237 titles
created 04 Sep 2013
a list of 1099 titles
created 16 Jan 2014
a list of 416 titles
created 06 Feb 2014
a list of 427 titles
created 3 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Thunderbolt" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Thunderbolt (1929)

Thunderbolt (1929) on IMDb 6.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Thunderbolt.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The queen of mythical Sylvania marries a courtier, who finds his new life unsatisfying.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Lupino Lane
Certificate: Passed Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Harriet and Queenie Mahoney, a vaudeville act, come to Broadway, where their friend Eddie Kerns needs them for his number in one of Francis Zanfield's shows. Eddie was in love with Harriet,... See full summary »

Director: Harry Beaumont
Stars: Bessie Love, Anita Page, Charles King
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Film told in flashbacks of an older man's obsession for a woman who can belong to no-one but can frustrate everyone. The backdrop is SternbergÍs surreal and fantastic Carnaval in Spain. In ... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Lionel Atwill, Edward Everett Horton
Underworld (1927)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Boisterous gangster kingpin Bull Weed rehabilitates his former lawyer from his alcoholic haze, but complications arise when he falls for Weed's girlfriend.

Directors: Josef von Sternberg, Arthur Rosson
Stars: George Bancroft, Clive Brook, Evelyn Brent
Svengali (1931)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Through hypnotism and telepathic mind control, a sinister music maestro controls the singing voice, but not the heart, of the woman he loves.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: John Barrymore, Marian Marsh, Donald Crisp
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A scientist becomes murderous after discovering, and being exposed to the radiation of, a powerful new element called Radium X.

Director: Lambert Hillyer
Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Frances Drake
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A blue-collar worker on New York's depressed waterfront finds his life changed after he saves a woman attempting suicide.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Betty Compson, Olga Baclanova
War | Drama | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

World War I ace Dick Courtney derides the leadership of his superior officer, but Courtney is soon promoted to squadron commander and learns harsh lessons about sending subordinates to their deaths.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Richard Barthelmess, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Neil Hamilton
Asphalt (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Joe May's sensual drama of life in the Berlin underworld is in many ways the perfect summation of German filmmaking in the silent era: a dazzling visual style, a psychological approach to ... See full summary »

Director: Joe May
Stars: Albert Steinrück, Else Heller, Gustav Fröhlich
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A poor factory worker, employed by a wealthy uncle, falls in love with a beautiful heiress but his happiness and promising future are jeopardized by a previous affair with a coworker he impregnated.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Phillips Holmes, Sylvia Sidney, Frances Dee
The Dragnet (1928)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Evelyn Brent, William Powell
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George K. Arthur, Georgia Hale, Bruce Guerin


Complete credited cast:
Eugenie Besserer ...
Mrs. Morgan
James Spottswood ...
'Snapper' O'Shea
Fred Kohler ...
'Bad Al' Friedberg
Robert Elliott ...
Prison chaplain
E.H. Calvert ...
Dist. Atty. McKay
Mr. Corwin
Mike Donlin ...
Kentucky Sampson
S.S. Stewart ...
William L. Thorne ...
Police inspector


A criminal known as Thunderbolt is imprisoned and facing execution. Into the next cell is placed Bob Morgan, an innocent man who has been framed and who is in love with Thunderbolt's girl, without knowing of their relationship. Thunderbolt hopes to stave off the execution long enough to kill young Morgan for romancing his girl. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The dynamic star of the screen


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 June 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Debandada  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)| (one version)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of the earliest of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by MCA ever since. See more »


Daddy, Won't You Please Come Home
Written by Sam Coslow
Sung by Theresa Harris with Curtis Mosby and His Orchestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

George Bancroft and Richard Arlen Shine
24 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

For some reason I thought this film was a talkie remake by Josef von Sternberg of his great silent Underworld. Although George Bancroft is again the star here (and won an Oscar nomination for best actor) this is an entirely different storyline.

Bancroft stars a a tough hood in love with Fay Wray. But she's trying to go straight with Richard Arlen, who works in a bank. A man hunt captures Bancroft and convicts him to death row. But even from the cell, Bancroft is able to frame Arlen for a murder during a ban robbery. Arlen is sentenced to death row and ends up across the hall from Bancroft. Will there be fairness? Will there be redemption? As in Underworld, Bancroft is terrific as the obsessed and all-powerful thug. His voice is great as he growls and groans and threatens. Wray looks stunning, and Arlen is good as the innocent man.

For a 1929 talkie, this film has its stagnant moments when the editors didn't know when to cut. But it also features some terrific work by von Sternberg.

The entrance scene into the jazz club is a barrage of trellises and picket fences... quite beautiful... and also boasts a really nice song from Theresa Harris (who usually played a maid). There's also a wondrous scene where Arlen has been hurt and is being tended by his mother (Eugenie Besserer). While's she's applying iodine, he pulls his hands away and the bottle smashes. Both try to clean it up and the scene ends in a giggling tickle fight. Totally unexpected and totally wonderful.

Fred Kohler plays a convict. Tully Marshall is marvelous is a jittery warden.

The ending is probably expected but is beautifully done.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Thunderbolt (1929) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: