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Thunderbolt (1947)

Approved  |   |  Documentary, Short, History  |  26 July 1947 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 157 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

A WW2 documentary on the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter/bomber pilots in missions (Operation Strangle) from their base in Corsica to Northern Italy in 1944, destroying railroads, bridges, trains, vehicles and hard targets.


(as Capt John Sturges) , (as Lt Col William Wyler)


(as Master Sergeant Lester Koenig)
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Credited cast:
Voice of the Pilot
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:


A documentary on the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft and its use in missions over Italy circa 1944 in the Second World War. Written by Jim Beaver <>

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Plot Keywords:

airplane | See All (1) »






Release Date:

26 July 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Colpo di fulmine  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Filmed in 1945, not released until 1947. See more »

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User Reviews

Why the truth is always better.
16 July 2001 | by (Portland, OR) – See all my reviews

Often times film making from the war slips into propaganda and flag waving. This film instead shows the cold hard truth of a fighter group working out of Corsica in 1944. The personal, humanized glimpses of real men instead of lantern jawed actors as they go on about their days, living their daily lives worrying about who won't come back. The shooting style is from on board cameras from several points on the planes and shows so many real mission realities from a normal fighter sweep over Italy including coldly shooting up innocent farmhouses in search of one that's not so innocent and plowing any thing that moves in the daylight.

At some point as you watch this you go through so many emotions from the shock of realizing just how young these pilots are to being mystified about how they can be so cold as they light up the Italian country side to a sad understanding as director William Wyler shows you what would never be shown in a Frank Capra's "Why We Fight" movies, the charred body of a Jug pilot being pulled from the burning wreckage of his fighter with a hook. The end scene of the pilots and crews falling over drunk makes complete sense.

This film is much more poignant than Wyler's later film "Memphis Belle" which while good shows the touch of war time censors. Released in 1945, after the war in Europe was over, "Thunderbolt" drives home the very human

costs of war.

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