Thunderbolt (1947)

Approved  |   |  Documentary, Short, History  |  26 July 1947 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 164 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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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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Did You Know?


Director William Wyler lost his hearing during production of this film when he flew in a noisy, unpressurized transport plane. He was subsequently medically discharged from the Army, but eventually got some hearing back in one year. Hence, the delay in the release of this film. See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting war-time documentary
15 November 2013 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

The setting is the Italian Campaign in World War Two. More specifically this is about a series of planned air strikes carried out using the P-47 Thunderbolt bombers launched from Corsica in 1944 that went under the codename Operation Strangle. The idea was to destroy the bridges, train tracks and vehicles on the roads at the narrowest section of the Italian peninsula, which in effect would cut off supplies to the German army located in the South of that country, allowing the Allies to advance big distances north.

Like other wartime documentaries such as Attack in the Pacific (1944) this film shares similar strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand, it's obviously very raw, one-sided and propagandist to an extent. But on the other hand, it has a lot of fascinating real footage. This included planes fitted out with multi-camera set ups involved in the missions. We witness attacks on various targets which show pretty clearly the dangers involved. This also includes some indiscriminate bombings, where farmhouses seem to have been routinely blown up in case they were holding explosives, etc. We also see footage of the real men involved which adds an extra poignancy. You will get a more detailed overview of events in a documentary made nowadays but there is still some invaluable footage here. And it was a very important campaign to the overall war effort, so it's good to see it being documented for that reason alone.

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