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Thunder Road (1958)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 10 May 1958 (USA)
A veteran comes home from the Korean War to the mountains and takes over the family moonshining business. He has to battle big-city gangsters who are trying to take over the business and the police who are trying to put him in prison.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Lucas Doolin
...
Troy Barrett
...
Carl Kogan
Keely Smith ...
Francie Wymore
...
Vernon Doolin
...
Roxanna Ledbetter
...
Robin Doolin
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Storyline

A veteran comes home from the Korean War to the mountains and takes over the family moonshining business. He has to battle big-city gangsters who are trying to take over the business and the police who are trying to put him in prison.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Raw And Rough As Today's Billion-Dollar Whiskey War! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

10 May 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jack O'Diamonds  »

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 1950 Ford that Robert Mitchum drives in the beginning is actually a 1951 Ford with a 1950 grille and the chrome windsplits removed. The giveaway: the V-8 emblems, the "Ford Custom" emblems on the front fenders, the dashboard and steering wheel. See more »

Goofs

According to the title song, "On the first of April 1954.....", yet the police cars are 1957 Chevys and 1957 Fords, which didn't exist in 1954. See more »

Quotes

Vernon Doolin: [referring to Niles Penlands being ambushed] So it begins. Saw a corpse bird the other day, hadn't seen one in years, shoulda known it was an ill omen.
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Connections

Referenced in Missing Reel: Car Chase Pictures (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Danza Española nº 5 Andaluza
.Written by Enrique Granados (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
An Overlooked Gem
17 June 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Thunder Road is an outstanding film and occupies an interesting place in Mitchum's evolution as an actor. It is a compelling and believable look at the moonshine-running culture of the Appalachian Mountains, pitting moonshiners not only against Alcohol, Tax, and Firearms (ATF) agents and state authorities but, as well, against organized crime seeking to control the trade for their own ends. Mitchum is thoroughly believable in the kind of role--a rural, Scots-Irish mountaineer--that many others have tried and failed at. The film never descends into parody or sneering elitism. The moonshiners and the authorities are both shown as individuals of good will, seeking to do their duty as they see it, and devoted to values that are basically decent and trustworthy. The mobsters are not cardboard cutouts or over-the-top villains, and this, somehow, adds to their menace. At the time he did this film, Mitchum was already well-established, with Night of the Hunter behind him, and, as well, his most recent film The Enemy Below, in which he played a Navy Captain confronting shrewd U-boat skipper in a battle of wits. After these kind of films, one might wonder why he would take this role--but I think it is because he saw that it offered some real-challenge, a role that forced him to play a gritty character in an unusual setting. Mitchum is shown as a man of great complexity--trying to encourage his younger brother to get involved with something other than fast cars and moonshine, recommending that he join the service and get involved with advanced aviation technology. His girlfriend, a roadhouse singer, is one of the most sympathetic heroines of the 50's late-film noir genre. The chase sequences are riveting--VERY well done by the standards of the time, and in many ways Thunder Road offers a rural companion piece to Bill Hickman and Steve McQueen's great chase sequence in Bullitt. This is a film to be savored, particularly by anyone who has driven through twisting Appalachian mountain roads at night, reflecting on the tough, decent, and hard-scrabble folk in that part of America.


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