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Seven years after a daring bank robbery involving an anti-tank gun used to blow open a vault, the robbery team temporarily puts aside their mutual suspicions to repeat the crime after they are unable to find the loot from the original heist, hidden behind a school chalkboard. The hardened artilleryman and his flippant, irresponsible young sidekick are the two wild cards in the deck of jokers. Written by
Michael Cimino modeled 'Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)' after one of his favorite films from the 1950s, Captain Lightfoot (1955), directed by Douglas Sirk. That film follows the adventures of two Irish highwaymen (Capt. Thunderbolt and Captain Lightfoot) as they attempt to raise money to support their Irish revolutionary society. See more »
(at around 1h 0 mins) Mario stops by to see the boys, and gets out of his car in a pouring rain storm. The area behind him shows clear blue sky with bright sunshine. Seconds later, it's overcast; still later in the scene it's partly sunny; then overcast again. See more »
Thunderbolt & Lightfoot might just be the second best film in both Eastwood & Bridge's career. For Eastwood, I can't see anything excelling The Good, the Bad & the Ugly. As for Bridges, I think his pinnacle was in The Big Lebowski. But whatever - today we're discussing Thunderbolt & Lightfoot and it is a great great film.
Doherty (Eastwood), an ex con / bank robber is by fate, recklessly aided by Lightfoot (Bridges) helping Doherty make a sharp exit from his former criminal associates (played by G Kennedy & G Busey). All four characters are forced to overlook their pasts and differences, we see a transformation and are strung a long a brilliant story of classic-buddies-plotting-to-beat-the-impossible-odds. Michael Cimino (Director) immediately throws the story and the characters into quick pace. He litters the film with good looking sets, sweet colour and oddly placed obstacles - for instance, a deranged hick driving by with a boot full of white rabbits.
Maybe it was unintentional, but I think Cimino created one of the first films to really stage what we know as black-humour. 2 hours of tragic events, lined up one after the other underlined by stupidity and smart wit, of course we can not forget George Kennedy & Gary Busey's super assistance in supporting roles.
Jeff Bridges is a remarkable and funny actor in this film, his part reveals a warm and naïve handsome young fella, yet somehow edged with that wise-fool-20-something vision that provides infectious viewing, especially the line to Clint "I don't know want your money man. I want your friendship". Clint Eastwood, is as you expect - laidback, dry and completely handy. Nothing new, but nothing you'd want to take away from that screen presence or enigma he's carefully carved over the years.
Thunderbolt & Lightfoot was overlooked back in the day, United Artists must have been insane not to push, or help sparkle such a strong piece of golden nugget that was laid amongst so many other rough pebbles.
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