Major Charles Rane comes back from the war and is given a number of gifts from his hometown because he is a war hero. Some greedy thugs decide that they want to steal a number of silver ...
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When the small criminal Macklin is released from prison, he learns that his brother was shot by two mob killers. He didn't know that the bank he robbed was owned by the syndicate. When he's... See full summary »
Three workers, Zeke, Jerry and Smokey, are working at a car plant and drinking their beers together. One night when they steal away from their wives to have some fun they get the idea to ... See full summary »
"The Driver" is a specialist in a rare business: he drives getaway cars in robberies. His exceptional talent prevented him from being caught yet. After another successful flight from the ... See full summary »
Hit man Cleve approaches writer/cop Dennis about a story for his next book: How Cleve made a living, working for one of the most powerful politicians in the country. To get the story right,... See full summary »
Major Charles Rane comes back from the war and is given a number of gifts from his hometown because he is a war hero. Some greedy thugs decide that they want to steal a number of silver dollars from him. In the process they also manage to kill his wife and son and destroy his hand. The Major wants revenge so he enlists the help of his war buddy Johnny to meet the thugs in a final showdown. Written by
Josh Pasnak <email@example.com>
Quentin Tarantino named his distributing company, Rolling Thunder Pictures, after this film. Rolling Thunder Pictures released B-movies, cult classics, independent films, exploitation movies, and foreign films. The company went under due to poor sales. See more »
Although the ribbons on Major Rane's uniform are correct for an Air Force pilot who served in Vietnam, one important ribbon is missing: the one for the Vietnam Campaign Medal (VCM). This award was authorized for all U.S. military personnel who served at least six months in Vietnam or the surrounding areas. The movie's dialogue indicates that the major was in Vietnam for at least seven years, most of that time as a POW in Hanoi, so he most certainly would be entitled to wear the VCM. See more »
So many films these days attempt to emulate the classic grindhouse feel of '70s cinema: tough, rough around the edges and completely hardass. Most of them fail in the attempt, coming across as pastiches rather than throwbacks. Sometimes it requires us to revisit those films of old to remind ourselves of what it is that makes them so great.
I first caught ROLLING THUNDER on television about a decade ago. It was one of those late-night showings, and the film stayed with me, at least two scenes in particular: the kitchen scene and the climax. Both were incredibly powerful and just wouldn't leave my mind. I was annoyed to find out that you couldn't buy it on DVD for many years, so it resided at the back of my mind where I continued to remember how great it was and wished for it to be one day released.
Well, my wish came true, and you can now buy this film, remastered on Blu-ray no less. And it still holds up as a lean, mean, action thriller, boasting extremely tough performances, a script that emphasises realism above all else, and some outstanding action sequences. One of the reasons that it works so well is that, aside from the action/revenge plotting, like FIRST BLOOD and THE DEER HUNTER it's really a film about Vietnam veterans attempting to readjust themselves in a 'normal' world.
William Devane one of those familiar faces in cinema and the type to rarely get a leading role delivers a strong turn as Major Charles Rane, a guy trying to fit into a world he no longer recognises. Devane's performance in ROLLING THUNDER is all about subtlety. If we're lucky, we'll see a flicker of emotion play out across his features, or a certain split-second look in his eyes. Other than that, he's never less than gruff and able.
The revenge plot line is very well portrayed in a minimalist style. Paul Schrader's screenplay is excellent, as was his one for TAXI DRIVER, and the two films have much in common: not least insanely violent climaxes which really pay off on all the suspense and drama that's built up previously. Another source of greatness is Tommy Lee Jones, featuring here in a rather minor supporting role that nonetheless shows off the kind of laconic talent that would later make him a big name in Hollywood. Some modern viewers might find the pacing a little subdued and sedate by modern standards, but they'd be missing the point: for a film that's essentially a gun drama, ROLLING THUNDER works all because of that subtlety.
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