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Blue Thunder (1983)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  13 May 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 11,713 users  
Reviews: 68 user | 59 critic

The cop test pilot for an experimental police helicopter learns the sinister implications of the new vehicle.


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Title: Blue Thunder (1983)

Blue Thunder (1983) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Roebling ...
Ed Bernard ...
Sgt. Short
Jason Bernard ...
Mario Machado ...
Alf Hewitt
Pat McNamara ...
Jack Murdock ...
Clifford A. Pellow ...
Allen (as Clifford Pellow)


Blue Thunder is a specially modified helicopter. It is for police work, but is armed and designed to counter street insurgencies. Its makers want to show what it will do, but have to train Los Angeles Police pilot Frank Murphy to fly and use it in order to allow it to operate in the city. Murphy and the project pilot have differences going back to Vietnam. The conflict between them continues to heat up as Murphy begins to suspect that Blue Thunder is more than has been disclosed. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He's Out There... See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 May 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Relámpago azul  »

Box Office


$22,000,000 (estimated)


$42,300,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


That Casio LCD watch with that "countdown" Murphy uses to "check his sanity" actually belongs to John Badham, the director. See more »


Cochran chides Frank Murphy in the garage. "I heard your turbine failed. Or was it your flying?" His lips appear to say, "Shit happens" instead of "Or was it your flying." See more »


Sgt. Short: This ship is equipped with a forward-mounted, twenty-millimeter electric cannon. Its six barrels are capable of firing four thousand rounds of ammunition per minute. And that, gentlemen, is one hell of a shit-storm in anybody's language!
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits after the title is shown. See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Eegah (1993) See more »


Theme From Blue Thunder (Dance Version)
Written by Arthur B. Rubinstein (as Arthur Rubinstein)
Performed by Arthur B. Rubinstein, Cynthia Morrow, Brian Banks and Anthony Marinelli (as the Beepers)
Produced by Anthony Marinelli & Brian Banks
Arranged by Reno Romano, Anthony Marinelli, Brian Banks & Evan Pace
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

More Timely Now Than Ever
20 August 2001 | by (Savannah, GA) – See all my reviews

Having now worked on an attack helicopter program, I was interested in

seeing "Blue Thunder." I skipped it on its first release. Good thing. "Blue Thunder" is more timely than ever, what with federal abuse of

power with massacres and attempted massacres in Philadelphia (MOVE incident, Ruby Ridge and Waco. Structurally, the film is a mess, taking a fair amount of time introducing us to "Blue Thunder" an "antiriot" (now call "antiterrorist") helicopter better equipped for mass murder than crowd control. Roy Scheider plays Murphy, a former Vietnam helicopter pilot haunted by his memories of 'Nam (this gimmick was getting tiring in 1983). Murphy finds himself the target of a "government conspiracy" when he "gets too close" for the REAL intentions of "Blue Thunder."

Reels of film must have been left on the cutting room floor. Certainly Candy Clark and Warren Oates shine in "nothing" roles, their "real" relationships to Scheider remaining pretty obscure. Malcolm McDowell makes an excellent villain, though his "real" relationship with Scheider doesn't pay off).

HOWEVER, when "Blue Thunder" works, it really rocks. See it.

17 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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