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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Early in the film, when Murphy and Lymangood are in their first tour of duty. The female dispatcher who alerts them of a a robbery on Vineland and Burbank and a subsequent call is Shaaron Claridge, the same female dispatcher heard in the entire run of the TV series Adam-12 (1968). In real life, Claridge was a second-shift radiotelephone operator or police radio dispatcher at the Van Nuys Division of the Los Angeles Police Department. Her voice was also heard on episodes of Dragnet 1967 (1967), Lou Grant (1977) and Columbo (1971). See more »
Murphy is wearing street clothes when he gets into Blue Thunder to listen to Lymangood's tape. He is not wearing the green wristbands he wears when flying (and probably wouldn't have them with him), yet after he takes off, he is wearing them. See more »
Thermograph check ok. Whisper mode check ok. Let's see what's on HBO tonight ok?
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The hardware, weaponry and surveillance systems depicted in this film are real and in use in the United States today. See more »
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.
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