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An under-rated gem..
whizzkid7415 December 2001
I first saw Blue Thunder as a kid at the time of its release and enjoyed it purely as a slice of action/adventure typical of its time. I could name many films from the early 80s of a similar ilk, but this one stuck in my mind as a real favourite and it was only when I re-watched it recently that I understood why.

Unlike other films in the genre, Blue Thunder always strikes me as having been thought about and crafted in a very careful way. In fact I didn't remember there being as little action as there is. Instead we are given far more character development than we might be accustomed to, thereby enhancing the final aerial drama because we do care about the people involved.

Roy Scheider(who I must confess is my favourite actor of his era) gives a standout performance. His portrayal of Murphy with its wry humour & very human lapses shares more than a little with a certain Chief Brody, but the use of an aging rebel with little cause as the main character in a technological thriller is still refreshing now.

Malcolm McDowell gives the sort of OTT villainous performance that only he can (why has no-one ever cast him as a Bond villain?) and special mention must go to Warren Oates as Scheider's long-suffering boss.

The helicopter looks awesome with cool gadgets aplenty but it isn't the star here, Scheider is. Move over Top Gun, Airwolf, Wings of the Apache, et al; this is the number 1 fly-boy in town.
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Somebody is watching you, me, and them.
scootwhoman23 February 2006
One of the things that really caught my attention about this film was the brief blurb at the beginning which stated something to the effect of "All of the surveillance equipment depicted in this film exists and is in use in the United States." Knowing what I do of technology, I am not surprised that those capabilities existed back then. However, I received a powerful demonstration of the stealth technology called "whisper mode" in the film, a couple of years after seeing it. I live near a major U.S. Army firing range, and our local airport hosts a considerable amount of military traffic. At this particular time, I was renting a house about one kilometer from the airport. I went out for a walk late one Sunday night, and, shortly after leaving the house, I heard a noise I could not identify. It was a loud hissing sound, 'which seemed very close at hand, but I could not locate the source, until I looked up. Passing overhead at about 200 meters was a Chinook helicopter, the type with two rotors, and fuselage that looks kind of like a banana. Normally, the rotor noise on these cargo helicopters will rattle windows, but this baby was tip-toeing out of town very quietly. If I had been indoors, I never would have heard it. This made me completely rethink the sequence where the helicopter was hovering right outside of a building, and the people inside couldn't hear it! I took it for artistic license at the time, but the demonstration I witnessed of "whisper mode" made it seem entirely feasible.

This film appealed to me strongly, for several reasons. I am a techno freak, to begin with, and I love anything that flies. Also, the characters in the movie are amazingly human, kooky, (especially the lead characters wife,) and easy to identify with. And the kind of shenanigans the Feds were trying to pull seem all too realistic to me, in light of some of the things that they have been caught doing! And I loved the response of sending a couple of F-15's armed with missiles after the renegade, when he is stooging around in downtown Los Angeles. Missiles are not known for being highly selective when they are of the heat seeking type, and urban areas are rich with thermal signatures which can confuse the tiny brain packed into an air-to-air missile. The filmmakers actually downplayed the havoc that could result from launching such weapons in a downtown area.

I found the film to be an enjoyable, realistic, thought provoking experience, which I would recommend to most people. The hardware is not the star, thanks to the excellent work of Roy Scheider and his supporting cast, and the dialog is tight and realistic. When informed that one of the suspects in a liquor store robbery is wearing a Hawiian shirt and a cowboy hat, Scheider's character says, "What ever happened to being inconspicuous?"
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FireFox Meet's AirWolf! Excellent Stuff!
Kieran Green8 March 2006
'BLUE THUNDER' Is a cracking leave your brain behind entertainment that never let's up! 'Roy Scheider' Plays Frank Murphy,A former Vietnam Veteran,who is a helicopter pilot,for the Los Angeles police department,who becomes handpicked to pilot the eponymous 'blue thunder' which is a state of the art chopper designed for supreme law enforcement, Unfortunately for Murphy the test pilot behind this superb flying machine is Malcolm Mc Dowell,who also was on duty in Nam with Scheider, and serves as the film's all too English baddie! A young Daniel Stern, is a rookie who is assigned with Scheider, together the pair unravel a deadly conspiracy,involving said helicopter which climaxes with a superb aerial chase through the packed streets of Los Angeles,
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Great 80's Action
philshuh12 December 2004
I was dying to see this when I was 13 but I was too young to get in at the pictures. I saw the trailer when I went to see Superman 3. I finally hired it on video and loved it. I think at the time, it was the look of the helicopter that I was drawn too. Big bulky and menacing. (The scene where we first see Blue Thunder with the sun rising behind it is sheer class.) I've got the DVD and always enjoy watching this film, I love Roy Scheider in most films he's in and he's excellent in this one. Also thought Daniel Stern was great as Murphy's observer. The series was quite cheezy but enjoyable in it's own way. Universal latched on to the super hi-tech helicopter theme as Airwolf followed soon afterwards. The helicopter in Airwolf was a Bell 222 whereas Blue Thunder was a converted Gazelle helicopter that was given a facelift to make it look bulky and menacing, a little bit like an Apache. Back to the movie. The plot is quite thin and there are a couple of scenes that are a bit far fetched but if you're looking for a film with good helicopter chase sequences in it, they don't come much better than this. Catch you later.
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Solid Work All Around
channel_3_tv7 January 2005
John Badham is a curious director and I think he gets it right in this one. After all Roy Scheider never stunk it up in his illustrious career and he hits all the right notes in this one as Frank Murphy the Vietnam Vet trying to escape the memories of his war experience. When Malcolm McDowell shows up (and honestly, who plays an a--hole better than McDowell in his heyday?) to become Murphy's nemesis. The very underrated Warren Oates as the crotchety commanding officer and Candy Clark as Murphy's girlfriend, who is the ultimate heroine of the plot, turn in solid performances. The helicopter clearly steals the show though as anyone between the ages of 7 and 21 had to just be glued to the screen watching that bird strut its stuff. Great action sequences and rather good photography during the climactic chase scene.

I still have fond memories of this film which I saw in the drive in as a kid and I think it's what films of this genre should be...a couple of hours of wild fun!..."Follow My Leader"
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The original film is much better than the TV show
bob the moo21 July 2002
A helicopter is developed for police work using full surveillance technology, stealth modes etc. Officer Murphy and his partner are trained to fly it for street tests. However Murphy suspects that it has more sinister uses when he finds that the man in charge is Colonel Cochrane – who he has a history with in Vietnam. The battle between the two men heads for a showdown as Murphy gets evidence to back up his suspicions.

Made as a film but turned into an inferior tv show this film is entertaining but no more than that. The plot is interesting – with plenty of conspiracy stuff but the action is sometimes forced. Because most of the helicopter shenanigans are save for the climax we are given car chases etc to help fill the time. The helicopter itself is very cool and well used and the final battle above the city is exciting if formulaic. The morals of a `big brother' helicopter, able to pry everywhere isn't examined as well as could have been but it's still interesting.

Scheider is always good to watch and does well, as do Warren Oates and a young Daniel Stern. However the show is stolen and the film made by a great baddie from Malcolm McDowell (catch you later!) who is menace incarnate for me.

Overall an enjoyable thriller but it really only sticks in the memory due to the TV series that followed – worth watching for McDowell though.
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Empty headed entertainment...
JasparLamarCrabb22 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Not bad at all. BLUE THUNDER is a pretty rousing entertainment. Roy Scheider is a cop assigned to man a new fangled, high tech surveillance copter only to find out more than he should and soon nasty Malcolm McDowell is on tail. It's empty-headed action with a lot of great aerial work. Scheider is his typically steel jawed self and McDowell is great fun. The director John Badham may not be the most imaginative but he knows how to keep the pace of a film going (see Saturday NIGHT FEVER). He also has a keen eye for addition to Scheider and McDowell, the supporting cast is populated with a bunch of always interesting actors: Warren Oates, Daniel Stern, Joe Santos. The great Candy Clark is well used as Scheider's resourceful girlfriend.
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Great Action
LuvsFood8 June 1999
Always liked this one. Well written and acted, with excellent aerial action sequences. It's a shame this was Warren Oate's last role - he was magnificent. Other reviewers made a valid point about this film presaging the use of military hardware against civilians. We already use airplanes to catch speeders on the ground - doesn't the aviation fuel cost more than the amount of revenue taken in through summonses?
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Top Gun hold your hat!
richardsphotography117 February 2006
Clearly, Blue Thunder's introduction shows the state of the art in computer technology at the time. Looked like a Wang computer at work.

I saw this movie for the first time at a drive-in. Those were the days!! .. before DVD's and when VHS recorders were manually tuned. Guess you might say that this was the end of an era and the beginning of video.

My girl and her two boys will remember this movie as long as they live. The movie that played right after this at the drive-in was Xtro. Remember when you could have the entire family see two full length movies for under $10.00? Now, popcorn alone costs $10.00 for one medium bucket.

I have the original Blue Thunder VHS tape in my library, played it last night. My favorite part of the movie is when a heat seeking-missile is launched into a B-B-Que chicken factory and chickens come raining down on the street and cars. The suspense that built up to this point made it funny however tragic for the factory workers.

25 years prior to this movie there was Whirly Birds in black and white on TV. It is interesting to see the advance in aeronautical technology from the early Korean War birds to stealth flight in choppers. I seriously doubt that any helicopter today can achieve or survive inverted flight as was depicted in the final scenes of Blue Thunder. As unbelievable as it seemed, it was exciting to watch.

We still have increased concerns of the privacy of citizens and terrorist activity. In the days of Blue Thunder it was only fantasy to think of wire tapping without a warrant .... today? This reader comment could be intercepted before it makes your review.
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More Timely Now Than Ever
Bob-4520 August 2001
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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Fasten your seatbelts!
Drake-927 June 1999
When I saw this One in 1983 on the BIG screen it was a fantastic experience. The final encounter between Murphy and Cochran is simply the best helicopter chase ever! Roy Scheider is brilliant in his role as a broken pilot who becomes a random witness of a great conspiracy. Bonus points also for his sidekick Daniel Stern and the evil opponent Malcolm McDowell. Perfect air photography by John A. Alonzo and superb cutting by Frank Morriss. A winner!!!
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Fun 80's action flick
Woodyanders26 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Scrappy and traumatized, yet still sharp and capable Vietnam veteran and ace helicopter pilot Frank Murphy (an excellent performance by Roy Scheider) is assigned to try out a new hi-tech helicopter called Blue Thunder. When Murphy discovers that said chopper is going to be as a weapon by a group of nefarious folks led by his sinister old-time nemesis Colonel F.E. Cochrane (Malcolm McDowell in splendidly smug, cocky, and utterly slimy form), he decides to go public with the information. Director John Badham, working from a totally preposterous, but witty and engrossing script by Dan O'Bannon and Don Jacoby, relates the captivating plot at a constant brisk pace, builds a good deal of tension, stages the action set pieces with real rip-roaring aplomb (the climactic cat and mouse helicopter showdown between Murphy and Cochrane completely smokes), and tops everything off with an amusing line in sharp sarcastic humor (favorite line: "When you're walkin' on eggs, don't hop"). This film further benefits from sturdy acting from a bang-up cast: Scheider effortlessly carries the picture with his natural charisma and makes for a totally likable hero (this movie earns extra points for not depicting a 'Nam vet as one of your standard crazed bloodthirsty psychos), Daniel Stern provides funny and engaging comic relief as Murphy's goofball partner Richard Lymangood, Candy Clark contributes an appealing turn as Murphy's sweet girlfriend Kate, and the always fantastic Warren Oates almost steals the whole show in one of his very last roles as Murphy's crusty no-nonsense superior Captain Jack Braddock. Veteran bad guy thespian Anthony James pops up in one of his standard nasty villain parts. Arthur B. Rubinstein's robust and rousing score hits the stirring spot. John A. Alonzo's slick widescreen cinematography gives the picture a nifty bright gleaming look; the nighttime sequences in particular are gorgeously shot and impressive. Moreover, we even have a still relevant and provocative central message about how advanced technology makes it easier for Big Brother to invade one's privacy and how said advanced technology isn't always designed with the general public's best interests in mind. Granted, this film isn't exactly credible (a protracted automobile chase sequence with Kate outracing a bunch of cop cars is simply ridiculous, but nevertheless quite thrilling and entertaining), but it's overall a highly enjoyable affair just the same.
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Catch you later.
Spikeopath1 October 2008
Blue Thunder is the name given to a new specially modified helicopter, designed for use in major police incidents such as riots, it's basically a tank with rotors and an intricate computer. Los Angeles police pilot Frank Murphy is selected to be the pilot in the city for it, but Frank has major issues with the test pilot of Blue Thunder, a guy he served in Vietnam with. As things progress Frank and his young understudy Richard Lymangood begin to find that all is not what it seems. Conspiracies, corruption and even murder are all linked to Blue Thunder, both men realise that their lives are in serious danger.

This is a very tidy thriller, the sort of film that asks you to pay attention to everything that is being said. It's very well written, acted professionally, and contains a wonderful last 20 minutes of aerial thrills. Roy Scheider, Malcolm McDowell, Daniel Stern, Warren Oates and the lovely Candy Clark all earn their pay cheques and John Badham is unfussy in his direction. It's not a film that you are likely to revisit more than once, but its smart plot and solid thriller heart more than make this an enjoyable piece. 6/10
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Blue Thunder/Black Ops
sol12183 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
**SPOILERS** Said to be the ultimate weapon against crime or a terrorist attack on America the Blue Thunder combat helicopter is to be tested over the skies of Los Angeles against common street criminals. With LAPD copter pilots Murphy and Lymangood,Roy Scheider & Daniel Stern, as it's crew.

Very early in the movie both officers Murphy & Lymangood realize that the newest weapon against crime, the Blue Thunder, is actually going to be used against the average law abiding American citizen instead. Those behind using the Blue Thunder are planing to create terrorist violence and then use it to keep the innocent public under control.

The shocking truth comes out with the rape and mugging murder, that was a cover for an assassination, of the head of the L.A task force on urban violence commissioner Diane McNeely, Robin Braxton. Diane was about to release her findings that would expose those in the local city state and federal government of their real reasons in incorporating the Blue Thunder in all the big city police departments. It was found out by the McNeely commission that these high in government officials are secretly planning to stir up trouble in the ghettos and barrios of the city of L.A. If successful it would be an excuse for a major takeover of the country in instigating violence and chaos and then repealing the rights of Americans in the name of national security, sounds familiar? Those behind the Blue Thunder are planning to suspend the US Constitution and Bill of Rights and create a police state and fascist dictatorship.

Knowing that their marked men the two LAPD helicopter pilots tape a conversation of these secret government-types that includes Murphy's former partner and co-pilot in Vietnam Col. Cochrane, Malcolm McDowell. This leads to Lymangoods' murder when he's first kidnapped and then after escaping his captors is run down and killed on the streets of L.A.

Getting the news to where the incriminating tape was hidden,from the murdered Lymangood's telephone answering machine, Murphy hijacks the Blue Thunder and has his plucky girlfriend Kate, Candy Clark,retrieve it in order to bring it to a local L.A TV news station to be broadcast to the world. It's now a race against time as those in power planning to take over the government are themselves in a panic of being exposed by the tape. They do all that they can, using the L.A police and even the USAF, to shoot down and kill Murphy and Kate before they can make the secret takeover public. With everything that they do failing miserably to stop Murphy and his Blue Thunder helicopter the anti-freedom conspirators bring in their big gun Col. Cochrane to finally get the job done.

Spectacular and breath taking aerial acrobatics high over the city of L.A has maverick cop Murphy evade and then shoot down a number police helicopters as well as a fully armed USAF F16 jet fighter. With all this action and excitement it almost overshadow the films basic story about crime and corruption in high places in government. The dog fight between Murphy and Cochrane is about as good as any air to air combat shoot him ups thats been in movies with much faster fighter jets as the two have it out blowing up almost half of the city. Playing an airborne cat and mouse game with Cochrane Murphy outmaneuvers him, doing a complete circle in the air, and then getting on his tail blows Cochrane to pieces before he sets the Blue Thunder down on a railroad track having it demolished by an oncoming locomotive. With that demolishing the hopes and dreams of those who wanted to use it, as an excuse for crowd control, in their planned takeover of the United States.

P.S "Blue Thunder" was also 54 year old actor Warren Oates, who played Murphy and Lymangoods boss Capt. Jack Braddock, last movie.
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Awesome Action/Thriller, With Lots Of Exciting Action, And An Amazing Performance From Roy Scheider!
callanvass22 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Awesome Action/Thriller, with lots Of exciting Action, and an amazing performance from Roy Scheider!.The helicopter scenes are breathtaking, and it had, awesome characters, plus Malcolm McDowell is very menacing as the main villain. All the characters were great, and there are some really outstanding action scenes, plus the story is very engrossing. This film is vastly underrated, and the movie is very unpredictable, plus, the ending is way cool!. I can't believe this movie only has 1 5.9 rating on this site it should at least be around the 7.0 mark, in fact i would rate around the 9.0 mark myself.It did drag a tiny bit at the end, but it was still extremely entertaining to watch, as the finale is very exciting. This is a great action/thriller flick, that i say is a must see!. The Direction is awesome!. John Badham does an awesome job here, with incredible camera angles, amazing shots, great shots of the helicopter, and keeping the film at a very fast pace. There is a tiny bit of gore. we get a few bloody gunshot wounds but that's it. The Acting is Awesome!. Roy Scheider is AMAZING as always, and is amazing here, he is extremely likable, funny, intense, and had some classic one liners, plus he was tons of fun to watch!, he is one of my favorite actors. (Scheider Rules!). Warren Oates is good with what he had to do i liked him. Candy Clark is decent as the love interest, she had okay chemistry with Roy, and did what she had to do adequately.Malcolm McDowell is very menacing as the main villain and as always was very bizarre and unpredictable, this guy rocks!. Daniel Stern is very good as the young cop, i really liked him. Overall this is a must see!. **** out of 5
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Fine Suspense/Action Movie: Some Spoilers Attached
louiepatti5 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This was a riveting film, well-written, with both a gritty realism and a flair for high-tech imagination that was obviously rooted in familiarity for military aircraft. Its direction was tight, its cinematography excellent, and its acting top-notch. The plot was basic: big bad military has nasty plans for unsuspecting civilian public, and it's up to a somewhat messed-up and semi-disgraced Viet Nam veteran to save the day. Francis Murphy, the reluctant hero of this film, is a police helicopter pilot. As the movie opens, Frank's breaking in---and razzing---his new partner, Richard Lymangood. Before long, Frank and Lymangood, alias JAFO, are tapped to try out a brand new Army Apache helicopter bristling with new technology, from hypersensitive surveillance equipment and a gun that responds interactively with the pilot's helmet to a whisper mode that allows the chopper to slip secretly through the sky. Unlike the sleek machine in the later TV series Airwolf, the Blue Thunder in this movie is a beast, its very design seeming to snarl menacingly as it glides through the air.

Frank admires the technical aspects of the chopper but remains leery of its darker side. Ostensibly made up for the upcoming Olympics in Los Angeles, Blue Thunder is a prototype for a weapon to be used against civilians, both abroad and at home. The two cops discover this by accident when following Frank's old wartime nemesis, Colonel F. E.(F*&% Everybody)Cochrane to a clandestine meeting. Unfortunately, they're found out, and the real suspense starts as the bad guys pull out all the stops to get back a piece of incriminating evidence, a tape produced by Blue Thunder's own surveillance setup. This leads to all sorts of insanity, including the calling in of military jets to shoot the helicopter from the sky over L. A. when Frank steals it. Lymangood proves amazingly strong and resourceful in his hiding of the tape, and Frank's girlfriend---possibly the worst driver in America---is pressed into emergency service to get the tape to a television station. In the midst of all the chaos, Frank's police boss and the city's mayor face down the baddies howling for the renegade cop's blood. At the ending, Cochrane is satisfactorily dealt with and so is Blue Thunder, in such a way that a TV series seems utterly stupid.

The actors made this a great watch. Roy Scheider was likable as the regular guy who slowly turns into the gladiator fighting for the people he's sworn to protect. A young Daniel Stern gives a polished performance as the naive but brave Lymangood. Warren Oates, with his gravelly voice and weathered features, was great for the part of Frank's embattled boss. As for the evil Cochrane, he was played to slimy perfection by Malcolm McDowell. Even the more minor characters were well-played and supported the story. This was a good action movie, enjoyably blending suspense with some touches of light comedy, with a gratifying finish. Recommended especially for fans of Roy Scheider and lovers of military aircraft.
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Good Effects
marquis de cinema14 March 2002
Very good action yarn made during the same year as the more intellegent and superior Badham film, WarGames(1983). Still an entertaining action thriller with three major set pieces. One, the chase among helicopters in the same area as the chase in Terminator 2(1991). Two, the climatic battlescene while at times seems ruthless is nevertheless cheorgraphed with some impressive effects for its time. Three, the final conflict chase between Roy Scheider and Malcolm McDowell.

Acting leads includes Peckinpah actor, Warren Oates whose performance is very good in what was one of his final film roles before his death. He is justly at home in his role of the head of his Police department, and gives us his patterned hard edged cynical with a slight humor mannerisms. Blue Thunder(1983) is one of the five best films from a director in John Badham whose career has been full of ups and downs. I feel his output from the early to mid 1980s are his most successful times as a filmmaker. Roy Scheider is professional and tough in his role of the film's protagonist.

Malcolm McDowell gives another demented performance as Scheider's former mentor, and now chief nemisis. When channeling the right key, McDowell can be one convincing menacing villain. Badham's late 1990s Hitchcockian type thriller, Nick of Time(1996) used many of the same ideas on action and suspense as his earlier film, Blue Thunder(1983). That film even has a similarly sinister mentor/student relationship as this film. While not a classic is certainly something that can be watched when one has little to do, or wants to be entertained.
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Best helicopter movie ever
heroineworshipper13 February 2007
As a helicopter movie, this is probably the best one showing an actual flying copter doing maneuvers. They could make a newer movie about a Comanche or an Apache but they won't and even if they did, the machine and the flying would be an aside with the story focused instead on the chief's marital affairs or the mayor's taste in coffee.

In Blue Thunder, the machine is the focus. There are shots of the mechanisms, the swash plate, the tail rotor, and the foot pedals, that you couldn't put in any modern movie. We have many shots showing the swashplate gimballing in flight. The machinery looks real and substantial, not the plastic molded middle manager toys you get in new movies.

After learning to fly copters you realize how hard it is to pull off some of the maneuvers in the movie and how hard it would be to aim a gun by cyclic inputs, like the characters are doing. It must have taken many takes and many gallons of gas to get the aerial footage. Being made in a time of $0.89 gas, such a movie would be too expensive to make today. It would have to be computer animated.

Whisper mode? That can be achieved by extremely low RPM and high blade pitch but makes for very unstable handling. Loops? That's now done in models with symmetric blades and inverted blade pitch, but human rated copters don't have enough power to do it. Forward looking infrared and internet access from the air are well documented today.

The Hughes H-6 depicted was indeed a scary opponent, a high performing military copter and one of few which could best Blue Thunder. You appreciate Blue Thunder when you realize those inferior copters it was defeating were Jet Rangers, highly sought after and one of the most successful copters ever made.

A French copter was used for Blue Thunder in a time when most of the metal in the air was made in U... something. Can't remember the name. Today most of the metal in the air is manufactured in Europe. A French copter being the only one futuristic looking enough and forward thinking enough to play Blue Thunder was indeed foreshadowing the future.
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Excellent Action Movie with Cool Helicopter Scenes
fluna103030 May 2006
I was first introduced to this movie while serving in the Air Force in the Phillipines. At the time this movie was released, the electronic surveillance equipment was state of the art.....and then some. "Blue Thunder" is a 5 Million helicopter proto-type that is to be tested in Los Angeles by the L.A.P.D. Astro Division & Officer Frank Murphy & his observer Richard Lymengood are assigned to test fly it over L.A. , only to find out the U.S. Gov't. has "other" plans for him & Blue Thunder. This was filmed in L.A. The helicopter chase scenes are excellent & keep you on the edge of your seat. Unfortunately, this was the last completed movie for legendary actor Warren Oates who played Capt. Braddock. Mr. Oates, Thank you for all the joy you gave us!
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Sure fire action movie hits the bull's eye
MIKE-47420 December 1998
This thriller is high on suspense and action.Malcolm McDowell plays his nastiest villain,and we might say that in this movie,he's the Big Brother.If you like action,this one's for you.
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Visions of the future?
goya-42 September 2000
Roy Scheider plays a police helicopter test pilot chosen to test the newest experimental police surveillance helicopters "blue thunder" which has the power to listen and see thru walls, stealth and an arsenal an A 10 would be proud of...Scheider then finds out that it is being used for other sinister purposes..and the chase is on.. An excellent tense edge of your seat movie that will keep you glued to the screen...scheider plays his part brillantly as does Malcolm McDowell... a highly recommended film that keeps you involved although the plot sometimes goes up in the air on a scale of one to ten blue thunder flies in at a 8
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Blue Thunder
mojosabien26 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Blue Thunder was a great film when I was 13 but unlike most it's still a great film now. It's set in 1980 Los Angeles and Frank Murphy (Roy Schneider) is selected to flight test a new 'Anti Riot' helicopter prototype (Project THOR: Tactical Helicopter Offensive Response or Nicknamed Blue Thunder by the development team). As often is the way, the leaders of this project have a more sinister underlying plan for this piece of hardware revolving around possible terrorist action during the up and coming Olympic Games. The only thing that dates this film is the computer effects used during one of the fight/flight scenes. The Action contained within it (for an early eighties film) is first class. The main plot line is waaaaay ahead of it's time, the flight scenes are superb, the dialogue is compelling but above all believable with none of the clunk of the Blue Thunder T.V show, or the later offering (unrelated by studio) of Airwolf. The casting is excellent, Roy Schneider plays Frank Murphy brilliantly, Malcolm McDowell is really good as the annoying military test pilot but the show is stolen by Warren Oats as Frank Murphy's C.O Captain Jack Braddock. "If you notice that I don't have an ass when I get out of this chair it's because the Mayor has chewed it off". This film is also one of the first, I believe, to call reference to P.T.S.D, as suffered by countless Vietnam war veterans. I can highly recommend this film to you, if you are a fan of espionage, hardware or just plain suspense films you will really enjoy it.
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The best helicopter action movie I've seen
A few years before Top Gun set new standards for fighter plane action movies, John Badham directed Blue Thunder, an action movie about a combat helicopter of the same name.

Roy Scheider plays Frank Murphy, yet another cop, who is selected to pilot the revolutionary helicopter Blue Thunder. BT is a top-modern combat helicopter with some incredibly advanced spying equipment allowing the pilots to listen through walls, use infrared scanners among other things. This equipment quickly backfires on the crew, accidentally listening in on a meeting of a subversive group inside the FBI places Murphy and his co-pilot Lymangood (Daniel Stern) in danger.

Sure enough, Murphy is framed, and subsequently chased, and an interesting helicopter hunt begins. The strength of this movie is its brilliant action sequences, the helicopter scenes are very impressive in a time before modern cgi could help filmmakers out, and this gives the film a great look of authenticity, and though some scale models are clearly used, many of the most impressive scenes are genuine stunt work.

It is a shame that this film has become somewhat forgotten today, as it is easily on par with some of the more well-known action films of the 80s. The casting of Roy Scheider means that what the film's hero may be lacking in pure muscle size, it clearly has a lot of character instead. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and it certainly delivers impressive action entertainment.
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Escapist and thrilling story about dazzling aerial pursuits among Los Angeles skyscrapers
ma-cortes16 August 2010
Tense and suspenseful aerial action film with an exciting final chase starred by superbly crafted high-tech helicopters and F16 on the L.A. skies among its big city skyscrapers . Frank Murphy (Roy Scheider) is a Vietnam vet and police pilot who forms a helicopter surveillance team along with his younger partner (Daniel Stern) , when they spontaneously catch a secret conversation . Booth of them discover the strange project Thor (Thunder Helicopter Offensive respond ) in which are implicated powerful authorities . Then they take to the skies against a nasty army colonel (Malcolm McDowell) who will defend his accomplices at whatever cost.

Gripping , original action movie that deal with Roy Scheider trying to find the means avoid a video disk to be taken by corrupt government agents . Acceptable thriller full of intrigue and tense, this is a fast-paced , stylized action-suspense film. The tension of this picture keeps snowballing as ever close for ending . Casting is frankly magnificent, Roy Scheider as tormented Vietnam vet , Malcolm MacDowell takes honors as a psychopath who attempts to turn the tables on the protagonist before he can inform the police. Plus, a good secondary cast, such as Daniel Stern , Candy Clark, Warren Oates , Joe Santos and usual baddie of the 80s Anthony James , among others . But the real star is ¨Blue Thunder ¨ a heavily armored prototype , an Apache helicopter-alike which is secretly being proved for use in a nefarious government conspiracy . The slick screenplay written by recently deceased Alien's Dan O'Bannon . Adequate musical score accompanying the action by Arthur B. Rubinstein and inventively photographed by classic cameraman John A. Alonzo . The motion picture is professionally directed by John Badham . He's a nice director who achieved his greatest success in the 80s . He directed several hits ( Saturday night fever , Short circuit, Blue thunder, Drop zone, War games,Skateout ) , though today making TV movies( Jack Bull, Floating away ) and television episodes ( Crossing Jordan, Psych, Las Vegas, Standoff , Heroes ). Blue Thunder was followed by a successful TV series also starred by the ultra-sophisticated helicopter with James Farentino and Dana Carvey.
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