Distant Thunder (1988)

R  |   |  Drama  |  11 November 1988 (USA)
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A troubled Vietnam war vet deserts his wife and child shortly after he returns from the war. He returns after 10 years, where he's been living like an animal in the forest. He finds himself... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Lambert
Mark Lambert
Harvey Nitz
Barbara Lambert
John Kelly ...
Michael Currie ...
Coach Swabey
Robyn Stevan ...


A troubled Vietnam war vet deserts his wife and child shortly after he returns from the war. He returns after 10 years, where he's been living like an animal in the forest. He finds himself unprepared for the changes that he will have to cope with, and when the vet tries to contact his son, he realizes that he has caused more damage than he had imagined. Written by Brennan Storr

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The last echoes of war. See more »




R | See all certifications »





Release Date:

11 November 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Distant Thunder - kaukainen jyrinä  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)


$156,188 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The 1966 Pontiac used in the film is not a real GTO. The taillights are single pod lenses making this either a Tempest or LeMans - a real GTO has segmented taillights which spans the rear header panel with a 12 inch blank center section. Also, a real GTO has the grille emblem in the driver side grille opening (same with the final 2004-06 generation) - the emblem is on the passenger side grille (the final muscle-era GTO produced for the 1974 model year has a vinyl graphic GTO logo placed on the passenger-side header panel). See more »


Mark Lambert: When I was 18, my father used to call me "numbnuts" and "dumbass".
See more »


Wake The Town And Tell The People
By Jerry Livingston & Sammy Gallop
See more »

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User Reviews

" Many a Viet-Nam Vet, left a piece of his soul there, but some return to Kiss a train "
14 December 2010 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

From the dark misty jungles of Viet-Nam comes this true life story written by Robert Stitzel and directed by Rick Rosenthal. It concerns Mark Lambert, (John Lithglow) a Viet-Nam Vet who returned from the war with more black memories than he could handle. Upon his return to the states, he realizes he cannot deal with his home life and thus deserts his wife and infant child. While living in the wooded highland of his state, he and several other veterans, (Reb Brown) exist day to day with their nightmarish memories in hopes of understanding them. During the same time, life continues and with it Jack (Ralph Macchio) his eighteen-year-old son who decides to locate his father. With the help of a friend Char (Kerrie Keane) the two meet and thus begins the search for who they once were. The film is brutal with explosive emotions and pent-up rage from both Father and Son who expect much, but realize time has become both an an enemy and an ally. Lithglow, gives a fabulous performance and Macchio holds his own. Together, theirs becomes a memorable moment in film history. Easily recommended for those seeking a good understanding of the Viet-Nam era and the souls it devoured. ****

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