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Thunder Road (1958)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 10 May 1958 (USA)
A veteran comes home from the Korean War to the mountains and takes over the family moonshining business. He has to battle big-city gangsters who are trying to take over the business and the police who are trying to put him in prison.

Director:

Arthur Ripley

Writers:

James Atlee Phillips (screenplay), Walter Wise (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Mitchum ... Lucas Doolin
Gene Barry ... Troy Barrett
Jacques Aubuchon ... Carl Kogan
Keely Smith ... Francie Wymore
Trevor Bardette ... Vernon Doolin
Sandra Knight ... Roxanna Ledbetter
James Mitchum ... Robin Doolin
Betsy Holt Betsy Holt ... Mary Barrett
Francis Koon Francis Koon ... Sarah Doolin
Randy Sparks Randy Sparks ... Guitarist
Mitchell Ryan ... Jed Moultrie
Peter Breck ... Stacey Gouge
Peter Hornsby Peter Hornsby ... Lucky - Kogan's Henchman
Jerry Hardin ... Niles Penland
Robert Porterfield Robert Porterfield ... Preacher
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Storyline

A veteran comes home from the Korean War to the mountains and takes over the family moonshining business. He has to battle big-city gangsters who are trying to take over the business and the police who are trying to put him in prison.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Robert Mitchum Blasts the Screen! (rerelease) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 May 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jack O'Diamonds See more »

Filming Locations:

Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

D.R.M. Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Of the major stars of this movie only two are still alive. They James Mitchum son of Robert and Sandra Knight. See more »

Goofs

Doolin drives a '51 ford with grille and trim changes to make it look like a ('50. Dialogue refers to it as a '50 when Moultry wishes to buy it.) The trunk handle, however, is the original '51. When he pulls the plunger to dump oil on the road, the camera looks down on the trunk of a '50. See more »

Quotes

Vernon Doolin: [referring to Niles Penlands being ambushed] So it begins. Saw a corpse bird the other day, hadn't seen one in years, shoulda known it was an ill omen.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Robert Mitchum, le mauvais garçon d'Hollywood (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Ballad of Thunder Road
(uncredited)
(Theme song)
Composed by Robert Mitchum and Don Raye
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Forget Gone With the Wind; Thunder Road is THE Southern Classic
9 May 2001 | by austex23See all my reviews

Thunder Road has a kind of raw vitality that overcomes its indifferent direction and uneven performances. Mitchum is wonderful as always, and this film must have meant a lot to him -- he wrote the story and starred, as well as co-writing and singing the radio hit that came out of it. A major drive-in film -- it was more or less in continuous release from 1958 to the early 70s -- Thunder Road embodied an attitude that prevailed in the little Texas towns I grew up in, and that is still a part of America's strange outlaw subcultures. Lucas Doolin and his kin are folks being oppressed on all sides by the forces of conformity that characterize so much of America's culture in the Eisenhower era. On one side, the emotionless forces of the government, on the other, the institutionalized criminals of "the big city," two poles remarkably alike in their indifference to the traditional regional values of the Harlan County shine runners. Despite Pa Doolin's talk of changing ways to meet changing times, the independent diversity of these folks cannot exist among the increasingly limited world of modern America. Ironically, the trappings of outlaw culture most visible in this film, fast cars, jukeboxes, even the drive-in screens the film was projected onto, are a part of the forces of conformity that transformed regional lifestyles into today's homogenous pop culture. Like Doolin says in one of the film's best scenes, the ghosts of the old backwoods are out on the highways now.


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