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Thunder Island (1963)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Thriller | October 1963 (USA)
A central American woman hires an American hit man to assassinate the former dictator of her island country. The plan is foiled by another American while attempting to save the lives of his... See full summary »


Jack Leewood


Don Devlin (screenplay), Jack Nicholson (screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Gene Nelson ... Billy Poole
Fay Spain ... Helen Dodge
Brian Kelly ... Vincent Dodge
Miriam Colon ... Anita Chavez
Art Bedard Art Bedard ... Ramon Alou
Antonio Torres Martino Antonio Torres Martino ... Colonel Cepeda
Esther Sandoval Esther Sandoval ... Rena
José de San Antón José de San Antón ... Antonio Perez (as Jose De San Anton)
Evelyn Kaufman Evelyn Kaufman ... Jo Dodge
Stephanie Rifkinson Stephanie Rifkinson ... Linda Perez


A central American woman hires an American hit man to assassinate the former dictator of her island country. The plan is foiled by another American while attempting to save the lives of his wife and child. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The one bullet that could send terror screaming through the whole Caribbean!


Action | Drama | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »



Puerto Rico | USA



Release Date:

October 1963 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Puerto Rico

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The plot of a formerly successful businessman deciding to instead work a hands-on job on a boat, whilst his wife tries luring him back inland (with a young child in the mix), was previously used in Deep Waters (1948) starring Dana Andrews and Jean Peters. Although the similarities are most likely coincidental, both are part of 20 Century Fox "Cinema Archives" On-Demand DVDs. See more »


Anita Chavez: Sometimes you can only buy peace with an act of violence.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: San Miguel PUERTO RICO See more »

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User Reviews

Balmy Programmer saturated in eclectic Pop Culture
12 June 2019 | by TheFearmakersSee all my reviews

Here's a movie that almost was, and nearly could've been - something pretty good: As one of many low budget programmers by 20th Century Fox in the early sixties, THUNDER ISLAND just happens to be co-written by a young starving actor named Jack Nicholson (who doesn't appear), and the set-up is cool enough...

On a balmy locale straight out of KEY LARGO style Film Noir, Brian Kelly, best known as the two young boys' dad on TV's FLIPPER, ironically runs a boat charter business, and his ex wife and daughter just happen to show up for a visit while, right inside the only hotel, a hit man's being paid by slick Latin beauty Miriam Colin, whose family suffered the wrath of a former dictator from a Cuba-like country, and he's exiled on a nearby, heavily guarded island... you can call it THUNDER ISLAND although the 11th hour bursts of rushed gunfire would hardly be mistaken for cinematic lightning...

Filmed in black and white within a sparse, pulpy aesthetic skipping from land to sea, the hit man is played with slow burn, stone-walled ease by former dancer and CRIME WAVE protagonist Gene Nelson...

But he's thwarted by a few annoying devices. The grating-voiced horrible acting daughter of Brian Kelly and ex-wife in former AL CAPONE girlfriend and future GODFATHER II Hyman Roth betrothed, Fay Spain, blocks the killshot before her charter captain dad... distraction number two... shows up; a mere afterthought despite his initial potential as a TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT Bogart type, and who'd already been forced to hand his vessel over to the killer.

Backing up a bit with some interesting Brian Kelly trivia: He was a tall and muscular, handsome lug who, after a severe injury riding a borrowed motorcycle, and no longer able to be cast as a tall and muscular, handsome lug, talked a secluded, temperamental and, up to that point, completely reluctant science-fiction author Philip K. Dick into selling the rights to his novel, DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? That's right... Without Flipper's father, Ridley Scott's dystopian future neo noir, BLADE RUNNER, wouldn't exist at all...

But a decade before sealing that legendary deal, the young actor's bills were being paid, portraying a useless hero who is absolutely no logical match for, and a complete bulwark to, Gene Nelson...

Not only does he look the part of a cold-blooded, slithering assassin, but he uses his dance skills to goat-leap around the craggy island exterior (replete with wild yet caged zoo animals) as his character alone attempts making this clunky misfire an action vehicle that almost was, and nearly could've been - something pretty good... Sound familiar? Well, either way, THUNDER ISLAND does exist comfortable within the predictable confides of its own safe mediocrity.

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