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Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)

R | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 24 May 1974 (USA)
With the help of an irreverent young sidekick, a bank robber gets his old gang back together to organize a daring new heist.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Thunderbolt
... Lightfoot
... Eddie Goody
... Melody
... Curly (as Garey Busey)
... Vault Manager
Eugene Elman ... Tourist (as Gene Elman)
Burton Gilliam ... Welder
... Dunlop
Claudia Lennear ... Secretary
... Crazy Driver
... Mario Pinski
... Station Attendant
... Used Car Salesman
Erica Hagen ... Waitress
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Storyline

Seven years after a daring bank robbery involving an anti-tank gun used to blow open a vault, the robbery team temporarily puts aside their mutual suspicions to repeat the crime after they are unable to find the loot from the original heist, hidden behind a school chalkboard. The hardened artilleryman and his flippant, irresponsible young sidekick are the two wild cards in the deck of jokers. Written by <booda@datasync.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Thunderbolt... the man with the reputation. Lightfoot... the kid who's about to make one! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 May 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Letzten beißen die Hunde  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,200,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$25,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The hymn heard during the church service in the beginning of the film was "Man of Sorrows, What a Name", a nineteenth century hymn by Philip Bliss. See more »

Goofs

Although no dates are explicitly stated or shown regarding the action in the film, the license plate on the new car bought by Thunderbolt does have "1973" on it. Also, the sign outside the schoolhouse said it was only open June through August, so the film's story must happen in either June, July or August of 1973. The calendar on the wall of the Western Union office showed the 30th falling on a Saturday. In 1973, the only month where the 30th fell on a Saturday was June, so the film's story logically must be happening in June 1973. However, in an earlier scene at a diner, a folded newspaper near Thunderbolt shows an article headline that dates from November 1973. See more »

Quotes

Lightfoot: [Arriving at the site of what was supposed to be the old schoolhouse, now replaced with a modern new school] Are you sure this is the spot?
John Doherty: Yeah.
Lightfoot: What? I didn't hear what you said.
John Doherty: I said, yeah, this is it.
Lightfoot: Well, what happened to it?
John Doherty: I don't know... Progress.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Father Ted: And God Created Woman (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Hallelujah! What a Savior!
(uncredited)
by Philip Paul Bliss
[Hymn sung in church in opening scene]
See more »

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User Reviews

"Where do I go from here?"
12 January 2004 | by See all my reviews

Michael Cimino's first film is an arresting fusion of early 70's road movie, 'Buddy' picture and 'planning a heist' action-thriller. That it manages to incorporate these elements into a poetic study of male friendship and the unquenchable restlessness at the heart of the great American pioneer/drifter mentality makes it a remarkable piece of work.

Cimino avoids the 'arty' distance of Terence Malick's 'Badlands' or the po-faced existentialism of Monte Hellman's 'Two Lane Black-top', but entertains the same thematic concerns within the framework of an accessible genre piece. From it's opening vista of a deserted wheat field, accompanied by the haunting strains of a single acoustic guitar, the film resonates with loneliness and loss. "Tell me where, Where does a fool go", sings Paul Williams, "when there's no-one left to listen, to a story without meaning, that no-body wants to hear?"

It is also funny and tender in it's observation of male camaraderie. Eastwood has never been more effective and affecting on-screen than in his interplay here with Jeff Bridges. We get a real sense of his character's connection to Bridges which makes the 'Midnight Cowboy'-ish ending genuinely moving.

Like all the great 70's movies, it has some wonderfully memorable scenes and dialogue: Dub Taylor ranting about the imminent collapse of the American economy at a nocturnal gas station; Bill Mckinney as a crazed speed-freak with a trunk full of white rabbits; Bridges encountering a hammer-wielding female motorcyclist, etc, etc.

Throw in some breath-taking scenic photography of Montana by Frank Stanley (prefiguring the use and role of landscape in relation to character later explored by Cimino in 'The Deer Hunter') and some beautifully understated character work in the smaller roles, and you have a fondly remembered minor classic ripe for some serious re-appraisal.


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