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Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)

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

Director:

Michael Cimino

Writer:

Michael Cimino
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Popularity
3,556 ( 14)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... Thunderbolt
Jeff Bridges ... Lightfoot
Geoffrey Lewis ... Eddie Goody
Catherine Bach ... Melody
Gary Busey ... Curly (as Garey Busey)
Jack Dodson ... Vault Manager
Eugene Elman Eugene Elman ... Tourist (as Gene Elman)
Burton Gilliam ... Welder
Roy Jenson ... Dunlop
Claudia Lennear Claudia Lennear ... Secretary
Bill McKinney ... Crazy Driver
Vic Tayback ... Mario Pinski
Dub Taylor ... Station Attendant
Gregory Walcott ... Used Car Salesman
Erica Hagen 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:

HE HAS EXACTLY SEVEN MINUTES TO GET RICH QUICK! (original poster-ALL CAPS) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 May 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot See more »

Filming Locations:

Choteau, Montana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,200,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$25,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Malpaso Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to "American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood" (2009) by Marc Eliot, Hollywood talent agent Stanley Kamen gave the idea for the film to Michael Cimino to write, on speculation, for Clint Eastwood in mind as a vehicle for him. See more »

Goofs

When Red and Lightfoot are opening the wooden crates with crowbars, the lid on Red's crate opens completely with one pry and the Lightfoot even lifts the top on his crate up before he uses the crowbar. See more »

Quotes

John Doherty: In small-town banks, they leave the telephone off the hook in the vault at night so the local operator can listen in.
Lightfoot: People walk into these banks with paper sacks, fill 'em with money and walk out. Anybody can do it.
John Doherty: Bullshit. The newest bank vaults have walls of reinforced concrete five feet thick, backed by six inches of steel. The vault door is stainless steel-faced. It's an inch and a half of cast steel, another 12 inches of burn-resisting steel, and another inch and a half of ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Features The Merv Griffin Show (1962) 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 LewisJForceSee 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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