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Rolling Thunder (1977)

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2:31 | Trailer
A returning war veteran loses his family to a violent home invasion and decides to seek and retaliate against those responsible.

Director:

John Flynn

Writers:

Paul Schrader (screenplay), Heywood Gould (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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4,290 ( 2,909)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Devane ... Major Charles Rane
Tommy Lee Jones ... Johnny Vohden
Linda Haynes ... Linda Forchet
James Best ... Texan
Dabney Coleman ... Maxwell
Lisa Blake Richards ... Janet (as Lisa Richards)
Luke Askew ... Automatic Slim
Lawrason Driscoll Lawrason Driscoll ... Cliff
James Victor ... Lopez
Cassie Yates ... Candy
Jordan Gerler Jordan Gerler ... Mark
Jane Abbott ... Sister
Jerry Brown ... Patrolman 1
Jacque Burandt Jacque Burandt ... Bebe
Anthony Castillo Anthony Castillo ... Street Urchin
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Storyline

Major Charles Rane comes back from the war and is given a number of gifts from his hometown because he is a war hero. Some greedy thugs decide that they want to steal a number of silver dollars from him. In the process they also manage to kill his wife and son and destroy his hand. The Major wants revenge so he enlists the help of his war buddy Johnny to meet the thugs in a final showdown. Written by Josh Pasnak <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In just two weeks an all-American town gives a war hero a reason to pull the trigger again. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

6 February 1978 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Mann mit der Stahlkralle See more »

Filming Locations:

Pearsall , Texas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color | Black and White (flashbacks)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kris Kristofferson was set to star, but dropped out and the role was recast with William Devane. See more »

Goofs

The hair of most of the military personnel shown in the film, including that of Major Rane and his friend MSgt Vohden, is too long for military standards. Especially noticeable is the excessively long hair on the two-striper airman who opens the door of Rane and Vohden's executive jet after it lands at the beginning of the film. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Johnny: Major, I sure do hate to face all them people.
Major Charles Rane: Then put your glasses on, John.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 42nd Street Forever: Blu-ray Edition (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

San Antone
Written by Barry De Vorzon (uncredited)
Sung by Denny Brooks
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User Reviews

 
Lean, mean and incredibly tough
25 April 2012 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

So many films these days attempt to emulate the classic grindhouse feel of '70s cinema: tough, rough around the edges and completely hardass. Most of them fail in the attempt, coming across as pastiches rather than throwbacks. Sometimes it requires us to revisit those films of old to remind ourselves of what it is that makes them so great.

I first caught ROLLING THUNDER on television about a decade ago. It was one of those late-night showings, and the film stayed with me, at least two scenes in particular: the kitchen scene and the climax. Both were incredibly powerful and just wouldn't leave my mind. I was annoyed to find out that you couldn't buy it on DVD for many years, so it resided at the back of my mind where I continued to remember how great it was and wished for it to be one day released.

Well, my wish came true, and you can now buy this film, remastered on Blu-ray no less. And it still holds up as a lean, mean, action thriller, boasting extremely tough performances, a script that emphasises realism above all else, and some outstanding action sequences. One of the reasons that it works so well is that, aside from the action/revenge plotting, like FIRST BLOOD and THE DEER HUNTER it's really a film about Vietnam veterans attempting to readjust themselves in a 'normal' world.

William Devane – one of those familiar faces in cinema and the type to rarely get a leading role – delivers a strong turn as Major Charles Rane, a guy trying to fit into a world he no longer recognises. Devane's performance in ROLLING THUNDER is all about subtlety. If we're lucky, we'll see a flicker of emotion play out across his features, or a certain split-second look in his eyes. Other than that, he's never less than gruff and able.

The revenge plot line is very well portrayed in a minimalist style. Paul Schrader's screenplay is excellent, as was his one for TAXI DRIVER, and the two films have much in common: not least insanely violent climaxes which really pay off on all the suspense and drama that's built up previously. Another source of greatness is Tommy Lee Jones, featuring here in a rather minor supporting role that nonetheless shows off the kind of laconic talent that would later make him a big name in Hollywood. Some modern viewers might find the pacing a little subdued and sedate by modern standards, but they'd be missing the point: for a film that's essentially a gun drama, ROLLING THUNDER works all because of that subtlety.


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