6.4/10
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71 user 71 critic

Blue Thunder (1983)

Trailer
3:08 | Trailer

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ON DISC
The cop test pilot for an experimental police helicopter learns the sinister implications of the new vehicle.

Director:

John Badham
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Roy Scheider ... Officer Frank Murphy
Warren Oates ... Capt. Jack Braddock
Candy Clark ... Kate
Daniel Stern ... Officer Richard Lymangood
Paul Roebling Paul Roebling ... Icelan
David Sheiner ... Fletcher
Joe Santos ... Montoya
Malcolm McDowell ... Col. F.E. Cochrane
Ed Bernard Ed Bernard ... Sgt. Short
Jason Bernard ... Mayor
Mario Machado Mario Machado ... Mario Machado
James Murtaugh ... Alf Hewitt
Pat McNamara Pat McNamara ... Matusek
Jack Murdock Jack Murdock ... Kress
Clifford A. Pellow Clifford A. Pellow ... Allen (as Clifford Pellow)
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Storyline

Blue Thunder is a specially modified helicopter. It is for police work, but is armed and designed to counter street insurgencies. Its makers want to show what it will do, but have to train Los Angeles Police pilot Frank Murphy to fly and use it in order to allow it to operate in the city. Murphy and the project pilot have differences going back to Vietnam. The conflict between them continues to heat up as Murphy begins to suspect that Blue Thunder is more than has been disclosed. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He's Out There... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 May 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Relámpago azul See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

During filming of the "ambush", where Cochrane ambushs Murphy's Blue Thunder at that incomplete skyscraper, the MD-500 Defender (the one Cochrane flew) had an engine failure and had to auto-rotate to a landing below. Fortunately, the parking lot was cleared and the pilot walked away uninjured, and the helicopter was only slightly damaged. See more »

Goofs

When Lymangood is being chased just before he is killed, his hands are taped together. After he is struck by the car and sprawls out on the pavement his hands are clearly free and apart. But when the EMTs are picking him up and putting him in the body bag, his hands are again taped together. See more »

Quotes

Frank Murphy: Grab your ankles and kiss your ass goodbye Jafo. We're going down.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are played over a still image of Murphy walking away from the wreckage of Blue Thunder. See more »

Alternate Versions

A voyeurism sequence has Murphy and Lymangood hovering near a window to spy on a limber girl doing a nude workout. The TV version has an alternate sequence with the same girl working out in bikini underwear and doing different moves. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Robot Jox (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Theme From Blue Thunder (Murphy's Law)
(uncredited)
Written by Arthur B. Rubinstein (as Arthur Rubinstein)
Performed by Arthur B. Rubinstein, Cynthia Morrow, Brian Banks and Anthony Marinelli (as the Beepers)
Produced by Evan Pace
Associate Produced by Reno Romano
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Somebody is watching you, me, and them.
23 February 2006 | by scootwhomanSee all my reviews

One of the things that really caught my attention about this film was the brief blurb at the beginning which stated something to the effect of "All of the surveillance equipment depicted in this film exists and is in use in the United States." Knowing what I do of technology, I am not surprised that those capabilities existed back then. However, I received a powerful demonstration of the stealth technology called "whisper mode" in the film, a couple of years after seeing it. I live near a major U.S. Army firing range, and our local airport hosts a considerable amount of military traffic. At this particular time, I was renting a house about one kilometer from the airport. I went out for a walk late one Sunday night, and, shortly after leaving the house, I heard a noise I could not identify. It was a loud hissing sound, 'which seemed very close at hand, but I could not locate the source, until I looked up. Passing overhead at about 200 meters was a Chinook helicopter, the type with two rotors, and fuselage that looks kind of like a banana. Normally, the rotor noise on these cargo helicopters will rattle windows, but this baby was tip-toeing out of town very quietly. If I had been indoors, I never would have heard it. This made me completely rethink the sequence where the helicopter was hovering right outside of a building, and the people inside couldn't hear it! I took it for artistic license at the time, but the demonstration I witnessed of "whisper mode" made it seem entirely feasible.

This film appealed to me strongly, for several reasons. I am a techno freak, to begin with, and I love anything that flies. Also, the characters in the movie are amazingly human, kooky, (especially the lead characters wife,) and easy to identify with. And the kind of shenanigans the Feds were trying to pull seem all too realistic to me, in light of some of the things that they have been caught doing! And I loved the response of sending a couple of F-15's armed with missiles after the renegade, when he is stooging around in downtown Los Angeles. Missiles are not known for being highly selective when they are of the heat seeking type, and urban areas are rich with thermal signatures which can confuse the tiny brain packed into an air-to-air missile. The filmmakers actually downplayed the havoc that could result from launching such weapons in a downtown area.

I found the film to be an enjoyable, realistic, thought provoking experience, which I would recommend to most people. The hardware is not the star, thanks to the excellent work of Roy Scheider and his supporting cast, and the dialog is tight and realistic. When informed that one of the suspects in a liquor store robbery is wearing a Hawiian shirt and a cowboy hat, Scheider's character says, "What ever happened to being inconspicuous?"


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