Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Overlooked Movies: Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot might not be a great movie, but it's sure a good one.  It was written and directed by Michael Cimino, who went on to bigger (although not necessarily greater) things.  Eastwood is a bank robber known as The Thunderbolt because he uses an anti-tank cannon to break into a vault.  Bridges (Oscar nominated) is Lightfoot.  He drives fast.  There's also a great supporting cast, including George Kennedy, as brutal as he ever was, Geoffrey Lewis, and Gary Busey.  

The plot is a little complicated, but here goes.  Eastwood is hiding out from members of his old gang because they believe he betrayed them.  He didn't, but he's the only one who knows where the money from their last job is hidden.  They catch up with him, and he's saved by Bridges (purely by accident).  

The two team up, with Bridges just about stealing the movie with his performance as a happy-go-lucky guy, and they bond.  They get together with Kennedy and Lewis and go to find the money, which was hidden in an old school.  They find the school is gone, replaced by a big new one, so Bridges proposes that they pull another job, robbing the same place they group had robbed before.  

They pull off the job (Bridges in drag!), but of course things go wrong and then wronger.  The movie, which had started off in a lighthearted way and which had been quite funny most of the time, has taken a much darker turn.  The ending is bleak.

If you've never seen this one, give it a look.  Highly recommended.


August West said...

Geoffrey Lewis is always fun to watch in Eastwood movies. Also a great song at the end by Paul Williams.(Where Do I Go From Here)

Ed Gorman said...

I've always loved this movie even though it seems to be reviled by a lot of reviewers. Everybody it is great. I'm not a huge Eastwood fan--thoughI do enjoy and even admire many of his films--but here he has some fun with his image. Bridges was on his way to demonstrating why's one of the two or three finest actors of his generation

Bill Crider said...

Eastwood seemed to be having fun in this one, and it was almost as if he was deferring to Bridges a little because he enjoyed working with him.

Dan_Luft said...

I saw this movie for the first time about 10 years ago. I had to re-watch the opening credits after it ended because it really looked like Eastwood directed it. It had the pacing, the lighting and even the camera angles that Eastwood might've used if he'd directed it.

George said...

I loved this movie when I first saw it. I agree: Eastwood is having fun in this film!

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Ditto. We watched it a couple of years ago and the thing that struck me the most was just how young Jeff Bridges looked. Granted, he was in his mid-20s but looked even younger.