Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
Release Year: 1974
Director: Michael Cimino
Writer: Michael Cimino
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, Geoffrey Lewis, Catherine Bach, Gary Busey, Jack Dodson
Rating: Nominated for 1 Oscar: Best Supporting Actor (Jeff Bridges)
Sunday Classic #296, week 8 2020
With the help of an irreverent young sidekick, a bank robber gets his old gang back together to organize a daring heist based on a former robbery they committed years ago.
This fun heist film opens in the most unusual way; Eastwood (Unforgiven, 1992) is preaching to a small Christian congregation when a gunman breaks the door down and starts shooting at him. They then commence a chase on foot over fields which leads to Eastwood’s character Thunderbolt bumping into young and rash loner Lightfoot played by Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart, 2009). The two loners take an immediate liking to each other and decide to join paths. Eventually, they are confronted by the aforementioned gunman, played by George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke, 1967), who turns out to be a former partner in crime. From here the film turns into a heist film about a daring bank robbedy committed by an unlikely gang held together by their common desire to get the money. The heist is good and the scenery is stunning. The film feels like it is governed by a very sure hand, even though this is the director’s feature film début. The performances allround are great, and there a some laughs as well as som more (intentionally) ghastly scene, but the ending is somewhat odd. Recommended especially to fans of 1970s movies.
Clint Eastwood originally intended to direct the film himself. It would have been his four movie as director.
Début film of director Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter, 1978) who credited the fact that he had a career in Hollywood to Clint Eastwood.
Jeff Bridges was the only actor that year to receive an Oscar nomination for a role in a film that was not nominated in the Best Picture category.
Picture Copyright: Warner Home Video