Thunderbolt and Lightfoot - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Reviews

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November 5, 2016
An underrated gem from the fallen Michael Cimino, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot takes Eastwood and Bridges as a great buddy duo in crime
July 31, 2016
An interesting car chase film that actually turns out to be a bank robber comedy caper! It's not haha-funny, but does have it's moments, thanks mostly to a young charismatic Bridges and his straight-guy partner Eastwood, a preacher that's actually a robber-in-hiding. There's a lot more tits & ass than I was expecting and the tone is kept amusing with Goody (Lewis), but not so much Red (Kennedy). There's no real motivation for robbing a bank and the ending's a little sour. Overall, a decent 70s action/comedy, but not amazing.
June 22, 2016
Quite possibly established the "cult classic" formula
½ May 17, 2016
Clint reminds me of my dad, I like all his stuff
April 24, 2016
Unsuspenseful heist movie with Jeff Bridges the standout. Takes 45 minutes to get started. The comedic touches fall flat in the face of such violent characters. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid got away with it but not this mob.
March 14, 2016
A great little 70s buddy movie meets road trip, Eastwood and Bridges both excellent in Michael Cimino's directorial debut.
February 28, 2016
Pinning Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges together under the directorial work of Michael Cimino, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot offered too much talent to ignore.

From before Michael Cimino's career highlight with The Deer Hunter (1978) and the catastrophic failure of Heaven's Gate (1980), the man took control of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. Being his first feature-length film, you can see so much of director's brilliance beginning to take place in the form of a Clint Eastwood vehicle. Under his guidance, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot pushes to be so much more than the standard action fare and manages to capture it with brilliance.
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is unforgettable all thanks to the contrast between its main characters. There's a nice contrast between the hard-edged and gritty nature of Clint Eastwood and the gleefully extroverted spirit of Jeff Bridges, and this matches the entire mood of the feature. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot manages to maintain both edgy drama and lighthearted comedy to keep the experience watchable. The former dominates enough to define the film as a crime thriller, but it is one set against the backdrop of anti-establishment themes popular in the 1970's. As a result, the protagonists are thieves on an endless road trip whose antics build up the story while adding occasional humour to the film, adding a rich tone to the feature. It's the humour in the film which makes it stand out among the countless other Clint Eastwood vehicles of the era, as well as the feeling of genuine drama and brotherhood that reflects the counterculture classic Easy Rider (1969) and the Oscar-winning Midnight Cowboy (1969). This reveals that there is a lot of heart in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot amid all the action and comedy, so it is a brilliantly written film.
The story itself is a simple and straightforward one supported by its context, themes and characters. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot kicks its story off immediately. Instantly characterizing its protagonists as being on the other side of the law, the story progressively tells more about its characters as the bond between Thunderbolt and Lightfoot begins to develop. However, it is still prone to dragging on at times. After the fast-paced start of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, the pacing takes a downturn. During the time leading up to the climactic heist, the characters work on plotting out their steps and raising the funds to accomplish their mission which takes a lot of time to do and doesn't have the same fast comic banter which bolstered the preceding scenes. This mainly happens after Thunderbolt and Lightfoot team up with Red Leary and Eddie Goody. The addition of these characters gets in the way of the brotherhood shared by Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and reduce the level of characterization that can be explored during these scenes due to a larger number of characters needing screen time. There is still some moments of humour along the way, but it lacks the same comic timing. Still, after the dull nature of this second act the film returns to form with a powerful climax.
The third act of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot capitalizes on everything the film has been building towards. With a rich atmosphere of tension built out of an increased pace and powerful sound editing, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot hits viewers hard with a climax packed with strong action. The action scenes in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot are never relied on to carry the story, they simply make themselves present out of necessity and reveal Michael Cimino's capabilities in capturing them all.
Even when Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is not in a mad rush of action it carries atmosphere with brilliance. This is largely because of the scenery and lack of a soundtrack. Coming from a disillusioned time in America, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is a film which reflect the emptiness that once was the American dream through clever filmmaking. The empty and dry scenery reflects the western nature of the film, yet not a patriotic western. The lack of music helps this due to reinforcing the feeling of emptiness.
And to top it all off, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot benefits from some astounding work from its cast.
Clint Eastwood's leading effort is a solid one. Relaying his stereotypical hard-edged persona to audiences, Clint Eastwood's performance in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot stands out among his countless other efforts due to a restrained sense of vulnerability in the role. There is nothing stopping him from being a badass, but Thunderbolt and Lightfoot puts more characterization into his presence and encourages audiences to consider what made him this way in the first place. As he develops a chemistry with Jeff Bridges you can see him getting more energetic in the part without pushing beyond his gritty attitude. There is more life in his performance and more heart, a feeling which is conveyed in a very subtle fashion. There is always a sense of regret in Clint Eastwood, a feeling like he is doing what he genuinely needs to rather than what he believes is right. It hints at a sense of disillusionment with the world around him, reflecting the aforementioned elements of counterculture. Clint Eastwood branches out in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, though he still carries enough of his natural attitude to appeal to fans of his. As a man of action and a genuine actor in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Clint Eastwood delivers one of his finest performances from his early days.
But anyone can tell you it is Jeff Bridges that stands out in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. Capturing the spirit of young America with his performance, Jeff Bridges puts a quick-witted and passionate spirit into Lightfoot. He is the main source of the humour in the film because his attitude is endlessly fun, yet it does not get in the way of the real drama in the film. Jeff Bridges captures the intense moments of the drama without problem due to his own flair for atmospheric tenacity, yet his ability to oscillate between it and the comic nature of the film with such ease is magnificent. Every moment Jeff Bridges is on screen is a chance for him to give life to audiences, and he does it with such a natural passion that it enrichens the entire feature. His chemistry with Clint Eastwood is magnificent because the two work together both as brothers yet each represents a different side of American life, with Lightfoot becoming a thief out of desire more than requirement. He clearly has a lot of fun in the role, and he does it with brilliant physical energy and strong insight which renders his performance unforgettable. Jeff Bridges' Academy Award nominated effort in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is truly admirable, worth nothing short of its acclaim.
George Kennedy is also great. Moving from hero to villain after winning an Academy Award for portraying prisoner Dragline in the prison masterpiece Cool Hand Luke (1967), George Kennedy's performance in that helps to bolster his achievement in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. Portraying an angry man who is almost obsessed with hatred, George Kennedy's raw anger in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is extremely intimidating. He is unpredictable and rich with antagonism as a result, making an engaging screen presence and a powerful foe for the heroes of the story. George Kennedy is remarkable in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, and his chemistry with Clint Eastwood is excellent.
And though Geoffrey Lewis has a rather simplistic character to work with, he still puts his natural charm into the part.

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot may not always have the best consistency with pacing, but with Michael Cimino's passionate direction, it transcends the standard of depth for Clint Eastwood vehicles with rich themes, a strong style and a notorious edge for comedy brought in by Jeff Bridges' excellent performance.
November 26, 2015
Enjoyable, humorous and entertaining, beautifully shot in Idaho and Montana.
½ September 22, 2015
director michael cimino's pre'heaven's gate' buddy western
Super Reviewer
½ July 18, 2015
Former screenwriter Michael Cimino's debut behind the camera is a charming mixture of buddy/caper/road movie. A cinematography that enhances the beautiful natural landscapes of middle america; a cast that exudes bonafide chemistry; and an unexpectedly tender conclusion to the adventure are the main reasons to treasure this film.
April 12, 2015
One of Clint Eastwood's five best movies! On my top 100 movies of the 70s!
March 30, 2015
I own this on DVD and Blu-Ray.
½ March 27, 2015
A middling buddy/comedy/caper flick.
March 25, 2015
Watchable enough as a Sunday afternoon movie, feels like pretty much a throwaway entry in the back catalogue of Eastwood and Bridges though. Seems to have grown in stature amongst critics but you kind of feel that's just because everyone is desperately trying to justify Cimino's career. He made one incredible movie but that was it! Move on!
December 31, 2014
This is film that really made an impression on me as a kid and one that still hold up today. It's something of a mix of heist film and road picture. Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, George Kennedy and Geoffrey Lewis team up, after some wacky series of events leading up to their plan. Those events are pretty funny and involve memorable bit parts for Catherine Bach, Gary Busey, Bill McKinney (my favorite as a guy driving a car full of rabbits and a caged raccoon), Vic Tayback and Dub Taylor. This film was Michael Cimino's directorial debut and his next film would be his masterful "The Deer Hunter." Cimino is one of those directors like Terry Gilliam or Orson Welles, who's reputations for extravagance and being difficult killed their careers and resulted in a sadly small filmography. This film stands apart from any other of his films as his only foray into comedy, though this film is equal parts action and character drama. As for the cast, Clint and Bridges are a great team and both give terrific performances. Kennedy is funny as the crotchety gangsters, as is Lewis as his flunkey. Overall, I see this film as something of a minor classic that is well worth revisiting.
½ July 16, 2014
Very thin Butch and Sundance type movie. Never buy the friendship between Eastwood and Bridges. Very low key robbery scene, not that interesting. Eastwood and Bridges come close to being interesting with their natural charisma, but the script isn't doing much to help them out.
June 14, 2014
This film is a weird mashup of Thelma and Louis, a capper film, a buddy road trip film, a thriller, a chase film, and it even has some light hearted moments tossed in for a chuckle here and there.
Jeff Bridges and Eastwood work really well in this film. But I think that's as much due to the fact that they didn't really need to act much. Their characters are almost how you would have expected them to be in real life to a certain degree.
The age of the film and the style might put a few people off as it is clearly an older film but if you enjoy capper films or Thelma and Louis, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot should be something you track down and check out.
June 2, 2014
I watched this in the cinema, at it's release in the early 1970's and loved it. Clint has always been a hero of mine. As is Jeff Bridges. I need to see this again, to remember it more...
½ March 28, 2014
All in all, Thunderbolt And Lightfoot is definitely a movie that's worth a viewing or two. If you want to see Cimino direct a movie that was before Heaven's Gate, then watch Thunderbolt And Lightfoot, and if you haven't seen it already, then watch The Deer Hunter, as you will say that that movie is one of the greatest movies that you've ever seen. It's a shame that Cimino's reputation had to get smashed following Heaven's Gate, because before then, he was thought to be a director on the rise, following the successes of both this movie, and The Deer Hunter. But anyway, you'll end up liking this movie when you watch it, as it is a very interesting and original movie. Don't let Heaven's Gate affect your judgement on Thunderbolt And Lightfoot, as it was before Cimino directed the former. Anyway, this movie is a very good movie, don't miss it, you end up really enjoying it!
February 24, 2014
Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges rob a bank... Why hasn't anyone seen this?
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