Rolling Thunder (1977) is a English,Spanish movie. John Flynn has directed this movie. William Devane,Tommy Lee Jones,Linda Haynes,James Best are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1977. Rolling Thunder (1977) is considered one of the best Crime,Drama,Thriller movie in India and around the world.
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.
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Good writing, acting and directing place this violent revenge melodrama a cut or two above most films of its genre. William Devane gives a strong, stoic performance as Major Charles Rane, an ex-Vietnam POW who returns home to his wife and son, only to have his peace-time dreams shattered by a gang of vicious, menacing home-invading hoods who murder his family and leave him permanently maimed. After rehabilitation, he goes gunning for the people responsible for the crime. Tommy Lee Jones is very good as his fellow Army buddy who willingly joins him on the vengeance trail. The film is enhanced by adding some psychological insights into Devane's character....we get a revealing peek at how his wartime experiences have changed him and what makes him tick. The film is tense and extremely violent in spots, but the violence is not gratuitous. Paul Schrader, who wrote the classic "Taxi Driver" also wrote the original story here...and it shows. This one's worth seeking out.
I'm always fascinated by some of the wonderful and lesser known cult films from the 1970's. The Grainy film stock, the reliance on character and story rather than effects. "Rolling Thunder" is an excellent noir / revenge example of how atmosphere and the "less is more" style can propel a movie along in such a gripping way. With a screenplay by Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver) and a haunting theme song by Denny Brooks, this is a quality example of the genre. Major Charles Rane (William Devane) is a man who has been pushed beyond his limits during an eight year incarceration in the Hanoi Hilton. Returning home with his friend Sergeant Vohgel (Tommy Lee Jones)and being a minor celebrity to his home town, He is presented with a new Cadillac car and a briefcase full of silver dollars (one for every day he was a POW) He tries to adapt to civilian life with his wife, who is now engaged to another man, and his son who doesn't remember him. Any chance at healing his soul is destroyed when a gang of thugs show up at his house to steal the silver dollars. After trying to torture the location (unsuccessfully) of the briefcase out of the Major, his son reveals where it is in an effort to spare his father any more pain. Once in possession of the money they kill his wife and son as they witnessed the crime and leave him for dead. Big Mistake. This is a complex film which shows you a traumatised and quiet protagonist who is emotionally dead inside. Having suffered so much already , he can barely show any emotion over losing his family. When he decides to hunt the killers down, there are no outbursts just a cold resolve to do what he must. Devane and Jones are excellent as two men who share an unbreakable bond of camaraderie and are both destroyed by the horrors they suffered in Vietnam. Its interesting how neither fear conflict but are both uneasy in their own homes. Linda Haynes gives good support as a waitress who is attracted to Rane and his celebrity but then realises he is psychologically existing on a different level. One of the most interesting "revenge" films that i've seen due to the complex nature of the characters and the total lack of glorification involved in the scenes of violence. There are similarities to "The Wild Bunch" (1969) and the final shootout is a scene worthy of Peckinpah himself. (At time of writing, this film is only available on a Spanish import DVD or rare VHS copies which you might be able to track down on e bay. Lets hope for a studio DVD release soon.)
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.
'Rolling Thunder' epitomizes to me what is great about 1970s movies. Just imagine this one remade today! It'd be a John Woo-esque shoot 'em up "action" blockbuster with slo mo explosions and a "hip" techno soundtrack! But we have here is an intelligent, well written (by Paul Shrader) and acted study of alienation AND a great revenge thriller as well. You can have your cake and eat it too! Something Hollywood seems to have forgotten... Devane is superb as the Vietnam Vet who regards himself as already dead. He returns to a heroes welcome, a new car and ready cash, but finds it impossible to put his life back together. Tragedy strikes and he does the only thing he can do - seek revenge. 'Rolling Thunder' is often unfairly tagged a "vigilante movie" which brings 'Death Wish' to mind, when it really has more in common with another 1970s classic of obsession and violence, Peckinpah's 'Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia'. 'Rolling Thunder' isn't as great as that, and suffers from a few dead spots in the second half, but make no mistake, this is a superior thriller that wipes the floor with 99% of Hollywood's current output.
Boy, it's good to see a film one really likes that is just about unknown.....and read other reviewers who share your high opinion of that movie. That's the case here in this simple revenge tale. My attraction to this film, outside of the interesting story, is the acting performance of William Devane, who plays the lead character. Seldom have I seen such a fascinating character. Devane's character, "Major Charles Rane," had some interesting things to say BUT his silence was downright fascinating. Just the looks on his face and the absolute silence when his wife tells him she had been fooling around in his absence (when he had been suffering as POW, no less!) or when the robbers are giving him a horrible, sadistic beating. With the exception of one, maybe two outbursts, his language was surprisingly civil, too. The movie had what I call "that gritty '70s look" to it but was well-filmed and probably would look very good on DVD. (We are still waiting for that to happen.) There were some solid closeup and shadow shots which added nicely to the neo-noir story. The violence is no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point and, with one exception at the end, realistically brutal........ but not overdone. The film starts slowly for the first 10-15 minutes but is a fast ride once the thieves enter the picture. Co-star Linda Haynes reminded me of Tuesday Weld but not quite as pretty and a tiny bit harder looking. Nonetheless, she was an interesting new face and one I still don't recall ever seeing in any other film. It's also fun to see such a young Tommy Lee Jones. Revenge movies can be a dime-a-dozen but this has at least one scene I guarantee you will never forget.