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Rolling Thunder (1977)

Trailer
2:31 | Trailer
A returning war veteran loses his family to a violent home invasion and decides to seek and retaliate against those responsible.

Director:

John Flynn

Writers:

Paul Schrader (screenplay), Heywood Gould (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Devane ... Major Charles Rane
Tommy Lee Jones ... Johnny Vohden
Linda Haynes ... Linda Forchet
James Best ... Texan
Dabney Coleman ... Maxwell
Lisa Blake Richards ... Janet (as Lisa Richards)
Luke Askew ... Automatic Slim
Lawrason Driscoll Lawrason Driscoll ... Cliff
James Victor ... Lopez
Cassie Yates ... Candy
Jordan Gerler Jordan Gerler ... Mark
Jane Abbott ... Sister
Jerry Brown ... Patrolman 1
Jacque Burandt Jacque Burandt ... Bebe
Anthony Castillo Anthony Castillo ... Street Urchin
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Storyline

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. Written by Josh Pasnak <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Vietnam Vet Kills For Revenge See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

6 February 1978 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Mann mit der Stahlkralle See more »

Filming Locations:

Pearsall , Texas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color | Black and White (flashbacks)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Best initially turned down playing the role of the Texan because he objected to the profanity in the script. However, Best eventually agreed to play the part after he learned that both William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones were attached to the movie. Moreover, Best put ice cubes under his cowboy hat to convey that his character was always sweating. See more »

Goofs

While Major Rane is in a bar with his admirer Linda, he is served a glass of beer. While talking with Linda, he takes only one sip, then decides to leave. But when he stands up, his glass can be seen to be almost half empty. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Johnny: Major, I sure do hate to face all them people.
Major Charles Rane: Then put your glasses on, John.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bad Ass (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

San Antone
Written by Barry De Vorzon (uncredited)
Sung by Denny Brooks
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Cult classic of 70's cinema.
10 September 2009 | by RedRoadsterSee all my reviews

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.)


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