Sunday, 8 June 2014

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)

Michael Cimino’s directorial debut finds its way onto UK Region B Blu-ray courtesy of Second Sight in this sparkling transfer that’s worth checking out, even though the disc is an otherwise bare bones release.
Retired thief “Thunderbolt” (Clint Eastwood) is hiding out as a priest in a small town after his final job went a bit wrong. Within the first few minutes of the film, surviving gang members George Kennedy and Geoffrey Lewis catch up with him, causing Eastwood to make a swift exit mid-service amidst a hail of bullets. Car thief Lightfoot (Jeff Bridges) just happens to be passing in his latest acquisition, and soon Eastwood is his accidental passenger. 
          As the two hit it off it transpires that, due to a variety of complications, the money from Eastwood’s final heist is still hidden behind the blackboard of a small Montana schoolhouse. They go there but the place has gone, replaced by a newer building. Assuming the money to be lost, and with Kennedy and Lewis catching up with them, the four  decide to perform one last robbery. However, despite their intricate arrangements, including the use of a gun borrowed from a Korean tank, things don’t go entirely to plan.

A combination of heist caper and road movie, Cimino’s film benefits greatly from the director’s eye for the gorgeous Montana scenery, rendered even more beautiful on Blu-ray. Shots of Eastwood being pursued across a field, or a fistfight taking place next to a lake, are put together with an almost painterly eye for composition and colour, and the 2.35:1 aspect ratio helps to make the landscape one of the stars of the film. Cimino’s own script meanders about a bit, but it’s such a lot of fun, and all four leads are so watchable, that you don’t really mind. 

As stated above, unfortunately there are no extras - not even a trailer. A previously available US Blu-ray from Twilight Time had a commentary, score track and booklet, but it’s now so prohibitively expensive that if you haven’t had the chance to experience THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT on Blu-ray, Second Sight’s disc is going to be your best bet.

Second Sight are releasing Michael Cimino's THUNDERBOLT & LIGHTFOOT on UK Region B Blu-ray on 23rd June 2014


  1. I love this film. Eastwood was untouchable during this period

  2. I remember watching it on BBC1 many, many years ago but it was a very vague memory. It was a lot better than I expected - the scenery is fabulous and the ending is quite poignant.