Thunderbolt and Lightfoot on Blu-ray – The DVDfever Review

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot sounds morelike the sort of drink you’d buy in a bar in town on a Friday night, these days, but 40 years ago, it was a film about two robbers, played respectively by Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges, and was also the feature-length directorial debut for Michael Cimino, also of The Deer Hunter fame, who later brought the house down – and a studio – with the mega-flop Heaven’s Gate.

Beginning the film by posing as a man of the cloth, Thunderbolt is confronted in his church by a man brandishing a pistol, scaring the congregation out the front door while he ducks out the back, eventually being picked up by Lightfoot in a stolen car – the first of many they drive, which is the moment they first meet.

When they’re inbetween cars, there’s an interesting moment when they accidentally get a lift from a suicidal nutcase, but unfortunately, it’s all too brief.

Before too long… well, it is a bit too long, they have Red Leary (George Kennedy) and Eddie Goody (Geoffrey Lewis) chasing after them, since $500,000 is stashed somewhere safe from a heist they did with Thunderbolt two years earlier. Also, throw in a brief encounter with Melody (Catherine Bach, who’s high-up cast position made me think she’d be in this film for some length, but she appears for less time than her character’s friend Gloria, when they have a dalliance with the two heroes) and it takes forever to get anywhere, so there’s a hell of a long time when not a lot is happening, hence it didn’t take me long to spot the moment when they chanced upon a triffid-like weed growing by the river (bottom pic), which is also the same type which happened to land in my Mum’s garden recently. How’s that for a 40th anniversary surprise!

Similarly, there’s also a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it early cameo from Gary Busey.

All that said, I’ve always missed this film when it’s been on TV as they’ve never broadcast it in its correct widescreen aspect ratio, so it’s most welcome to fill a gap in my film knowledge of the two leads, with Clint looking his usual agonised/p’d off self, and Jeff looking as young as his CGI’d self in Tron Legacy.


The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, and the transfer is okay once the film gets going, but while some scenes have an element of grain in them, the opening credits really need sorting out. They’re dreadful.

The sound is in the original mono, so don’t expect too much in the audio dept, but it’s fine for dialogue, ambience and perfunctory gunshot sounds.

Unfortunately, when it came to the presentation of the disc, the person in charge must’ve been on holiday, since there are NO extras.

Chapters are okay with 16 – better than the usual 12 most distributors give, but I would always recommend one every 5 minutes, so that would equate to 23 for this title.

The DVD, released in 2003, contained subtitles in several languages, plus some trailers. But here? Zilch! What a poor do, Second Sight! It’s especially bad in scenes where there’s a load of Southern drawl being spoken and you can’t hear a word that’s being said.

The menu simply sets a piece of the theme music against the moment 33 minutes in, when the pair are taking a rest. It’s a well-thought out image, but it still makes for a dull menu.



Detailed specs:

Running time: 115 mins
Year: 1974
Released: June 23rd 2014
Chapters: 16 2NDBR4033
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Mono
Languages: English
Subtitles: None
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Disc Format: BD50

Director: Michael Cimino
Producer: Robert Daley
Screenplay: Michael Cimino
Music: Dee Barton

Thunderbolt: Clint Eastwood
Lightfoot: Jeff Bridges
Red Leary: George Kennedy
Eddie Goody: Geoffrey Lewis
Melody: Catherine Bach
Curly: Gary Busey
Vault Manager: Jack Dodson
Dunlop: Roy Jenson
Gloria: June Fairchild