Rolling Thunder

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

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Main Details

  • Released in 1977 | Color
  • Running Time: 95 Min.
  • Production Co: American International Pictures
  • Distribution Co.: American International Pictures, Actueel Film (1979) (Netherlands) (theatrical), Ambassador Film Distributors (1977) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • Directed by John Flynn
  • Written by Paul Schrader & Heywood Gould
  • Starring: William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones, James Best, Linda Haynes, Dabney Coleman
  • Produced by Lawrence Gordon, Norman T. Herman
  • Original Music by Barry De Vorzon
  • Cinematography by Jordan Cronenweth
  • Film Editing by Frank P. Keller

Also known as

  • Der Mann mit der Stahlkralle (Germany) | El Ex-Preso de Corea (Spain)


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Gene Siskel listed Rolling Thunder on his ten best list for 1977. It was the tenth film on the list. This is one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite films. Rolling Thunder Pictures, a company founded by Tarantino that briefly distributed reissues of cult films, was named after this film. An excerpt from this film is used in the track "Blood Embrace" from the album Superwolf by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Matt Sweeney. The excerpt is Janet telling Rane that she has had an affair with Cliff. It starts with Janet saying, "Charlie, I've...been with another man," and ends with Rane stating, "I'm just gonna sit here." The film was originally written in 1973 for AIP, where Larry Gordon was head of production. Gordon took the script with him when he left for Columbia, and for a time Schrader was going to direct. However that fell through and the film was set up at 20th Century Fox. Schrader's script was rewritten by Heywood Gould. It starred William Devane who John Flynn says "back then they were priming... [him] to be a big film star." The movie was shot in San Antonio Texas in 31 days. Flynn: "We knew we were doing something fairly bold. The producer, Lawrence Gordon, told me to shoot the garbage disposal scene like open-heart surgery, make it as bloody as I possibly could. So I did. When we submitted Rolling Thunder to the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) for a rating, we expected deep cuts, but the censors passed uncut one of the most violent movies in the history of film. Rolling Thunder was given an R rating!" (Wikipedia)

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