Out of the Past: The Films of Robert Mitchum

Thunder Road

Arthur RipleyUSA92 minutes1958ColourEnglish

Feb 6
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    Shot on location in North Carolina, this tale of a hard-driving Tennessee moonshiner was a true passion project for Mitchum: in addition to starring, he produced, co-wrote, penned and later recorded the theme song, cast his own son as his onscreen younger brother (after his attempt to secure the services of Elvis Presley was rebuffed), and reportedly even had a hand in directing the film. (Legendary drinker that he was, Mitchum was obviously keenly interested in the subject of hooch-making, and had a great excuse for copious background research!) Mitchum stars as a Korean War veteran who returns home to take over his family's moonshine operation, and is soon embroiled in a deadly struggle with both the feds and the Mob. Attesting to the film's reputation as "the ultimate road movie," the final car-crash sequence is perhaps the best in all cinema. Bruce Springsteen borrowed the film's title for one of his greatest songs. "Mitchum's ultimate cinematic statement… The movie simply contains more of Robert Mitchum, more of his actual creative participation and more of his heart, soul, and mind than any other" (Lee Server).

    Due to unforeseen circumstances, the 35mm print of Thunder Road has been replaced by a digital copy. We apologize for any inconvenience.