I literally cannot fathom how it took me so long to finally getting around to seeing this. Clint Eastwood has been on my Mt. Rushmore of actors since I was a fetus, and Jeff Bridges is also on that list.
This movie sees them in different points of their career, Bridges is a young cocky little hippy named Lightfoot who opens the movie by stealing a car, and Eastwood is an old bank robber in hiding who opens the movie as the pastor of a church, before literally being run out of the congregation by a gun toting man from his past who comes to collect on an old debt.
Their fates wind up crisscrossed and thus this traveling buddy movie goes. There’s lots of great character actors popping up here and there, among them the great George Kennedy, who plays an old member of Eastwood’s character’s (Thunderbolt) gang.
This movie was written and directed by Michael Cimino just a few years before his critically acclaimed masterpiece “The Deer Hunter,” which was itself a few years before his critically lampooned disaster “Heaven’s Gate…” This movie is nothing at all like either of those two films.
This film in a way reminded me of Easy Rider without the motorcycles, and plus a complicated caper plot. Eastwood and Bridges, who I would have thought would have clashed, have a great chemistry together.
I’ve never seen Clint Eastwood play such a relaxed freewheeling character before, and it was kind of a trip to be honest. Seeing him smile and wax poetic instead of spitting tobacco and grimacing took some getting used to.
Still, this is a very fun and creative movie populated by interesting and colorful characters.
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot gets a four out of five: GREAT.