Thunder Road

  • 1958
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Crime

One of the earliest, and by far the best, of the moonshine-running films starring Robert Mitchum, who not only wrote the original story, produced, and starred, but also wrote the theme song "Whippoorwill," which he later recorded and turned into a radio hit. If that isn't enough, Bob's 16-year-old son Jim made his movie debut playing his dad's brother....read more

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One of the earliest, and by far the best, of the moonshine-running films starring Robert Mitchum, who not only wrote the original story, produced, and starred, but also wrote the theme song "Whippoorwill," which he later recorded and turned into a radio hit. If that isn't enough, Bob's

16-year-old son Jim made his movie debut playing his dad's brother. The fairly simple story line is a southern slice of life which sees Mitchum, Sr., coming home to Tennessee from Korea to take over operation of the family moonshine still. Worried that his kid brother, Mitchum, Jr., might get

tangled up in the dangerous business, Mitchum, Sr., tries to discourage the rowdy youth from getting involved in the moonshine wars. Soon powerful mobster Aubuchon wants in on the elder Mitchum's action, and when his offers to buy out the operation are rudely rebuffed, the hoodlum sends some of

his boys over to kill one of the family's truck drivers. Adding to Mitchum's troubles is Barry, a federal agent out to smash the moonshine trade. Mitchum, Sr., avenges his driver's death by beating up Aubuchon. This leads to all-out war between the mob and Mitchum. Eventually Mitchum, Sr., is

captured by Aubuchon, but he is rescued by his brother. At this point, Barry steps in and arrests Aubuchon. Still deadset on ending the moonshine business, Barry sets out after Mitchum, Sr., and after a thrilling car chase through the backwoods, Mitchum, Sr., meets his end when his car speeds out

of control and hits a power transformer which electrocutes him. Footage of the exciting crash was used in the weird THEY SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN (1963). Popular vocalist Smith, with her unusual mannerisms and unique appearance, was an inspired choice as the love interest. Newcomer Knight, the

secondary love interest, had her first featured role. The former wife of actor Jack Nicholson, Knight matriculated from this into low-budget horror films such as FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER (1959) and BLOOD BATH (1966). In 1975, young James Mitchum starred in a picture, MOONRUNNERS, with much the same

theme as this moonshine-running benchmark. This has become a minor cult classic and is one of Mitchum's more interesting (and bizzare) efforts.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: One of the earliest, and by far the best, of the moonshine-running films starring Robert Mitchum, who not only wrote the original story, produced, and starred, but also wrote the theme song "Whippoorwill," which he later recorded and turned into a radio hi… (more)

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