Blue Thunder (1983) from Tuna

Blue Thunder was a fairly popular action film from the era before the plethora of action films. It was good enough to spawn a TV series. What was impressive in 1983 is now much less so. The first half of the film draws you in, but the second half degenerates pretty quickly. Murphy, police helicopter pilot haunted by his memories of Vietnam, is pitted against his old flying buddy who is largely responsible for the bad memories. Murphy, played by Roy Schneider, is picked to train in a special new attack helicopter. 
Malcolm McDowell plays the evil colonel, who is part of a plot to cause a riot in Watts then prove the need for the helicopter (Blue Thunder) by using it in riot conditions. 


One time wonder Anna Forrest plays a nude yoga practitioner whom the police helicopters peep on. She shows pretty much everything. 
It is watchable but less than brilliant. 

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1, and a full screen version

  • no significant features

Scoopy's notes in yellow:

Director John Badham was really on top for a while, with this and War Games coming out during the same year. Thunder was kind of the 1983 equivalent of a summer blockbuster, and has some plusses. 

I like some of Badham's movies, notably Stakeout and Bingo Long.

Of course, Badham is best known as the director of Saturday Night Fever which, although not a great film, not only made John Travolta a star, but had a profound impact upon popular culture.

The Critics Vote

  • Maltin 2/4

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 5.9. 
  • With their dollars ... it was a fairly popular film. It took in $42 million at the box office, and has since added another $20 million in rentals.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C.

Return to the Movie House home page