Thunder Road | Chicago Reader

Thunder Road

The definitive road movie (1958), the well from which all the genre's subsequent blessings flow. Writer-producer Robert Mitchum is a backwoods moonshiner ("Thunder was his engine and white lightnin' was his load") and the perfect embodiment of American asphalt angst. As Richard Thompson wrote, "It transcends the limits of art because it is uncompromised by any elevated artistic intent: it exists at the white-hot juncture of fact and legend."; And he's not kidding. The direction, crude but appropriate, is by Arthur Ripley; with Gene Evans and Mitchum's son Jim, who plays the hero's brother.

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