Rolling Thunder (1977)

“I had everything worked out but nothing’s gone the way I planned.” In this raw, deeply disturbing and powerful revenge flick, William Devane portrays “Major Charles Rane,” a Vietnam War veteran and former prisoner of war in Hanoi, who returns home to a hero’s welcome. He is awarded 2,555 silver dollars, one for each day of his captivity (plus one for luck). However, the welcoming party is short-lived—Rane’s son doesn’t remember him and his wife is in love with another man. To make matters worse, a gang of depraved thugs – “The Texan” (James Best), “Automatic Slim” (Luke Askew), “T Bird” (Charles Escamilla) and “Melio” (Pete Ortega) seeking the money terrorizes Rane (forcing his hand down a garbage disposal) and kills his wife and son. After recovering from the attack, Rane enlists his buddy, another former POW, “Johnny Vohden” (Tommy Lee Jones), to help him exact revenge. The final, brutal confrontation takes place in a whorehouse. Directed by John Flynn, Rolling Thunder was scripted by Heywood Gould and Paul Schrader, who also wrote the screenplays for Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980). Look for Linda Haynes (Coffy) as bartender and war hero groupie “Linda Forchet.” Highly recommended! Best portrayed “Rosco P. Coltrane” on the hit TV series The Dukes of Hazzard.

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