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Blue Thunder

151 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Mar 23, 2004)
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(Apr 04, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Roy Scheider stars in this intense action thriller as a courageous police officer pilot battling government fanatics planning to misuse an experimental attack helicopter. Chosen to test BLUE THUNDER,Frank Murphy (Scheider) is amazed by the high-speed, high-tech chopper. It can see through walls, record a whisper or level a city block. Distrusting the military mentality behind BLUE THUNDER, Murphy and his partner Lymangood (Daniel Stern) soon discover that the remarkable craft is slated for useas the ultimate weapon in surveillance and crowd control. Jeopardized after being discovered by sinister Colonel Cochrane (Malcolm McDowell), Murphy flies BLUE THUNDER against military aircraft in a spellbinding contest over Los Angeles.

"Suspense in a void" is how critic Pauline Kael described this action-packed hit from 1983. In other words, this is one of those flashy, superbly crafted high-tech thrillers in which the star is a machine, while intelligent plotting and human characters are a lesser priority. The machine in question is Blue Thunder--a heavily armored prototype helicopter that is secretly being tested for use in a devious government conspiracy. Roy Scheider plays the police pilot who catches on to the nefarious plot and takes to the skies against an evil army colonel (Malcolm McDowell) who will defend his coconspirators at any cost. Director John Badham was a hot property in the early '80s (he directed WarGames the same year), and Blue Thunder served as the popular model for many formulaic action thrillers to follow. That doesn't make it a great movie, but with a fine cast (including Daniel Stern in a memorable supporting role) and a dazzling aerial chase among big-city skyscrapers, Blue Thunder qualifies as slick entertainment. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Warren Oates, Daniel Stern, Candy Clark, Malcolm McDowell, Roy Scheider
  • Directors: John Badham
  • Producers: Gordon Carroll
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Full Screen, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0), French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 23, 2004
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767817648
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,525 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Blue Thunder" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
During the early 1980's, Americans were treated with vehicles that sported the latest futuristic technology. For cars, there was "Knight Rider". For motorcycles, there was "Street Hawk". And in 1983, people were captivated by a helicopter known as "Blue Thunder".

The film was directed by world renown director John Badham ("Saturday Night Fever" and "WarGames") and feature a screenplay by Dan O'Banon ("Alien" films and "Total Recall") and Don Jakoby ("Vampires" and "Death Wish 3'), music by Arthur B. Rubinstein ("Double Jeopardy" and "Face Value") and cinematography by John A. Alonzo ("Star Trek: Generations", "The Meteor Man" and "Internal Affairs").

"BLUE THUNDER" would star Roy Scheider ("SeaQuest DSV", "Jaws" and "The French Connection) as LAPD helicopter pilot Officer Frank Murphy. Together with his new rookie partner Officer Richard Lymangood (Daniel Stern), while the two were patroling Los Angeles through the air, they happen to come across on what appeared to be a robbery attempt on city councilwoman Diane McNeely.

Unfortunately, before they arrived near the city councilwoman's area, the two were using their helicopter to observe a woman working out nude in her home. But also, due to previous situations, Officer Frank Murphy is due for a psychological evaluation. In fact, Murphy tends to use his stop watch to make sure that his mind is thinking straight (despite having nightmares of a Vietnamese soldier being thrown off a helicopter that he was piloting).
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Serial Movie Buff on April 13, 2006
Format: DVD
This Special Edition turned out to be not so special after all. Okay, the new transfer is better looking than the previous release. But the movie itself remains the same old version, missing a good bit of the car chase which, for some reason, was included in European copies but was never shown in the US.

The missing part - check it out on imdb - takes place when Roy Scheider's wife, rushing to the TV studio with the tape, drives into a back alley with patrol cars on her tail: there, she skids into a wall on two wheels, bangs the roof of her car, then resumes her crazy run as the patrol cars slam into each other - and this is what makes Scheider wince from his chopper above.

Apart from leaving aside a nice piece of stunt work, this cut also accounts for a continuity loophole, when we see the car drive into the TV studio parking lot with a badly battered rooftop.

Granted, this missing part is no big deal, but it certainly makes this so-called 'Special Edition' a bit of a disappointment.

Five stars for the movie, three for the DVD.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Michael Resh on May 27, 2003
Format: DVD
As a boy growing up in the 80's, this was just about as cool as it got this side of Star Wars. Although my tastes have become somewhat more sophisticated over the years, I still enjoy a well-crafted action movie, and this certainly qualifies. Although the movie at times becomes campy due to overacting or poorly choreographed action sequences (hey, Badham didn't have $150M to work with, OK?) the movie's themes regarding the dangers of advanced technology as a tool of repression and protection of the homeland against terrorists still ring true. And besides, the helicopter is still really cool, even if the cockpit is reminiscent of Knight Rider's KITT (another 80's must).
Technically, the film is quite good overall. Especially in the chase scenes, one gets the feeling that Badham and his crew spent hundreds of hours in the air to get the quality and quantity of footage necessary to pull this movie off. The editing, however, leaves something to be desired at times, particularly the ADR, which on numerous occasions does not appear to match the actors' mouth movements. Otherwise, however, the film is masterful, especially considering the technology used to edit it at the time.
If you are looking for high art, look elsewhere. If you are looking for Matrix-like special effects, look elsewhere. If you are looking for an entertaining action movie from the Reagan era, you're in the right place.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 2001
Format: DVD
"Blue Thunder" is about as perfect as a B-grade thriller can get. It has all the right clichés: the tortured Vietnam vet, the inexperienced sidekick, the grumpy boss, the slimy and smart villain. And, of course, there's the "MacGuffin", an old Alfred Hitchcock term for a particular object in a movie that everyone pursues. In this case, the MacGuffin is a prototype helicopter, presumably being loaned to the LAPD to head off potential terrorist [movements] during the Olympic Games (this movie was made in 1983, a year before the games in Los Angeles. At one point in the film, a police dispatcher describes a robbery suspect as a "male negro". Gives you sort of an idea of how long ago 1983 really was).
Murphy (Roy Scheider) is an LAPD helicopter pilot suffering from a pesky case of post-traumatic-stress disorder. His delicate psychological condition has Murphy one step away from forced retirement, and nobody really wants to fly with him. Luckily, his new partner, Lymangood (Daniel Stern), is too young and naive to know about Murphy's problems. He clearly experienced some pretty horrible things over in the Nam, and one night, while attempting to rescue a city councilwoman from two thugs, he has a flashback to when he witnessed the murder of an enemy soldier.
Later, after the councilwoman dies from her injuries, Murphy suspects that her murder wasn't the result of a crude rape attempt, as the brass are trying to imply. It may have something to do with the new police helicopter they're trying out. Blue Thunder is essentially a tank with propellers. It's heavily armored and has a wicked-looking machine gun mounted on the nose.
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