[10 February 2011]
Rolling Thunder is a classic of tough guy cinema. You can see the influence in movie theaters right now. The remake of The Mechanic contains a direct reference to the infamous garbage disposal scene. Hell, Quentin Tarantino went so far as to name his short-lived distribution company after John Flynn’s 1977 revenge film.
Despite the wide renown and the lasting impact, Rolling Thunder has never been made available on DVD in North America. It always seems to be on demand, but unless you could track down a bootleg or a Spanish import, you had to settle for a grainy VHS tape, downloading a ripped copy from the internet, or the occasional midnight show at the local rep theater.
Rolling Thunder has never been released on DVD, until now (okay, two weeks ago, but close enough). Thanks to MGM’s “Manufacture On Demand”, that burns DVD-Rs as they’re ordered, you can own your very own copy of the story of Major Charles Rayne (William Devane) to cuddle up with and keep you warm on those long, cold winter nights.
Paul Schrader scripted the grim tale of Rayne, a Vietnam vet and POW who comes home only to find that his entire world has fallen apart. When his estranged wife and young son are murdered by thugs out for $2500 in silver dollars, and his hand is ground into hamburger, Rayne does the only thing he can think of, team up with his old army buddy Johnny (Tommy Lee Jones), and go on a kill-crazy rampage. It has everything you want in a story of vengeance, shotguns, hook hands, and a shoot out in a brothel. What more can you ask for?
You should order a copy of Rolling Thunder for yourself. Mine is in the mail.