Cimino got his big break co-scripting this gritty, gripping second installment in the Dirty Harry series, sufficiently impressing Clint Eastwood that he hired Cimino as director on his next project, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. This time around, the tightly wound San Francisco cop ruffles feathers—and racks up a serious body count—when he begins investigating a series of vigilante murders.
Cimino’s wonderfully loose-limbed directorial debut is a winning mix of road movie, buddy comedy, and heist film in which an ex-con turned preacher (Eastwood) resumes his bank robbing ways when he teams up with a brash young scofflaw (Bridges). Eastwood’s tough guy terseness plays nicely off Bridges’ goofy amiability, while Cimino demonstrates his feeling for landscape via the majestic Montana location shooting.
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