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Author Topic: THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT: The Story 1: Thunderbolt and Lightfoot  (Read 4900 times)
Matt
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« on: June 27, 2004, 10:47:08 AM »

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The closeness between the two men is limited by the difference of generation -- a theme that begins with Thunderbolt telling Lightfoot that he is "ten years too late," and which Cimino follows up, simply enough, with a series of details built around the offering and receiving of the gift of Thunderbolt's wristwatch, an insertion into time's limits that the younger man shows reluctance to accept.
(Clint Eastwood, Filmmaker and Star, by Edward Gallafent, p. 169)

The script for Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is an original screenplay by Michael Cimino. A novelization of the screenplay was written by Joe Millard. In the novel, Lightfoot refers to Thunderbolt as "Pops" and Thunderbolt refers to Lightfoot as "Son" throughout. Is it surprising to you that the author would use those terms? Do you see their relationship in any way as a father/son relationship, or is it strictly buddy/buddy to you?

Do you agree with Gallafent (as quoted above) that the closeness between Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is limited by a generational gap? Why or why not?

How does the relationship between Thunderbolt and Lightfoot in this film compare with the "partnership" of Manco (Eastwood) and Col. Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef) in For a Few Dollars More? (Recall that Manco constantly refers to Mortimer as "old man," while Mortimer calls Manco "boy.")
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Christopher
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2004, 09:06:35 AM »

I can see a similarity between Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and Manco and Mortimer. Eastwood's role is just switched from the "boy" in For a Few Dollars More to the older figure in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot's relationship is the centerpiece for the entire movie. You see the two really start to like each other, especially Thunderbolt. The viewer can really see him start to get attached to Lightfoot. Lightfoot more or less says in the film that he's a drifter and doesn't really know anybody, but I get the feeling he could go anywhere and meet people because of his personality. Thunderbolt is a loner too, but he seems a little more reclusive. There's not much difference between the two men.

I'm not sure if there's any significance to it, but I noticed while watching the movie last night that the only time Thunderbolt ever seems to get really stern with Lightfoot is when Lightfoot shows his doubt about pulling off his end of the bank job. That scene was a little hard for me to watch.
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Matt
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2005, 05:08:37 PM »

I've always thought of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot as buddies, and never considered their relationship as a father/son one. So, it struck me as pretty funny when I read the novelization where Lightfoot called Thunderbolt "pops". But, when I think of it more... Thunderbolt is a father-figure to Lightfoot. He's wiser, mature, and more cynical, while Lightfoot is still so full-of-life, excited by everything, almost in a child-like way, and reckless. He seeks and respects Thunderbolt's advice, and in his paternal role, Thunderbolt also tries to protect Lightfoot.

I don't agree with Gallafent that their relationship is limited by a generational gap. I'd offer that the generational gap may have brought them closer. Lightfoot didn't have a father, Thunderbolt didn't have a family. I think they found in each other a lot more than most friends ever do.
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mgk
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2005, 06:00:07 PM »

Thanks to everyone for participating in this discussion. This topic is now closed, please post any additional thoughts in the General Discussion forum.
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The Schofield Kid
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2011, 05:53:15 AM »

This topic has been temporarily unlocked.  Feel free to post any additional thoughts or discussion here.
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The Schofield Kid
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2011, 06:50:33 PM »

As I mentioned in the Eastwood Performance thread I think Thunderbolt is playing the "Father"to Lightfoot's, "Son". Lightfoot said growing up his parents couldn't control him so they shipped him off to boarding school, so he probably hasn't had a father in his life for so long. He says at the beginning of the film that he just wants Thunderbolt's friendship.  He's probably always been a loner?
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The Schofield Kid
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2013, 06:56:29 PM »

Thanks, everyone! This thread is now locked.  Please post any additional thoughts you have on this topic in the General Discussion forum.
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