Film / Rolling Thunder

Major Charles Rane Is Coming Home To War!

A 1970s action thriller directed by John Flynn, cowritten by Paul Schrader, and starring William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones.

It's the story of returning Vietnam War veteran Major Charles Rane (Devane), who has spent the last seven years in a POW camp. He comes home to find his wife has moved on and his son doesn't remember him. His home town is determined to give him a homecoming and presents him with a number of gifts including silver dollars, one for each of his days in captivity. A group of rednecks attempt to steal his money and then murder his wife and son. Major Rane vows revenge...

This movie contains examples of:

  • Big Bad: "The Texan," leader of the gang that killed Rane's family.
  • Cool Shades: Both Rane and Vohden wear some pretty awesome Ray-Ban aviators during their killing spree.
  • Fan Disservice: The climax takes place in a brothel with several naked women... while the men there (the rednecks) are getting slaughtered left and right by Rane and Johnny.
  • Firing One-Handed: A necessity for Rane, because he only has one hand.
  • Handicapped Badass: Rane gets his hand shredded on a trash disposal by the rednecks when they steal the silver dollars. He uses a hook hand (which he sharpens to a table-and-head penetrating point) for the rest of the film, and loses very little capacity to kick ass because of this.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Rane's family is killed by some thieving hooligans. Rane doesn't takes it lying down.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Major Charles Rane and his buddy Sergeant Johnny Vohden. Most of the film's first act showcases that Rane is not really all right in the head, including such things as getting angry to his wife for "not driving fast enough" (she was speeding at his request and nearly crashed her car), sleeping on the ground in a corner of his garage and re-enacting the torture methods he suffered to "keep his head clear".
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Rane and Johnny use shotguns in the final shootout.
  • The Stoic: Rane. He's so shell-shocked that his hand getting shredded makes him have flashbacks to his torture as a POV, but absolutely no external response (like screaming).
  • The Vietnam Vet: Both Rane and Vohden. The war wasn't nice to them both, and the rednecks show disrespect to him from the very first second they appear on Rane's homecoming.
  • Tranquil Fury: Rane doesn't really does much in the way of acting angry throughout the whole film... his brutality does all of the talking for him.