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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot [Blu-ray]


(Michael Cimino, 1974)


Second Sight (UK) coming out with their Blu-ray in June 2014:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: United Artists

Video: Twilight Time / Kino Lorber



Region: FREE / 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:54:54.929 / 1:55:00.518

Disc Size: 31,576,729,353 bytes / 40,617,657,964 bytes

Feature Size: 30,121,512,960 bytes / 32,900,253,696 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps / 34.43 Mbps

Chapters: 12 / 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case (both)

Release date: February, 2014 / November 12th, 2019


Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1070 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1070 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1649 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1649 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit / DN -10dB


DTS-HD Master Audio English 1555 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1555 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps


Subtitles (both):

English (SDH), None



Commentary by Lem Dobbs, Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman

Theatrical Trailer (1:58) / MGM 90th Anniversary Trailer

Isolated Score track


• Audio Commentary by Film Critic Nick Pinkerton
For the Love of Characters - Featurette with Michael Cimino (28:42 in English audio - 2014 - Allerton Films)
Radio Spot (0:56)
TV Spots (1:33)
Theatrical Trailer (2:10)




1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



Description: Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) marked the directing debut of screenwriter Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter, Heaven’s Gate), working under the meticulous guidance of star/producer Clint Eastwood. Eastwood plays a typically laconic loner, a big-time thief in hiding who hooks up with a goofy young drifter (Jeff Bridges, giving an Oscar®-nominated performance). First attempting to escape from a couple of vengeful former partners (George Kennedy, Geoffrey Lewis), then joining forces with them to pull off a risky robbery, Eastwood and Bridges give us an ultimately touching portrait of masculine friendship. Superbly photographed in Montana’s Big Sky country by Frank Stanley, and featuring a score by Eastwood regular Dee Barton.



The Film:

As much an eccentric character study as a road movie, Michael Cimino's directorial debut follows the adventures of a quartet of misfits in their life of crime. Retired thief Thunderbolt (Clint Eastwood) and sweet drifter Lightfoot (Jeff Bridges) meet cute when Thunderbolt jumps into Lightfoot's stolen car to escape a gunman. The pair embarks on an oddball journey to get Thunderbolt's loot from an old robbery before his former associates, the sadistic Red (George Kennedy) and cretinous Goody (Geoffrey Lewis), get to it first, but all four are too late; the one-room schoolhouse hiding place has apparently vanished. So instead, the four play house and work legit jobs while they plot to rob the same place Thunderbolt and Red hit before. Although the plan goes awry, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot discover that they may still have succeeded-or so they think. As the easy-going mediator between the two, Eastwood's Thunderbolt was a move away from his tough cop-westerner image; his audience accepted this then-atypical performance enough to turn Thunderbolt and Lightfoot into a moderate hit. Bridges received his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, but Cimino turned down a subsequent deal with Eastwood, moving instead to his artistic peak with The Deer Hunter (1978) and career nadir with Heaven’s Gate (1980.)

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Michael Cimino's enigmatic Thunderbolt and Lightfoot comes to Blu-ray from our friends at Twilight Time. The almost 2-hour film is put to dual-layered disc, with a high bitrate, and it looks quite acceptable - a shade green - probably more the condition of a source used. Contrast is, likewise, adept and the visuals seem fairly tight. Aside from the wobbling opening credits (settles down shortly after) I had no complaints. There is pleasing grain and even some depth exported. Not much damage or speckles are visible. I suspect this is a 'straight' transfer with no manipulation. The Blu-ray provides a pleasing 1080P presentation with no major flaws.


The Kino Blu-ray is cited as being from a "Brand New 4K Master!" and it looks remarkably different than the Twilight Time 1080P. It may even be a different source as they are framing anomalies between the two. The Kino is also on a dual-layered disc but has a max'ed-out bitrate but that alone would not explain the disparity. I prefer the Kino palette and, mostly warmer, flesh tones (orangey on the Twilight Time) - both appearing far more realistic to me. We have compared a number of them below so you too can judge and decide a preference.   




1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray  TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



More Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Captures









Audio :

The DTS-HD mono track at 1070 kbps sounds clean with a few more impressive moments in pushing the film's modest depth through. Dee Barton, the jazz trombonist, big band drummer, (who also composed on a couple of other Clint Eastwood films; High Plains Drifter and Play Misty For Me) did the score which, musically, is eclipsed by the the song Where Do I Go from Here sung, and composed, by Paul Williams playing at the beginning and end of the film. Twilight Time offer an isolated score in a clean lossless track. There are optional English subtitles (sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.


Twilight Time reign here with a 24-bit audio transfer to Kino's 16-bit (also lossless.) Kino's slightly more robust DTS-HD Master transfer sounds quite pleasing though and only discerning ears might notice. It also offers optional English subtitles on the Region 'A'-locked Blu-ray.   


Extras :

Aside from the theatrical trailer and isolated film score track - we get a new commentary by screenwriter Lem Dobbs and film historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman. A lot of questions become resolved in listening to the trio explore some deeper concepts including the many, seemingly superficial, characters that interact with the protagonists. Excellent and certainly bolsters the appreciation of the film - and story.


There is a new audio commentary by Film Critic Nick Pinkerton who always fills the feature running time with interesting details. He is bit robotic this time - as if simply reading prepared text - but he digs deep and his comments are well worth the listen. Kino also add a 1/2 hour Allerton Films piece "For the Love of Characters" an audio conversation with Michael Cimino from 2014 (the director died in 2016.) There are Radio and TV Spots plus a theatrical trailer.


Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray


Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


An odd but entertaining film.  There are disjointed moments in both characters and plot actions - as if huge swaths of the story were left out (perhaps they were!). I did sense moving to some redeeming process, but, on the surface, it had more of a buddy-road-movie feel than anything deep. This is where the commentary comes in. I'm not saying I didn't like it - I certainly did - and accepted the swings expecting to become informed as the film rolled along. The commentary helped a lot. The Twilight Time Blu-ray has some definite value - both in exploration of Cimino as a director/auteur and because of the informative commentary.


I warm more to Thunderbolt and Lightfoot each time I see it. There is a randomness to it that is somehow 'freeing'. Both leads are always great and I am both surprised and glad at Kino's improved 4K-restored Blu-ray image and new extras. We absolutely endorse - great job Kino!   

Gary Tooze

February 25th, 2014

November 11th, 2019


Second Sight (UK) coming out with their Blu-ray in June 2014:



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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