6.6/10
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11 user 1 critic

Thunderbolt (1947)

A WW2 documentary on the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter/bomber pilots in missions (Operation Strangle) from their base in Corsica to Northern Italy in 1944, destroying railroads, bridges, trains, vehicles and hard targets.

Directors:

John Sturges (as Capt John Sturges), William Wyler (as Lt Col William Wyler)

Writer:

Lester Koenig (as Master Sergeant Lester Koenig)
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Cast

Cast overview:
James Stewart ... James Stewart
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Storyline

A documentary series on the operations of the 57th Fighter Group in 1944. Stationed in Corsica, their missions largely consisted of low-level attacks on the Italian mainland, far behind the front-line. Their targets were German supplies and the infrastructure carrying it. This was part of Operation Strangle, the idea of which was to weaken the German front-line forces through depriving them of supplies, thus helping the Allied offensive through Italy. The 57th Fighter Group flew one of the greatest fighter-bombers of the war, the iconic Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. Written by grantss

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Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 July 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Colpo di fulmine See more »

Filming Locations:

Corsica, France See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed in 1944, not released until 1947. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Five Came Back: The Price of Victory (2017) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Ground Attack.
18 December 2015 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

It's a pretty brutal picture of the pilots of the P-47s that flew out of Corsica on ground attack missions to the Italian mainland. There are reasons why it shouldn't have been shown at home. American boys injured, crashing and dying; barns and auxiliary buildings blown up just in case they might be harboring something inimical to our interests. I don't know if it would have been stifled or not. John Huston had all sorts of problems with his "Battle of San Pietro" because it showed American dead being folded into mattress covers.

That it WAS, in fact, made during the war is reflected in the sometimes bitter commentary, suggesting that the Italians and Germans deserved everything they got. There are some "good Germans" on Corsica, followed by a shot of a dilapidated graveyard.

It's all color footage. We follow the young men around as they get out of bed and prepare themselves for another mission. The narration, by Lloyd Bridges, explains what's going on in a clipped, hypermasculine way. "Time for the briefing. Don't know what mission it is. Don't always care." The maps and associated graphics are simple enough for a child to understand.

The missions involved bombing, rocket launching, and strafing, and the P-47 appears to have been built for it. It was a huge, powerful, fast single-engine, single-seat fighter that could carry an enormous load of ordinance and could take a punishing amount of damage. It carried eight .50 caliber machine guns, and we see a good deal of strafing from the gun cameras. A line of spurts tracks a target and envelopes it in dust. A shot, not shown here, that I've seen only once, has a hapless French farmer on a cart galloping his horse down a country road. Cart, farmer, and horse disappear in the cloud. And what carries much of the impact is not the farmer being killed, because we've seen humans shot and killed so often we've been desensitized. It's the horse, the poor innocent horse.

There is another documentary about a pilot, Quentin Annenson, who flew P-47s in the European theater. Annenson narrates the film himself in his quiet Minnesota accent. It's longer, more personal, more detailed, and utterly gripping.


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