Forgotten R-Rated Movie That "Blew" Tarantino's Mind is Free to Watch Now

Forgotten R-Rated Movie That
Image credit: Legion-Media

When you see it, you'll know exactly how it inspired his work.


  • Quentin Tarantino is an authority on movies.
  • This little-known film is one of his favourites of all time.
  • It's available to stream for free or with some subscriptions.

Quentin Tarantino is a man who loves cinema. It's not just his job, it's his passion – and moviemaking is part of his DNA.

When you think of his own work, graphic violence is something that comes to mind. But no one could accuse Tarantino of making one-dimensional movies that are all about violence. His movies are also character-driven. So it should come as no surprise that he describes one of his favourite films as 'the best combination of character study and action film ever made.'

But you might be surprised to learn which movie he's talking about.

The movie received mixed reviews but scores 86% on Rotten Tomatoes

In 2012, Quentin Tarantino named Rolling Thunder as one of his favourite films of all time in a Sight and Sound poll.

The film was released in 1977 and received a mixed reception, with some praising its atmosphere, script, and quality acting, and others criticising its violent ending and pacing.

Are you beginning to see why Tarantino loved it and how it may have influenced his work?

What's it about?

Rolling Thunder is a classic revenge flick. Set in 1973, it follows U.S. Air Force Major Charles Rane as he returns home to San Antonio from Vietnam. Rane has spent the last seven years in a POW camp and returns to find that his son Mark doesn't remember him and his wife has found someone else. He reluctantly accepts that his life has changed, but sets out to rekindle a father-son relationship with his boy.

Forgotten R-Rated Movie That

As part of his homecoming celebration, he's presented with 2,555 silver dollars. This is $1 for every day he was a POW, plus one for good luck. It's this offering that turns his life upside down once again.

One day, Rane goes home to find a welcoming committee of four outlaws. They've heard about the silver dollars he's been awarded and have come to take the loot. This includes torturing Rane, causing him to suffer flashbacks of his time in Hanoi.

Eventually, his wife and son show up, are taken hostage, and are eventually killed by the group. Rane, now with a withered hand as a result of torture at the hands of the perpetrators, survives the attempt on his life and vows revenge.

Forgotten R-Rated Movie That

It 'blew' Tarantino's mind

In his publication Cinema Speculation, the creator of Pulp Fiction said: 'When I first saw 'Rolling Thunder'… it blew my mind!' In fact, he loved it so much that before it was released on Vestron Home Video, he 'followed it all over Los Angeles, whenever and wherever it played' for ten years.

Now, that's an endorsement.

Of course, many of the movies that Quentin Tarantino has recommended over the years are classics that we all know and love. But this gem has largely flown under the radar. But if you want to see for yourself why the legendary filmmaker thinks so highly of it, you can stream it for free.

Where can I watch it?

Rolling Thunder can be streamed for free with a US VPN on Tubi and Pluto. You can also watch it with a subscription to Apple TV+ or Prime. Alternatively, you can buy or rent it on Vudu and Google Play.

If you value Quentin Tarantino's opinion when it comes to movies (and if you don't, you're wrong), it's well worth checking out.

Source: IMDb.