-- Frank Murphy (as played by Roy Scheider)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So sue me.
I guess in some small measure I was moderately vindicated when I could tell them that even the Academy Of Science Fiction, Fantasy, And Horror Films inevitably nominated the picture in the category of -- you guessed it -- 'Best Science Fiction Film.' (So there, haters.) It didn't win, of course (hats off to Return Of The Jedi, a somewhat lukewarm conclusion to the Original Star Wars Trilogy), but I'd still insist today -- as I did back then -- that Blue Thunder deserved to be in that category along with every other contender.
IMDB.com shows the script attributed to the minds of Dan O'Bannon, Dan Jakoby, and Dean Riesner. As stated above, the vastly underrated Badham directed, and the cast included Roy Scheider, Daniel Stern, Warren Oates, Malcolm McDowell, and Candy Clark. For what it's worth, I've always thought McDowell was a bit of a miscast: in the role of the veteran pilot with an axe to grind against Scheider's character, he came across a bit too comic-bookish for me, never mustering the level of menace I think the script intended. But -- as they say -- to each his own.
Here's the plot summary as provided by the good people at IMDB.com:
"The cop test pilot for an experimental police helicopter learns the sinister implications of the new vehicle."
One of the single greatest contributions the flick made to my life -- snicker snicker -- was the introduction of the word 'JAFO' into my personal lexicon. (Yes, yes, yes: in fairness, I did use it quite a bit back in the day, but it's fallen out of style over the years.) I won't spoil it's meaning for those us who who don't know it, but I will encourage you to seek out the film -- or spend some time Googling it -- and maybe -- just maybe -- you'll find yourself using the word in casual dialogue throughout your work day or beyond. It has great -- ahem -- meaning, when you use it with the proper context.
Lastly, as Hollywood does from time-to-time, Blue Thunder was the recipient of the television spin-off, largely owed to its popularity at the box office. None of the original cast were attached to the show (thank God!), and -- if I'm being perfectly frank -- the whole thematic idea of the flick in and of itself kinda/sorta defies it being turned in to a weekly procedural, so thankfully we were all spared from the thing lasting more than a single season. IMDB.com indicates it was on the air a slim eleven episodes ... and they weren't all that great, as I recall.
As always, thanks for reading ... and live long and prosper!