Cast & Crew
Thelma and Louise are accidental outlaws on a desperate flight across the Southwest after a tragic incident at a roadside bar. With a determined detective on their trail, a sweet-talking hitchhiker in their path and a string of crimes in their wake, their journey alternates between hilarious, high-speed thrill ride and empowering personal odyssey even as the law closes in.
Rob Roy Fitzgerald
Kristel L Rose
Marco St John
Anne H. Ahrens
Leslie Anne Anderson
J Tom Archuleta
Gregory J Barnett
Richard J Bayard
Larry D Campbell
Michael A Carter
Gary A. Clark
John Anthony Connell
James M. Cox
Thomas P Cox
K C Douglas
Mimi Polk Gitlin
Diane Kay Grant
Jeffrey J. Haboush
Paul Arthur Hartman
Graham V Hartstone
Buddy Joe Hooker
Todd K Jensen
Alan S Kaye
James M Kelly
B. B. King
J. Steven Matzinger
John C. Meier
Timothy J Moran
Mark Miller Mundy
Stephen Patrick Norman
Janet L Powell
Richard Raymond Powell
Kevin S Quibell
James T Randol
Mary Margaret Robinson
William Robinson Jr.
Erich O Rose
Michael C Ryan
Brian Scott Senechal
Gerald L Sidwell
Best Original Screenplay
Thelma & Louise
And do they ever propel! There's no sign of a soapbox here. It's all gearbox as you're swept up in the exhilaration of their flight from small-town Arkansas drudgery in Louise's sea-green vintage T-Bird. They floor it after thumbing their noses at Thelma's stifling fathead salesman and Louise's country'n'western Peter Pan. Even when initial larkiness gives way to something darker and more desperate after an ugly attempted rape and an act of violence that follows it, the film still sweeps you along. Like the best road movies, Thelma & Louise is drunk on recklessness, intent on seeing the open road as an escape hatch, even though it may end up being just another noose.
As they run the gamut of American male loserdom en route - from the vicious would-be rapist to a caricatured clown of a chauvinist truck driver, with several easier-to-take if hardly more admirable types in between, including a slick hustler played by Brad Pitt on the verge of his career breakout -- the film never simply sets up their adversaries to be offed, as most male excursions in this genre do. The women react humanly and in some cases humanely, as in Sarandon's touching scene when she kisses off Michael Madsen's nice guy lightweight. Or in a scene when, cornered and armed, they display a change of heart and decide not to shoot a state trooper pursuing them when he tells them he has a wife and children. "You be sweet to them," says Thelma in the film's most quoted line. "My husband wasn't sweet to me, and look how I turned out!"
By then, they're in deep trouble. Thelma & Louise abounds in ironies. The big one is that as both women's spirits expand, their range of possibilities cruelly shrinks. Another is that they have liberation thrust upon them by a would-be rapist who attacks Thelma in a parking lot. After he's gunned down, the film takes the plunge into no-looking-back territory. No less than Faye Dunaway's Bonnie in Bonnie and Clyde (1967) or Glenn Close's uncontrollable career women in Fatal Attraction (1987), it's a seizure of power by a strong woman who isn't afraid to pull the trigger. In doing so, these two women also boldly grab what had pretty much been a hitherto exclusively male prerogative - the right to hit the road and get in touch with themselves. And, secondarily, subvert male monopoly.
Just when Sarandon's Louise, the earth mother of the two, finds her spirits flagging after Pitt's slickster robs them, Davis's hitherto dependent Thelma acquires newfound nerve. Suddenly you feel rangy Thelma testing her wings, and delighted to find they work. Later, when the possibility of surrender is raised, you believe her when she says she can't go back, that somewhere she crossed a line. And you note the proud tilt Sarandon brings to Louise's chin to realize that Louise won't clip their wings, either. You feel that both have crashed through a male-dominated society's roadblocks - literal and figurative - in an ending that amounts to a moral victory if not quite a triumph.
It was shrewd of screenwriter Callie Khouri to make Harvey Keitel's pursuing cop the nicest guy in Thelma & Louise, seen chasing them, occasionally speaking to them by phone, and leading the army of men closing in on them. The women, who embark on desperate remedies in the aftermath of a rape attempt because they're convinced nobody will believe they've been attacked (not hailing from a milieu that would have immediately realized a reasonably competent defense attorney could have got them off), can, inevitably, run only so far. But not before they become whole in a landscape that - temporarily at least - gives them some spiritual elbow room. The film's big, bold panoramic images mythify with enduring potency the themes it taps.
Thelma & Louise is Hollywood doing what it does best - vividly connecting with simmering issues waiting to erupt as works of pop culture, giving them shape and form, then shoving them into a national arena starved for vigorous - as opposed to merely strident - discourse. More than reinventing and repopulating Easy Rider (1969), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), or The Sugarland Express (1974), the big pop myth that isThelma & Louise does more than just reverse a lot of the power plays in which male-dominated Hollywood has been trafficking for years. It's a depth charge, exploding at some subterranean level, providing an exit point for huge masses of disequilibrium needing redress. And its visuals reinforce its theme of expanding spirits through sheer scale and spaciousness.
Thelma & Louise giddily inhales the open spaces of the American West as perhaps only an outsider can - director Ridley Scott is British. Not since the wonderstruck cameras of Wim Wenders and Percy Adlon wandered America's Southwestern desert in Paris, Texas (1984) and Bagdad Café (1987), respectively, has the West (well, Bakersfield, California, where most of the filming took place) been served up in the last decades of the 20th century in so visually supercharged a manner. Although Khouri won the film's only Oscar® (for Best Original Screenplay), Scott earned his directing nomination, while Sarandon and Davis presumably canceled one another out when both were nominated as Best Actress. (Also nominated: Adrian Biddle, for Best Cinematography.)
The movie isn't perfect. There are times, you note with irritation, when Scott hasn't entirely got away from his advertising background. Davis's sex scene is merely slick (although Pitt contributes wit), and Scott has a way of backlighting his heroines in the manner of a shampoo ad. But who had any idea that Scott - whose reputation rests mainly on his visuals, and who has since retreated to a string of boldly-contoured but thematically safe action movies - could get this far with a character-based film in a classical American mold? Even though the stacking of the odds against the women is pretty blatantly manipulative, and the men are pretty simplistically drawn, you'd have to be dead inside not to respond to the friendship forged by these two women. They surprise us as much as they convince us they surprise each other as the ante keeps getting raised. You don't have to be a woman to love Thelma & Louise.
Producer: Mimi Polk, Ridley Scott
Director: Ridley Scott
Screenplay: Callie Khouri
Cinematography: Adrian Biddle
Art Direction: Lisa Dean
Music: Hans Zimmer
Film Editing: Thom Noble
Cast: Susan Sarandon (Louise Sawyer), Geena Davis (Thelma), Harvey Keitel (Hal), Michael Madsen (Jimmy), Christopher McDonald (Darryl), Stephen Tobolowsky (Max), Brad Pitt (J.D.), Timothy Carhart (Harlan), Lucinda Jenney (Lena, the Waitress), Jason Beghe (State Trooper)
C-130m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning. Descriptive Video.
by Jay Carr
Thelma & Louise
Nominated for a 1992 French Cesar award for Best Foreign Film.
Susan Sarandon was named runner-up for best actress of 1991 by the National Society of Film Critics.
Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis tied for the Best Actress of 1991 citation from the National Board of Review.
Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis tied for 1st runner-up in the New York Film Critics Circle's voting for Best Actress of 1991. Callie Khouri was also named 1st runner-up in the category of Best Screenplay.
Ridley Scott was nominated for the Directors Guild of America's 1991 Outstanding Directorial Achievement Award.
Harvey Keitel was named best supporting actor of 1991 by the National Society of Film Critics for his performances in "Thelma & Louise" (USA/91), "Bugsy" (USA/91) and "Mortal Thoughts" (USA/91).
Geena Davis was named first runner-up for best actress of 1991 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Geena Davis was named best actress of 1991 by the Boston Society of Film Critics.
Released in United States Summer May 24, 1991
Released in United States on Video January 8, 1992
Released in United States July 1991
Released in United States August 1991
Released in United States October 1991
Shown at International Taormina Film Festival July 21-28, 1991.
Shown at Norwegian Film Festival in Haugesund August 18-24, 1991.
Shown at Valladolid Film Festival October 18-26, 1991.
Callie Khouri received a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Began shooting June 11, 1990.
Completed shooting August 31, 1990.
In addition to letterbox and pan-and-scan formats, "Thelma & Louise" will be made available in Beta, 8mm and in a Spanish-subtitled VHS version.
Expanded release in Australia September 5, 1991.
Released in United States Summer May 24, 1991
Released in United States on Video January 8, 1992 (in both letterbox and pan-and-scan formats)
Released in United States July 1991 (Shown at International Taormina Film Festival July 21-28, 1991.)
Released in United States August 1991 (Shown at Norwegian Film Festival in Haugesund August 18-24, 1991.)
Released in United States October 1991 (Shown at Valladolid Film Festival October 18-26, 1991.)