Thunder Road (1958): Dramatic Adventure, Produced by and Starring Robert Mitchum, Who Also Composed the Song

Though nominally directed by Arthur Ripley, Thunder Road is very much Robert Mitchum’s show–and a road show at that.  Made on a modest budget, the film was produced by Mitchum, who also cast his son Jim to play his character’s young brother.
The simple script, credited to Walter Wise and James Atlee Phillips, is based on an original story written by Mitchum, who also composed the song.
Mitchum stars as a Korean war hero who returns to his hometown in Tennessee and takes over his family’s bootleg moonshine business. In the process, he has to battle the mob and the federal agents.
Thunder Road is a dramatic action-adventure, with some good chase scenes, which, stylistically, employs some of the vocabulary of film noir.
There have not been many movies about moonshine bootleggers, and so fans of Mitchum should enjoy this film, in which the star dominates every scene he is in.
Her is a movie that gives justification to theorists and critics who claim that often the actor-star, not the director, is the auteur of his film.
Rating: PG
Running time: 92 Minutes
Released: May 10, 1958