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"In the future, when a woman's crying like that, she isn't having any fun!"
A 1991 film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise became one of the most iconic films of the decade. Scott and the film's two leads received Academy Award nominations, while screenwriter and intended director Callie Khouri grabbed the Oscar for her screenplay.
Thelma, a naive housewife and her best friend, the independent waitress Louise, pile into Louise's Cool Car for a girl's weekend out. Things go downhill when Thelma is nearly raped by a stranger named Harlan, whom Louise subsequently shoots. They hit the road to Mexico rather than face almost certain prosecution; along the way, they are pursued by a sympathetic FBI agent named Slocumb. As the two experience freedom they never had before, the long arm of the law finally corners them at
the Grand Canyon a canyon that is totally not the Grand Canyon, because if it had been they would have had to pay to get there, because it's a National Park, and the rangers don't just let you drive up to the edges of cliffs like that. And...
This film features examples of:
- Action Girl: Both of them, although it takes some Character Development (particularly Thelma).
- Asshole Victim: Harlan, right to the very end.
Harlan: Bitch! I shoulda gone ahead and fucked her!
- Also, the trucker who follows and sexually harasses them on the highway. Their response? Blow up his entire truck.
- Attempted Rape
- Better to Die Than Be Killed
- Big No: Slocumb, when Thelma and Louise decided to drive off the Grand Canyon.
- Bolivian Army Ending: Though the general consensus on what happened is they both died. There's... pretty much no way of surviving plunging into the Grand Canyon.
- Lampshaded at the Academy Awards by Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, when Sarandon brings up the possibility of a sequel. Davis is outraged, stated that there was no way they could have survived - until Sarandon mentions how much money a sequel would earn them. Davis starts trying to justify their survival of the deadly crash.
- Cerebus Callback: Thelma and Louise take a polaroid photo of themselves at the start of their trip and stick it to the rear view mirror in the car. The photo flies off the mirror just as the car goes plunging into the Grand Canyon.
- Chick Flick: Albeit a rather violent one.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Thelma, at least in the movie. In reality, actress Geena Davis is a member of Mensa.
- Deadpan Snarker: Louise.
- Development Hell: The project's genesis was in 1979, with Ridley Scott joining as a producer in 1980 with Callie Khouri intending to direct it. At several points, a few big-name actresses were attached to or considered for the titular roles.
- Downer Ending
- Fade to White: The ending.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Thelma and Louise.
- Hero Antagonist: Slocumb.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Brad Pitt made his breakout role here as a robber named J.D.
- I Have a Family: What the cop says as they lock him in the trunk of his cruiser.
- Les Yay: They actually kiss at the end, but it's more in the context of I Love You, Man than any romantic attraction
- Lovely Angels
- Mexican Standoff: How the movie ends... until Thelma has another idea.
- Noodle Incident: Whatever happened to Louise in Texas, it must have been bad.
- One-Scene Wonder: To be more accurate, maybe three or four scenes. Either way, Brad Pitt's role in this movie is pretty well known.
- Police Are Useless
- Punch Clock Villain: Hey, the cop who pulls them over is just doing his job.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Thelma is Blue, Louise is Red (see Tomboy and Girly Girl below).
- Road Movie: A Gender Flipped version.
- Run for the Border: The ladies decide to go to Mexico.
- Shirtless Scene: The one that made Brad Pitt a legend.
- Slut Shaming: Thelma points out that people would deny Louise's claim of Attempted Rape due to Louise flirting, dancing, and drinking with the man. Sadly, in that speech still largely holds true in Real Life. There are still numerous cases where sexual abusers are given light-to-no punishment due to people thinking the victim either truly consented and is lying for whatever reason or even more horrifically that the victim deserved to be hurt in such a way.
- Shoot the Fuel Tank
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The alternate ending.
- Surprise Vehicle: A helicopter arises from the Grand Canyon.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Louise is the Tomboy, Thelma is the Girly Girl (at first, anyway).
- Took a Level In Badass: Thelma, after she had sex with Brad Pitt.
- Toxic Friend Influence: Louise to Thelma.