- 1 hr 49 min
"Frank" Murphy is a chopper cop for the LAPD as well as a Vietnam veteran suffering from PTSD. Frank gets paired with the rookie Richard Lymangood also known as "JAFO" for nightly patrols of Los Angeles, offering assistance to squad cars as needed. Murphy's expertise soon earns him the honor of piloting a highly advanced helicopter model, the Blue Thunder. This "Blue Thunder" is a military-grade stealth helicopter with its arsenal retrofitted for surveillance and crowd control, with such features as an infrared camera, parabolic microphone, and even a U-matic video cassette recorder. Some time after Murphy and JAFO have been working their nightly beat in Blue Thunder, the murder of a councilwoman grabs Murphy's attention strongly enough that he begins a covert operation. While investigating the murder, Murphy learns of a subversive organization, calling itself T.H.O.R., which plans on making use of Blue Thunder to assassinate "rebellious" politicians. Murphy believes that his nemesis, Colonel Cochrane, was Blue Thunder's main test pilot. This hunch is confirmed after Murphy uses Blue Thunder's surveillance equipment to record a meeting between Cochrane and several government big shots who plan on making use of Blue Thunder for breaking laws instead of enforcing them. Murphy rushes to get the tape to a broadcast station, especially after fearing for his life with JAFO's murder. Murphy manages to pass the tape of to his girlfriend, who sends it to a broadcast station. Murphy has an aerial showdown with Cochrane above the streets of downtown Los Angeles, with Cochrane piloting a Hughes 500 sporting a massive payload of equipment. Two F-16s become involved in the initial skirmish, with one being shot down by Cochrane. Murphy manages to shoot Cochrane down with a turbine-boosted circular loop and follows up his heroism by landing Blue Thunder in the path of an oncoming freight train. Murphy decides to destroy Blue Thunder so that no one, no matter how benign or wicked, will be able to make use of its capabilities ever again.