AFI Movie Club: THELMA & LOUISE
THELMA & LOUISE was named by AFI as one of the most heart-pounding cinematic thrills – as well as one of the art form’s most inspiring stories. AFI also recognized both Thelma and Louise as two of cinema’s greatest heroes.
Watch Jessica Alba announce the film:
Movie Trivia About THELMA & LOUISE
DID YOU KNOW? Geena Davis says she signed on to star in the movie, prepared to play either role. At the time, Susan Sarandon had not yet been cast as Louise.
DID YOU KNOW? Ridley Scott says that he originally planned only to produce the film and not direct. He was convinced to take the helm by Michelle Pfeiffer, who suggested he come to his senses and direct it himself.
DID YOU KNOW? Before Brad Pitt was able to beat out a number of actors, including George Clooney, for the part of J.D., William Baldwin was set to play the part but had to move on to his next project due to delays in filming.
DID YOU KNOW? Although Thelma and Louise’s road trip is from Arkansas to the Grand Canyon, filming took place entirely on location in Southern California, Colorado and Utah. Utah’s Dead Horse Point State Park took the place of the Grand Canyon.
DID YOU KNOW? The production utilized five 1966 Ford Thunderbirds, including a principal and back-up car, a camera car with sections cut out for equipment and two stunt vehicles.
DID YOU KNOW? The ending sequence of THELMA & LOUISE included the last filmed shots of the production.
DID YOU KNOW? Callie Khouri’s Academy Award®-winning script of THELMA & LOUISE was her feature film screenwriting debut.
DID YOU KNOW? Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon both earned Academy Award® nominations for Best Actress for THELMA & LOUISE. They lost to Jodie Foster, whom at one point was attached to star in THELMA & LOUISE – but left the project to play Clarice Starling in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, the performance that earned her the Oscar®.
Learn more at the AFI Catalog.
-At the time of release, THELMA & LOUISE was considered controversial. Why do you think that was the case?
-Why do you think the movie means so much, especially to women and sexual assault survivors?
-Did the film end up being a cinematic and cultural milestone? Why or why not?
-How do Thelma and Louise challenge and reject traditional roles for women? Are they rewarded or punished for bucking stereotypical gender norms?
-Screenwriter Callie Khouri has called the film an outlaw movie for women and has said that Thelma and Louise “are not in control, but rather out of the control of others.” What do you think she meant by this? How does society typically treat women who challenge the status quo?
-How does the film portray law enforcement? Why do you think Thelma and Louise don’t have trust in the system and are unconvinced they will believed when it comes to Thelma being a survivor of attempted rape?
-What is Thelma and Louise’s justification for running from the law at the beginning of the film? Do you agree with them?
-How does Harvey Keitel’s character provide nuance and serve as a non-stereotypical depiction of police?
-Why does Louise not want to go through Texas to get to Mexico?
-At what points do Thelma and Louise change as people? How does the dynamic of their friendship evolve throughout the movie? How are they comically different but still retain such a strong bond?
-How does the film depict the “female gaze” as opposed to the male gaze, which is typically the default in Hollywood cinema? Why was this revolutionary for the time?
-What did you think of the cinematography in the film and how did the filmmakers use the beauty of the American Southwest to full effect?
-Why does the ending of THELMA & LOUISE continue to resonate with people still today?
-Do you consider the ending tragic or triumphant? How is the finale an example of a non-stereotypical ending?
-How would you rate THELMA & LOUISE?
Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis talk about working on the film in this exclusive clip from the AFI Archive:
New to AFI Movie Club? Want to learn more?
AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.
Learn more in our FAQ section.