Thelma & Louise (1991)

2h 10m / R / Adventure, Crime

Set against a gritty backdrop of the American Southwest, Thelma and Louise starts as a girls-weekend road trip between two best friends, but soon takes a dark turn.

Timid housewife Thelma (Geena Davis) and footloose Louise’s (Susan Sarandon) first stop is a few beers at a run-down roadhouse. Filled with liquid courage and flexing her brief freedom, Thelma flirts with a local barfly, only to find out he won’t take “no” for an answer. Thank goodness Louise is there to do what any best friend would do, given both the opportunity and the ammunition. Now the ladies are on the lam, making a series of questionable decisions (one of which involves a young, shirtless Brad Pitt) as they contemplate their next move, but also strengthening their bond of friendship and solidarity.

Starring two women known for their advocacy (both of whom were nominated for Best Actress Oscars that year), it’s no surprise that the film resonated deeply with audiences upon its release, sparking discussions about feminism, female empowerment, and the limitations imposed by gender roles. The portrayal of two strong-willed women breaking free from oppression struck a chord in the early 1990s, a time marked by increasing awareness of gender discrimination and calls for women’s rights. It won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and is still celebrated for its powerful performances, thought-provoking narrative, and enduring cultural impact.

Guests are invited to stick around after the screening for a post-show Film Talk and audience Q&A with Hector Sotomayor, professor of Film, Art, & Media at the Ringling College of Art & Design.

The Summer Classics Movie Series has been presented by Bank of America since 2015. Promotional support for the series is provided by WEDU PBS.