Thelma & Louise is a 1991 film co-produced and directed by Ridley Scott and written by Callie Khouri, the film's plot revolves around Thelma and Louise's escape from their troubled and caged lives. It stars Geena Davis as Thelma and Susan Sarandon as Louise, and co-stars Harvey Keitel as a sympathetic detective trying to trace them as they go on the run after killing a rapist. Michael Madsen plays the role of Louise's boyfriend. Brad Pitt (in his first significant role in a major Hollywood film) plays a paroled robber. Thelma & Louise became an instant critical and commercial success, and receiving six Academy Award nominations, winning one for Best Original Screenplay (Khouri). Both Sarandon and Davis were nominated for their roles in the same category, Academy Award for Best Actress. However, the two lost the award to Jodie Foster for her role in The Silence of the Lambs.
Thelma Dickinson (Geena Davis) is a passive, goofy housewife, married to a controlling husband, Darryl (Christopher McDonald). Louise Sawyer (Susan Sarandon) is a single waitress who appears strong, organized and stern, with some unspecified trauma in her past. They head out in Louise's teal 1966 Thunderbird convertible for a two-day vacation of fishing in the mountains that nosedives into a nightmarish situation before they even reach their destination, but which sees them change from victims of circumstance into outlaw heroines of the road. At the Silver Bullet, a cowboy bar and dancehall that the women have stopped into for a drink, Thelma meets a man called Harlan Puckett (Timothy Carhart), with whom she dances. She gets drunk and the man attempts to rape her in the parking lot. Louise finds them and threatens to shoot Harlan if he doesn't stop, using a gun Thelma brought with her. Harlan stops but then defiantly tells Louise that they were "just having a little fun." When they begin to walk away, he yells profanity and insults at them. Louise loses her temper and shoots Harlan, killing him. Thelma wants to go to the police right away, but Louise is worried that because Thelma was drunk and had been dancing with Harlan, no one would believe he was trying to rape her. Louise tells Thelma to wait while she decides as she (Thelma) lies in bed. Afraid that the authorities will prosecute her, Louise decides to run away, and Thelma follows. Louise is determined to reach Mexico but is unwilling to do so via Texas, despite the fact that they are in Oklahoma and the fastest route to Mexico leads through Texas. It is revealed that something bad happened to Louise in Texas years earlier, though Louise refuses to say exactly what it was. They flee west and on the way they meet a handsome, charasmatic young man J.D. (Brad Pitt), whom Thelma immediately likes. She convinces Louise to let him hitch a ride with them. Louise, meanwhile, contacts her boyfriend Jimmy Lennox (Michael Madsen) and asks him to send her life savings via Western Union. When she goes to pick it up, she discovers that Jimmy has come to see her in person. They go to talk in his room, while Thelma guards the money. Thelma invites J.D. into her room; it turns out that he is a robber who has broken his parole. He and Thelma become intimate, and Thelma experiences a sexual awakening. During their time together, J.D. describes how he conducted his hold-ups. Meanwhile, Jimmy asks Louise to marry him, and she refuses, as well as refusing to tell him what is going on. They spend the night together, and he leaves after breakfast the following morning. After Jimmy leaves, Thelma arrives and tells Louise about her night with J.D. Suddenly, Louise asks where J.D. is and becomes alarmed when Thelma tells her that she left the money back in her room. They rush to Thelma's room to find both J.D. and the money gone. Louise is distraught, and a guilty Thelma decides to take the lead while Louise is frozen with fear. All this time the FBI has been tracking them, and after separately questioning both J.D. and Jimmy, begin putting the pieces together and are getting closer and closer to their trail. Detective Hal Slocumb (Harvey Keitel) discovers that Louise was actually sexually assaulted in Texas, thus fearful of a return, and he is therefore sympathetic to her predicament. During a couple of brief phone conversations, Slocumb becomes somewhat fond of Louise, yet can't convince her to come back in. View of the Colorado River and Dead Horse Point, the location of filming of the last scene Their actions continue to spiral out of control as the two of them make their way across the country, particularly with the ever-more-daring Thelma, who has shed her giggly, goofy personality for a determined, aggressive, hard-drinking one. While Louise waits in the car, Thelma, in an attempt to make up for some of the money J.D. had stolen, makes use of what he taught her to rob a convenience store, upping the level of their crimes. When a policeman (Jason Beghe) stops them for speeding, Thelma threatens the policeman with her gun, steals his gun, and locks him in the trunk of his cruiser. (In a later comic interlude, he is later released by a mountain-biking Rastafarian.) They encounter a truck driver who repeatedly makes obscene sexual gestures to them on the road. They pull over to demand an apology from him, but when he refuses, they fire their pistols on the truck's fuel tank, causing it to explode. Thelma and Louise are finally cornered by police near the Grand Canyon. Detective Slocumb arrives on the scene and protests that the law enforcement response is too heavy, and he is refused the chance to make one last attempt to bring the women in without incident. Rather than be captured and spend the rest of their lives in jail, Thelma proposes that they keep going, implying that they end their lives by driving over the cliff. Louise initially doesn't understand, and Thelma repeats herself. Louise smiles and asks Thelma if she is certain, and Thelma replies yes. Louise pulls Thelma to her and kisses her - implying consent - and then she stomps on the gas. Slocumb recognizes what is happening as soon as the car starts forward, and he sprints after the women on foot in a desperate effort to save them. The film ends with the car driving over the cliff. End credits begin over a montage of their happier moments together during the weekend.