A revisionist buddy movie/chase movie/road movie/gangster movie/crime drama, Thelma & Louise breathed new life into old genres while vividly reimagining them. Swapping grizzled anti-heroes for smart, sexy anti-heroines (leading one critic to dub the film Bitch Cassidy and the Sundress Kid), it was seen as both a stirring odyssey and a polarizing feminist tract. Following its heroines across the male frontier of the American heartland, the film communicated a message of strength through sisterly solidarity, beginning with Louise's rescue of Thelma from a would-be rapist and ending with an ambivalently triumphant climax. Unsurprisingly, audiences and critics found this message more than a little provocative, and Thelma and Louise became one more battleground for the continuing conflict between feminists and their opponents. Political ramifications aside, Thelma & Louise stands out as a terrific piece of genre filmmaking; its blend of breathless liberation and ominous foreshadowing make it one of the most successfully realized films of its kind ever made, an enduring tribute to friendship and the open road.