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Smokey and the Bandit

Smokey and the Bandit – 1977
What we have here is a total lack of respect for the law!
Hal Needham

Hal Needham -story
Robert L. Levy – story
James Lee Barrett
Charles Shyer
Alan Mandel

Mort Engelberg producer
Robert L. Levy executive producer

Burt Reynolds – ‘Bandit’/Bo Darville
Sally Field – Carrie/’Frog’
Jerry Reed – Cledus Snow/’Snowman’
Mike Henry – Junior Justice
Paul Williams – Little Enos Burdette
Pat McCormick – Big Enos Burdette
Jackie Gleason – Sheriff Buford T. Justice
George Reynolds – Sheriff George Branford
Macon McCalman – Mr. B, Tanker Truck Driver
Linda McClure – Waynette Snow
Susan McIver – Hot Pants Hilliard
Laura Lizer Sommers – Little Beaver, Lady Truck Driver (as Laura Lizer)
Michael Mann – Branford’s Deputy
Lamar Jackson – Sugar Bear, Mechanic
Ronnie Gay – Georgia State Trooper
Quinnon Sheffield – Alabama State Trooper
Warde Q. Butler – Sheriff (uncredited)
Curtis Credel – Country (uncredited)
David Donovan – Teen Car Thief (uncredited)
Michael Goodrow – Kid Driving Hot Rod (uncredited)
Ingeborg Kjeldsen – Foxy Lady (uncredited)
Fred Lerner – Member of M.C. Gang (uncredited)
Mel Pape – Nude ‘Smokey’ (uncredited)
John Schneider – Teen in Coors Beer T-Shirt (uncredited)
Sonny Shroyer – Motorcycle Cop (uncredited)
Paul Sorenson – DOT Inspector (uncredited)
Alfie Wise – Patrolman at Traffic Jam (uncredited)
Hank Worden – Trucker (uncredited)

Review by John Rouse Merriott Chard

Pedal to the metal in this ripper of a good time.
Smokey and the Bandit is directed by Hal Needham and the screenplay is collectively written by James Lee Barrett, Charles Shyer and Alan Mandel; from a story by Needham and Robert L. Levy. It stars Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed and Mike Henry. Music is by Bill Justis and Jerry Reed and cinematography by Bobby Byrne.

He does what he does best-shows off.

Bo “Bandit” Darville (Reynolds) accepts a, illegal job/bet offer of delivering a truck load of Coors Beer from Texas across the states to Georgia. The job must be completed within 28 hours or he will not pick up the $80,000 payment for his services. Enlisting his buddy Snowman (Reed) to drive the truck, while he acts as a decoy in his Pontiac Trans Am, the Bandit must avoid capture by the Smokey (police). When he stops to pick up runaway bride Carrie (Fields), this makes him the target for one particularly vindictive laws enforcer, Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Gleason), whose son Junior Justice (Henry) is the jilted intended of Carrie.

You sumbitches couldn’t close an umbrella!

The best of the “CB Radio” movies, Smokey and the Bandit makes up for what little it has in plot, with unadulterated fun via car pursuits, stunts and wonderfully colourful characters. Essentially one long chase movie, it was a massive box office success on it release, becoming the second biggest earner in 77 behind a certain Space Opera from George Lucas. Cashing in on Burt Reynolds popularity, and the new found interest in CB radio on the highways, film went on to influence similar films and TV shows further down the line. The memory of the poor sequels and the inferior similar films of its type has somewhat led to many people forgetting just what an entertaining movie it is.

There is no way, no way, that you could come from my loins. Soon as I get home, first thing I’m gonna do is punch your momma in the mouth.

Hal Needham uses his knowledge as an ex-stuntman to great effect, setting up a number of inspired sequences that sees cars jumping, crashing or going for a swim! Wisely letting his actors ad-lib where possible, film has a natural flow that’s hard to dislike. The chemistry between Reynolds and Fields is warming, due to the fact that it was off screen real, while Gleason steals the movie with a hilarious portray as the manic, cussing and determined Buford. The bumpkin based music is perfectly in keeping with the mood, and the various locations used make for an appealing backdrop to the carnage and speedster thrills.

Not quite as Punk Rock anti-establishment now as it seemed back then, but still utterly delightful courtesy of a damn fine cast and some special motor vehicle mayhem. 8.5/10

Review by Jack Gattana

Smokey and the Bandit – 1977

Keep on truckin’- one of the best Reynolds films,
This film is a classic in chase/comedy flicks, with comedy coming in great doses, thanks to star Burt Reynolds (he gives his best line in the beginning with his laugh later ripped off by Dennis Miller) and co-stars Jackie Gleason and Sally Field. Great fun, in a film about a sheriff who won’t stop chasing after a tricky and funny bandit. A+

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70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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