27 October 2013 5:06 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Hollywood stuntman and film director who scored huge successes with Smokey and the Bandit and The Cannonball Run

Upset by the critical response to his work, the stuntman turned film director Hal Needham, who has died aged 82, took out advertisements in Variety and other trade papers. They featured quotes from negative reviews for his movies including Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and The Cannonball Run (1981), alongside a wheelbarrow overflowing with dollar bills.

Needham made a point. His rumbustious 1977 directorial debut had grossed over $100m – an enormous return on its modest budget. He was still milking that particular creation some 20 years later, producing and directing a series of television movies, including Bandit Goes Country and Beauty and the Bandit.

These and other films, many of which starred Burt Reynolds, were seen by an audience of hundreds of millions worldwide, yet few reference books acknowledged his 45-year-long career — an unjustified omission, if only »

- Brian Baxter

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