I suppose I was fortunate enough to see The Moonshine War in that garden spot of the earth, Fort Polk, Louisiana when it first came out. With all the southern recruits around me, that audience certainly identified with. Would they only have known at the time what a liberal Alan Alda would turn out to be.
Alda is miles from Hawkeye Pierce in this film. He's a young moonshiner who's got some of the finest product around, comparatively speaking. And in those last days before America came to its senses and repealed Prohibition, he's got a short window of opportunity to get rid of his stash before legal liquor goes on the market again.
Trouble is that two people want his product real bad. One is gangster Richard Widmark, back again in those villainous roles that first brought him stardom. The second is treasury agent Patrick McGoohan, one of those despised revenuers that the hillbilly folk don't like.
McGoohan is no Eliot Ness, in fact he's more typical of the treasury agents from back in the day, crooks themselves trying to take advantage of an unpopular law. Yet even with gangsters gunning for Alda, the hill folk won't give McGoohan the right time of day.
The Moonshine War was an entertaining film, nothing special about it, but no disgrace to anyone involved. Except for the ending which was a classic of its kind. I can't say more, but if for no other reason see this film to see how Mr. Widmark and cronies are dealt with.
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