IMDb > Walking Tall (1973) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
Walking Tall
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guide
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Reviews & Ratings for
Walking Tall More at IMDbPro »

Write review
Filter: Hide Spoilers:
Page 2 of 5:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [Next]
Index 43 reviews in total 

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Very interesting film, couldn't step away

Author: Stefan from Toronto, Canada
21 February 2006

I caught this film in 2006 on the action channel while surfing for something quick to watch for 30 min. I was still there at the end and I had no idea this was supposed to be based on a true story until the credits rolled. It's especially interesting to read some of the reviews here and learn of the fate of the actors and actresses and Mr. Bufford himself outside of the film.

Wow, 33 years ago. I was about 6 when this was made and I'm sure my parents drove a dodge like that ... I can still feel the heat from the vinyl seats burning my legs in the middle of summer.

As for the mystery boom-mike that several folks mention, maybe I was too into the story and in awe of life in the southern US, but I never saw it once! Definitely worth a viewing. As one reviewer said, it may be a good one to watch when you've given up on finding any body left 'walking tall' around you. I saw the remake with 'the rock' before this version. Not even close. The rock's version is your typical Hollywood action flick. This one felt pretty real for '73 and it does get your blood boiling. Granted, some scenes seem pretty far fetched, but the key focus on corruption is there through-out. Maybe we need someone to make an up to date film featuring behind the scenes at Enron.

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I thought it was a great movie(s)....

Author: tmh_hornsby from United States
22 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I recently purchased the box set of the "Walking Tall" trilogy as I had forgotten about this movie until the remake starring "The Rock" came out in 2004. I sat down and watched them all back to back. I was rather disappointed that Joe Don Baker didn't play the part of Buford Pusser in all three. I'm not taking anything from Bo Svenson but to me he just didn't look the part. If they were not going to use JDB in all of them, then they should have gotten BS to play the lead in the first. I felt that for the time line, the movie, albeit low budgeted, was pretty decent. I am from the south and my father was in law enforcement for 30 years and I can relate to the stories of "running shine" and the like. There are so many clips that were shown that I, on a personal level, could relate to. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole trilogy and yes, I did shed a few tears when Pauline died and a whole lot when Buford died. I give the whole thing a "thumbs-up" and hope that one day there can be a true remake of the whole trilogy with a wonderful supporting cast that can be in all three movies!

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Bigger Than Life

Author: Charles Eagle ( from Dayton, Ohio
16 October 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILER ALERT! One terrific action flick, one of the top 4 of the early 70s, along with "Billy Jack" "Dirty Harry" and "Death Wish." The action scenes are among the best and most explicitly violent ever filmed, especially the bar fights. The ambush, the moments following it with horrified cops and ambulance people arriving at the bloody scene, and the events at the hospital afterwards are emotionally harrowing and almost operatic. Look for highly underrated character actor Ken Tobey in one of his most memorable performances as a vicious redneck. Don't bother with the butchered version likely to be caught on late-night television---this one needs to be seen in all its R-rated politically-incorrect glory. I have an excellent video transfer distributed by Rhino Video.

Was the above review useful to you?

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

WALKING TALL (Phil Karlson, 1973) **1/2

Author: MARIO GAUCI ( from Naxxar, Malta
4 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This extremely violent but crowd-pleasing police drama inspired by real events has become something of a Grindhouse classic; it was certainly successful and popular enough to produce two sequels, a TV series and a couple of remakes over the years! Incidentally, the screenwriter/director/star team behind it would themselves collaborate once again on the similarly-themed FRAMED (1975).

That’s not to say, however, that the original WALKING TALL is beyond criticism: the narrative does take its repetitive turns, as Buford’s life is thrice attempted upon (requiring him to be hospitalized and undergoing surgery), while his wife’s killing can be seen coming from miles off! Still, Joe Don Baker is perfectly cast in the role of the harassed but unbending brawny lawman – and it deservedly cemented his reputation for a while. Director Karlson (of whose work, I’ve just watched a couple of enjoyable Matt Helm spy spoofs with Dean Martin) keeps a steady enough hand throughout while juggling the various elements: not just the folksiness and bigotry marking the milieu in which the narrative is set, but the kind of no-holds-barred thrills the 1970s seemed to mandate as a means of mass entertainment. In fact, vigilantism spelled big box-office at the time with the likes of DIRTY HARRY (1971), STRAW DOGS (1971), DEATH WISH (1974), etc. A decent cast of Hollywood veterans has been rounded up in support of the star: these include Noah Beery Jr. (as the hero’s father), Gene Evans (as a crooked sheriff), and Kenneth Tobey (as another so-called pillar of the community – read redneck – involved in the myriad illicit activities).

By the way, the version I watched (via the Rhino DVD) was open-matte as opposed to the more professional-looking Widescreen original – in fact, in a number of shots, the boom-mike is plainly visible above the actors’ heads!

Was the above review useful to you?

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Drive in classic

Author: John Seal from Oakland CA
21 April 2000

Walking Tall was a massive hit back in the 70s, and in retrospect it's easy to see why. The film was definitely ahead of the curve in its representation of an outraged Middle America, fed up to the gills with the apparent excesses of the 60s. Buford Pusser was Ronald Reagan with a big stick, ignoring the law when it was convenient and laying into the lowlifes and scum who were perverting American family values. It's not a pretty picture, but it is a heck of an entertaining movie that predates grittier urban dramas such as The Exterminator and Vigilante.

Was the above review useful to you?

5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Forget the Rock remake

Author: movieman_kev from United States
1 April 2004

The fact that the remake of this classic is opening in a few days persuaded me to review the original Joe Don Baker ass-kicker of a movie. Baker will always be in my mind as Buford Pusser, a man who chooses to walk tall no matter what the consequences that may befall. After retiring from wrestling, he returns home with his wife, Elizabeth Hartman (Edwina in Clint Eastwood's strangest film "the Beguiled), and children, Dawn Lyn and Leif Garret (heh) in tow, only to find corruption. Luckily Buford carries a BIG stick and knows how to swing it. At a tad over two hours, this film is almost 2 times the film that the remake is time-wise, but a million times better than it entertainment and story-wise. A tad dated, but it still holds up pretty well

My Grade: A

Was the above review useful to you?

Buford Pusser 1937 - 1974

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
3 January 2017

Some rather unscrupulous Dixie gangsters wanted this man out of the way real bad. In his real life town of Adamsville, Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser made a career out of busting the various clip joints that infested his areas. Those that ran them did all they could to kill him. After the action in this film was portrayed they kind of got their wish and Buford Pusser was killed in a car crash that some still label suspicious.

Pusser was a big guy in real life and a big guy in Joe Don Baker was hired to play him. On screen Baker really gets into his character so much so that could be the real Pusser you see on screen. Before going into law enforcement Pusser was a professional wrestler in the southern circuit known as Buford the Bull. As the man was attacked several times including one shooting no doubt his superb athletic conditioning saved his life.

Elizabeth Hartman portrays his wife and mother of his two children, one of them played soon future teen bubblegum idol Leif Garrett. A few familiar faces dot the supporting cast. One portrayal you won't forget is Rosemary Murphy owner of one of the clip joints who hustles women and gambling and she develops a real hatred for Baker. She sizzles on the screen.

On the screen and in real life Pusser was not a stickler for civil liberties niceties. He did what he had to do to root out corruption in his small corner of the world. In another century like the one we're in now, Buford Pusser would have the status of a Wild Bill Hickok or Wyatt Earp. Both of whom didn't mind gambling interests but kept the cheating to a minimum.

To some, an American hero.

Was the above review useful to you?

"Buford, why don't you try this job on for size?"

Author: classicsoncall from Florida, New York
21 April 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Revisiting films I saw for the first and only time when they were originally released can be interesting. This picture was a stunner back in 1973, and though it's held up pretty well over the decades, I can see how a lot of modern day viewers would find the character of Buford Pusser to be morally objectionable given his methods in bringing corrupt criminals to justice. The one scene that completely violates political correctness today had to do with Buford's son Mike (Leif Garrett) walking into the hospital with a rifle after the ambush! Holy smokes, could you just see that happening today? The kid would have gotten arrested and sent into counseling.

Buford's (Joe Don Baker) childhood buddy Lutie (Ed Call) had a pretty good description for The Lucky Spot - he called it a shopping center for sinners! I thought that was pretty colorful, but nowhere close to accurately describing what a bunch of Neanderthals the average citizen of Selmer, Tennessee was. Knowing that this was based on a true story, it's pretty chilling that characters like this could actually take over a small town to this degree, especially the ones you rely on to enforce the law. I'd have to say that Gene Evans' portrayal of Sheriff Al Thurman ranks right up there with Brian Dennehy's Sheriff Teasle in "First Blood" as one of the dumbest and most corrupt lawmen in film. And I watch a lot of westerns.

On the other hand, there is one scene that brings the 'dated' argument to a whole new level when you stop to think about it. When Buford and his wife (Elizabeth Hartman) purchased their first home, they paid six thousand dollars for a house, three hundred acres and two catfish ponds! Say what you will, but that sounded like a dream sequence to me.

Was the above review useful to you?

Joe Don Baker in Walking Tall

Author: Mark Honhorst from United States
25 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Joe Don Baker is my favorite actor(no, I'm really serious), and this is hands down his greatest film,at least out of all the films I've seen him in. The film is basically about a war between Buford Pusser( who was a real person, by the way) and the scum of a small town. Someone will kill a friend or family member of Pusser, and Pusser will kill one or two of the bad guys at a time. It's a shame Joe Don couldn't be in the sequels, remake, or TV show. I've heard pretty bad things about all of those, so I think I'll stay away from them. The ending is somewhat anti-climactic, but somehow effective. Definitely check this film out if you like Joe Don Baker and/ or action flicks.

Was the above review useful to you?

Just to make sure everyone knows the facts.

Author: junky2004 from Tennessee
1 February 2006

This movie isn't just about history, it is based on the true life events of Sheriff Buford Pusser in McNairy County, Tennessee. You must see part 2 and 3 also to get the whole story. It shows how the Sheriff cleaned out the moonshine, drugs, and prostitution that was going on back in the 1970's. Also you can search the web and you will see other Sheriffs across the USA have paid tribute to the former Sheriff Pusser.

Sheriff Pussers daughter has setup a museum for anyone who would like to see the actual home, cars, and property of the former sheriff.

All 3 movies are really great. Especially part 3, it shows what happened to make Buford want to have the 1st movie made.

I hope this was helpful for everyone who didn't understand.

Was the above review useful to you?

Page 2 of 5:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [Next]

Add another review

Related Links

Plot summary Plot synopsis Ratings
External reviews Parents Guide Plot keywords
Main details Your user reviews Your vote history