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Walking Tall More at IMDbPro »

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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.

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"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.

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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.

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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.

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Now THIS is great filmmaking

Author: sjmcollins-1 from New Orleans
30 December 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

(Some spoilers): "Walking Tall" is probably the most politically incorrect movie you will ever lay your eyes on, but you can't tear away from it if you tried. It's like a episode of "Dukes of Hazzard" directed by Brian DePalma or Quentin Tarentino. I just watched this for the first time, and some of the scenes blew me away. I particularly enjoyed 10 year old Leif Garrett walking through the crowded hospital with the shotgun, and then proceeding to load it front of a nurse, who smiled and nodded approvingly. And also the ending scene with the angry mob justice, burning the evil craps table and such. Joe Don Baker is great in the role of Buford Pusser (great freakin' name!), the ex-wrestler who goes from gently playing with his children to beating 12 men half to death with a bat in seconds. It's all portrayed in a flattering manner, however. I am now eagerly anticipating the remake with The Rock, just to see if they can come within a mile of doing some of the things they were able to back in the early 70's.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good film and worth watching.

Author: stpnut from Christiansburg, VA
23 June 2003

My dad knew the real life Buford Pusser, and he said that most of the flick was fairly true to life. Based on that, the movie had a bigger impact on me knowing that a good deal of what was on screen was capable of happening in the real world and had in fact occurred. You can even go to a museum (I think in Gatlinburg, TN) and see the remains of his corvette.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

For its time, powerful stuff

Author: ctomvelu from usa
26 January 2003

A raw-boned, low-budget, Hollywood-ized account of a small town sheriff battling rednecks and assorted villains in the Deep South. Today we know the real sheriff was not much like the stoic and heroic sheriff portrayed in the film, but it doesn't change the fact this flick was pretty powerful stuff in its time. The final shootout is pretty startling and the murder of the sheriff's wife proves a real tearjerker. The sequels and TV show were lame. They star a different actor (Bo Svensson) than the original (Joe Don Baker), and he is not half as good. A remake is reportedly in the works.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

...might want to check this out.

Author: drew_b_62 from United States
19 December 2005

The movie was so-so. I mean the story was blown a little out of proportion. Think about facts, he didn't defeat the State Line Gang. They murdered his wife, and blew up his home. There should have been a part devoted to the other side of the story...from the eyes of lets say, a bootlegger.

I think the band Drive By Truckers hit it right. "Now they're lined up around the block to see that movie and cryin' for his ambushed wife. Marveling about shot 8 times, stabbed seven. Some folks can't take a hint. they say he didn't take no crap from the State Line Gang, well what the h*** they talking' about? I'm just a hard working man with a family to feed and he made my daughter cry, I said he made my daughter cry."

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Forget walking tall 2004 (the rock) watch this one instead

Author: quinn18 from N.B Canada
21 July 2005

Walking tall 2004 is only 80 minutes long and you have to quest you're self sometime in the movie for what happened.But this one is longer and more enjoyable and you don't have to guess what going on because it has more details in this on the remake.

I think that in this movie they didn't tell the real things about Bufford Pusser life.They change to many part of his life to put it in the movie. Example-Bufford Pusser studied law in the 40's at university and applied to be a police officer at a lot of stations but in the movie he just returns back home with his family and want to become the sheriff and i'm not going to tell you why because i don't want to spoil the movie for you if you already know what going to happen.

Even if they Skip a lot of parts about Buffor Pusser's life it doesn't mean its not a good movie.It is very interesting i think and anyone who didn't see should go see it.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Better than the Rocks

Author: mm-39 from Winnipeg
20 May 2004

After watching the newer version, I decided to compare. I loved walking tall when I was a kid. Remembered some of it, but a few years back I caught it on TBS late night. WOW did this film age well; nothing is better than a true story. My father, or someone I know says the movie is close too the books. Maybe that is why the story and film age well. Realism always lasts the test of time. I had to get some sleep and missed Walking Tall 2, but hope to cath it on TBS some time soon. Thank you TBS late night from all us insomnia suffers, nothing is worse than info commericals, or old re-runs. This movie is closer too the trues story so I give the new Walking Tall the old 2 by 4 and give the old version a 7 out of 10. I think the Rock could play a better bad guy.

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