Aging stuntman Sonney Hooper is still on top as one of the best stuntmen in the business. But up and coming Ski is starting to do bigger and better stunts. Hooper has the experience to ... See full summary »
Sam Whiskey is an all-round talent, but when the attractive widow Laura offers him a job, he hesitates: he shall salvage gold bars, which Laura's dead husband stole recently, from a sunken ... See full summary »
Tom Sharky is a narcotics cop in Atlanta who's demoted to vice after a botched bust. In the depths of this lowly division, while investigating a high-dollar prostitution ring, Sharky ... See full summary »
W.W. is a happy-go-lucky crook who makes his living robbing gas stations through the drive-up windows. The Dixie Dancekings are a country music band trying to get their first big break. W.W... See full summary »
Deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia, where every man owns a gun and a moonshine still, abides living legend Jesco White, "the dancing outlaw". As a boy Jesco was... See full summary »
Phil Gaines is a bitter, cynical cop who investigates the case of a dead stripper/porno actress found on the beach. Gaines is experiencing a troubled relationship with a hooker, and things ... See full summary »
A sequel to this movie Gator (1976) named after the first name of Burt Reynolds's Gator McKlusky character in this movie was released about three years after this picture came out. See more »
When Gator is trying out the 1971 Ford Galaxy he was given by the Federal agents, you see him working a manual gear shift in the floor. Throughout the scene Gator upshifts and downshifts. However, when he arrives at his parents home, you see him place the car in park on the steering wheel, which is obviously an automatic transmission. See more »
Although Burt Reynolds may have been more compelling in "Deliverance" (1972), he does give a fine performance in "White Lightning", as Gator McKlusky, a Southern good-ole-boy, out of prison to revenge his hippie brother's murder. And that revenge plot must, of necessity, track to Bogan County Sheriff J.C. Connors (Ned Beatty), who is involved with hillbilly whiskey stills.
Nobody could have been more convincing as a paunchy Southern redneck sheriff than Ned Beatty. Reynolds and Beatty would team up in later years to make at least two more films with a similar tone: "W.W. And The Dixie Dancekings" (1975), and "Stroker Ace" (1983). In "White Lightning", wonderful Louise Latham makes a semi-cameo appearance as Sheriff Connors' reliable secretary.
Aside from casting and acting, "White Lightning" has other things going for it, not the least of which is a realistic portrayal of a small Southern town. The authenticity, with its various bubbas who frequent the pool halls, display their guns with pride, and race cars at the local fairgrounds, is striking. And with their big engines, the film's muscle cars gleefully tear up the pavement with their screeching tires and agile corner turning.
Indeed, those cars are so souped-up they even burn rubber on dirt roads. Oh well, who cares if there's a minor sound effects plot hole. A more substantive plot hole has Sheriff Connors unfamiliar with the geography of his own county. In particular, he might want to check the map again to note the existence of a large lake at the end of one particular dirt road. Still, his ignorance is our gain as a plot point that proves symmetrically effective.
Plot holes aside, this is a film of dust, dirt, car chases, whiskey stills, the sounds of screeching tires, and some dang good performances. "White Lightning" is worth viewing also for its 1970s nostalgia, and for its authentic Southern setting.
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