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Macon County Line
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Macon County Line More at IMDbPro »

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19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Huge drive-in hit

10/10
Author: preppy-3 from United States
8 July 2002

Despite what previous posters have been saying this movie was a big hit when it came out. There was even a sequel a few years later. But it was only a hit at drive-ins and (like other drive-in hits) has been largely forgotten. That's a shame because it's a really great movie.

It's not based on a true story (despite what they say at the beginning and end). It's bloody, violent and made on virtually no budget. It all works though because you get four believable characters--the two brothers (real life brothers Alan and Jesse Vint), the hitchhiker (Cheryl Waters) and the sheriff (Max Baer Jr.). They all give natural, unforced performances and through the dialogue you get to know them and understand them. The script is very well-written. Still, this IS a drive-in movie so it opens with a sex scene including flashes of male and female nudity. And the last half hour is frightening and includes a neat twist at the end.

A very good film that deserves to be rediscovered. See it!

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Tense, Tragic, Highly Watchable

10/10
Author: telegonus from brighton, ma
12 August 2005

Macon County Line was apparently a huge hit at the drive-ins when it came out in the seventies but since I seldom went to drive-ins I missed it. A few years ago I caught it on television, and was very impressed, not so much by the story but by the way it's told. The film concerns a couple of out-of-town brothers caught up in violent crime and mistaken identity in the Deep South, where, in movie terms anyway, it's never a good place to be a Yankee without a road map, or worse, have your car break down. The story unfolds at a decent clip, and the actors are all good, some much better than than that. It's interesting seeing an old-timer like Emile Meyer in a movie with an up-and-comer like Leif Garret. The real surprise in the film is the strong, silent performance of Max Baer, Jr. in the key role of the deputy sheriff. Like most viewers, I tend to think of Baer as the gentle, simple giant, Jethro, on the long-running television series The Beverly Hillbillies. As the lawman in this movie Baer actually gives a serious performance. As a dramatic actor he comes off a little like James Garner, a little like Clint Eastwood, but he has a distinctive style of his own. There's something rock solid about Baer. He has real screen presence, and he comes off as alternately heroic and frightening, depending on what he's up to at the moment. Baer also produced the movie, and made a fortune from it. Baer may in real life be a gentle giant, but he sure ain't a simple one.

This is at times a very dark movie, violent and forbidding, and at times almost painfully tense. It may be a product of the Burt Reynolds good old boy era of movie-making, but it plays very differently from the kinds of films Reynolds made, closer in style to Sam Fuller or Phil Karlson.

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

An overlooked classic

8/10
Author: SmileysWorld from United States
15 October 2001

Some movies just don't get the attention they deserve,and "Macon County Line" is certainly one of those.It could quite possibly have to do with the fact that Max Baer appears in it,because we so closely identify him with his "Jethro Bodine" persona,that we have a hard time picturing him as anyone else.If that is the case,it is a shame,because he really gives a top notch acting performance as the not-so-perfect deputy sheriff.This film was very different from any other made in the era.There are bad guys here,but no real hero to speak of.Basically,without giving the story away,it starts out very basic,taking a violent turn toward the end,with an explosively violent ending stemming from a tragic misunderstanding.A very well done and well acted film, that tragically got overlooked.If you are one to reach for the classics in your local video store from time to time,I suggest this one,though it sadly will never be listed as a classic.I think once you see it,you may be impressed enough to add it to your collection.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Clever, stylish, and unique -- a forgotten classic

10/10
Author: TelevisionJunkie from Texas
12 May 2002

I had heard of this film, but never had the chance to see it. Knowing that Max Baer wrote and starred in it really didn't mean much to me either way. Although I often identify actors with their TV roles, I've seen a lot of them who got famous by playing goofy characters in phenomenal roles, so I don't usually judge them by their other work. And in this case, that's a good thing. Stumbled onto the Anchor Bay release of this at Wal-Mart for $3, so I figured I'd check it out. Not my usual style of movie, I prefer comedy, horror or camp, but I'm a movie buff and for the price, I figured what-the-hell. And I wasn't disappointed.

The acting is solid. Usually in low budget films there's at least one actor who simply can't act, but not here. Everyone in the film is believable enough to hold your attention and make you forget how unlikely the string of coincidences that happen near the end would be. Baer, who in his first scene seems reminiscent of Jethro Clampett, soon shows that he does have acting abilities. And the other three leads are exceptional. Although it seems like it takes forever for something to happen (it's an hour into the 90 min film before the "shocking" part begins to unfold), the beginning is enjoyable. You forget for a while that there's a point and get swept up in the antics of these (real-life) brothers who are joyriding when their car breaks down in Macon County. Back in the good old days when character development was more important than special fx, a lot of time was spent on doing just that, developing the characters. You start to care about the three leads, which makes it much more disturbing when Baer goes after them near the end for a crime they didn't commit. And what's revealed at the end is a total mind blower that slaps you across the face and shoots you between the eyes. Just for the twist ending, the film is well worth your time. Too bad the videos didn't sell well and are now in the bargain bins, but it's a bargain-bin-classic that I'd recommend to anyone.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Deep-fried

Author: chaos-rampant from Greece
24 August 2008

70's gritnik cinema doesn't get much better. Pure tautness. Imagine Sam Peckinpah had done this, or John Boorman, or that it starred one of the many young upstarts of New Hollywood; it would've been one of the classic movies we referenced from this era, that's for sure.

Alas it had none of those things. But it wasn't a drive-in smash hit for no reason either and as much as high brow critics would dismiss the regular love-pit crowd as easily pleased or what have you, the truth is Macon County Line is an all around accomplished movie that is almost too good to be classified as exploitation. Or the kind of hicksploitation you find in movies like Gator Bait.

What starts as an amusing "boys just wanna have fun" road movie soon turns into a tight, gripping thriller but not without stopping to sample some of the local Lousiana colour first. The economy in the story is incredible, there's no frame wasted, nothing that doesn't propel the story forward or build mood or characters. The direction is confident, without highfallutin auteur-ism but with an efficiency and energy that suits the material.

What really elevates Macon is the superb cast. Names and faces I've never seen before but they're all perfect in their roles, understated and emotional in just the right measure and true to the characters they're supposed to be playing without becoming self-conscious caricatures of themselves. Even the backwoods mechanic carries an authenticity, a sense that you're watching a real person and that such people do exist.

Which brings me to another major success for the movie. It presents and inhabits a real world with real characters that have lived their lives there. The real locations and unknown cast sure help a great deal but so does the story, dialogues and actor interplay. We get a vision of the graphic South without the self-conscious quirks the Coens used in Raising Arizona or Oliver Stone in U-Turn, both great movies but still "artificial" in how they depict life.

Tightly edited, beautifully photographed, with cool music and a fine-tuned screenplay, memorable performances and an unexpected ending, Macon County Line justifies its cult status and drive-in success 30 years down the line and belongs in the very elite company of gritnik gems like Two-Lane Blacktop and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic drive-in classic!

8/10
Author: The_Void from Beverley Hills, England
16 July 2009

You can always be guaranteed a good time with seventies American exploitation flicks; and Macon County Line is not only no exception to that rule; it stands tall as one of the best films of its type! Macon County Line was apparently a big hit in its day and then promptly forgotten - which is a shame. The film is a winner thanks to some easy to like characters, a constant stream of entertainment, some witty dialogue and a serviceable helping of gritty violence - you really couldn't ask for much more from a film like this! The film takes place in the fifties and the plot focuses on two brothers driving through the Deep South. They cause a bit of trouble and end up picking up a female hitcher along the way before their car dies thanks to a dodgy fuel pump. They manage to get it to a garage but can't afford to get it fixed properly and so go for a bodge instead. While waiting for their car to be fixed, they run into the local sheriff, who takes an instant and unfair dislike to the group...

Unlike many films of its type, this one is not overly sleazy and if anything the tone of the film is light and breezy for most of the duration. The pace of the film is very relaxed for the first hour, although it remains entertaining thanks to the characters. Real life brothers Alan and Jesse Vint provide standout performances that bolster the film. The film does take a bit of a turn for the final third when the real antagonists turn up; we get a rape and murder scene and from there the tone of the film becomes rather darker, although the violence featured is never excessive. The pace of the film heats up too and the climax is fast and furious; and means more since we already like all the main characters by then. This film really does come highly recommended. It might not have a great deal of substance and the production values are not great (though certainly very good considering the obvious low budget) but it's good fun throughout and I'm sure that everyone who goes to the trouble of seeing this film will not be disappointed!

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Classic movies are too easily forgotten

9/10
Author: Ken (thompsonkeng@netscape.net) from Dallas, Texas
16 August 2000

This is a great 1950's period piece movie. Similar in some ways to "The Last Picture Show". Unfortunately, Macon County Line never received any hype, and therefore has largely been forgotten. Too bad only 21 people have bothered to vote for this movie.

If you would like to time travel back to the 50's, and get a feel for the rural South, this is an enjoyable movie to watch.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Great suspenseful movie but was it really a true story?.

Author: grafspee from Australia
22 September 2004

I agree with many previous reviewers that this was an ideal drive-in thriller movie and well suited to the era with it's colorful cinematography of the picturesque South.

Max Baer better known as "Jethro", the jovial dim witted clown of the "Beverly Hillbillies" series shows how equally well he can play officious gun toting Deputy Sheriff Reed Morgan of a southern Georgia town, flaunting his obvious authority with others. When three teenagers arrive in his domain at a local service station with car trouble he immediately becomes suspicious and makes clear his anxiousness for them to leave his County as quickly as possible.

Morgan shortly after leaves with son Luke, played by Leif Garrett, on a duck shooting expedition and while away two ex cons break into his house and rob and murder his wife Carol. Returning home he notices the teenagers car broken down nearby and after discovering the fate of his wife sets out in armed pursuit of the teenagers. The teenagers take refuge on a houseboat and the tragic events which unfold give this movie a hold on to your seat electrifying finale. The excellent "Another Place Another Time" song of Bobbie Gentry in the closing credits adds vividly to the way life and events did exist and were perceived in the Fifties era.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Southern Gothic

10/10
Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas
8 November 2010

Richly atmospheric, "Macon County Line" veritably drips 1950s backwoods Louisiana, in a story about two good-humored, shiftless dudes, both laid-back and basically decent, who joyride through the South, with no particular goal in mind. Along the way they pick up a young, attractive Southern belle. But a car problem puts them at the mercy of local hicks, including a White, bullying cop (Max Baer Jr.), prejudiced against Blacks and outsiders.

The plot starts out with some red-light hi-jinx, augmented by lush color visuals and great music, like the Black gospel song "Keep On Keeping On" which conveys the film's subtle theme. The slow-paced story fits the hot, lazy Southern weather. And as we get to know the main characters on their daytime journey, we sense something is going to happen. We just don't know what or when.

As night falls the tone turns ominous. Danger lurks in coincidence. And the story morphs into a kind of allegory that renders it timeless. Terrific suspense makes the last twenty minutes spellbinding ... human prey trying to escape a killer in the brushy backwoods at night, no music, just the natural sounds of frogs and crickets ... tense ... the killer is somewhere in the woods ... two people hear footsteps, a door opens, death is close at hand ... silence.

The film's visuals are grainy, which contributes to a nostalgic, dreamlike quality. Production design is authentic. Casting and acting are fine, and considerably better than one would expect for this genre of film.

I think people were surprised at the time by its success. Certainly, it could never be made today. And that probably ups its status now as a cult classic. "Macon County Line", in addition to being a fine Gothic story set in an atmospheric South, evokes nostalgia for an era and pace of life gone forever.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

An outstanding "don't go down to Dixie" 70's Southern-fried drive-in gem

10/10
Author: Woodyanders (Woodyanders@aol.com) from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
17 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Two happy-go-lucky brothers (amiably played by real-life siblings Alan and Jesse Vint, who also popped up as a couple of no-count looters in the fantastic big budget all-star disaster epic "Earthquake") and a pretty female hitchhiker (blonde cutie pie sprite Cheryl Waters) embark on a rowdy cross country fun spree in the deep South in the 50's. Their fun comes to an abrupt end when they run afoul of a repressively square and fascistic good ol' boy sheriff (sternly portrayed by producer and co-screenwriter Max Baer; Jethro on "The Beverly Hillbillies") who doesn't cotton to any smartaleck outsiders romping around his podunk burg. Things go from bad to worse when a pair of criminals murder the sheriff's wife and the sheriff erroneously assumes that the brothers and their lady friend are responsible.

Without a doubt one of the all-time great Southern-fried low-budget 70's drive-in classics, this darling is a huge personal favorite of mine. Richard ("Welcome Home, Soldier Boys," "Ravagers") Compton directs with real energy and proficiency, keeping the pace racing along at a speedy clip, creating an increasingly foreboding sense of dread and tension, and skillfully handling the sudden shift from boisterous comedy to gut-tearing suspense. Daniel ("Battle Beyond the Stars," "Humanoids from the Deep") Lacambre's handsome cinematography makes expert use of natural light, thereby giving this picture a plausibly rough and grainy unpolished look. The performances are all on-target, with stand-out supporting turns by Sam ("'Gatorbait") Gilman as a hard-nosed deputy, Joan Blackman as the sheriff's doomed wife, 70's teen pop idol Leif ("Devil Times Five") Garrett as the sheriff's son, James Gammon as a low-life hoodlum, Doodles Weaver as a doddery ol' cuss, and especially Geoffrey Lewis as a cranky gas station proprietor. Bobbie Gentry really belts out a sweet dilly of a number with the terrific country-and-western ending credits theme song. The grim, kick-you-in-the-stomach violent and disturbing surprise ending packs one hell of a savage and powerful wallop. The film's monumental box office success (it made a hefty $35 million during its original theatrical run) beget a handful of "don't go down to Dixie" exploitation cash-in copies, a sub-genre unto itself which includes the pitifully lame'n'tame sequel "A Return to Macon County," the astonishingly bleak'n'brutal "Jackson County Jail," the spirited and enjoyable "Moving Violation," and the seamy and revolting scuzzathon "A Nightmare in Badham County."

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