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Walking Tall (1973)

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Based on the life of Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser whom almost single-handily cleaned up his small town of crime and corruption, but at a personal cost of his family life and nearly his own life.

Director:

Phil Karlson

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Don Baker ... Buford Pusser
Elizabeth Hartman ... Pauline
Leif Garrett ... Mike
Dawn Lyn ... Dwana
Noah Beery Jr. ... Grandpa (as Noah Beery)
Lurene Tuttle ... Grandma
Ed Call Ed Call ... Lutie McVeigh
Dominick Mazzie Dominick Mazzie ... Bozo
Lynn Borden ... Margie Ann
Brenda Benet Brenda Benet ... Luan Paxton (as Brenda Benét)
Arch Johnson ... Buel Jaggers
Russell Thorson ... Ferrin Meaks
Gil Perkins ... 1st Bouncer
Carey Loftin ... Dice Player
Warner Venetz Warner Venetz ... Stickman
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Storyline

A surprise hit when it premiered, Walking Tall carried the theme of one man standing up for his sense of right and wrong. Selmer, a small town in southwest Tennessee, served as the authentic background for the bio-pic of the heroic southern Sheriff. Joe Don Baker did an admirable job with the role, and the hugely violent film was a surprise hit. Former Sheriff Pusser himself was set to potray himself in the sequel, but he died in a car crash as he as returning from his contract signing in California. The sequel was filmed using Swedish actor Bo Swensen, and a Final Chapter triquel told of Pussers' demise. While the Walking Tall franchise will never be on any list of Classic Film, the original is a great slice of Americana, Circa '70s. It made Bakers' career and perhaps kicked the 'southsploutation' genre of that decade into gear. Written by rick rothermel

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Buford Pusser: the man who became a legend in our time. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 February 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Große aus dem Dunkeln See more »

Filming Locations:

Henderson, Tennessee, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$23,000,000, 31 December 1973
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bing Crosby Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The real-life Buford Pusser actually wanted Bo Svenson to play him in this film; however Svenson was unavailable and Baker was cast instead. When Baker turned down the sequels, the producers approached Svenson again, by which time Svenson was now available to play Pusser. See more »

Goofs

If you look with attention, you can see Pauline's breast moving slightly due to her respiration, when she is lying in the ground after her killing by car shooters. See more »

Quotes

Pauline Pusser: Is your pride worth those children's safety?... Of all of us?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Although the UK cinema version was uncut the 1988 Vestron video version was cut by 29 secs by the BBFC to heavily edit a scene where a woman is whipped and closeup shots of her wounds. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Walking Small (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Walking Tall
Sung by Johnny Mathis
Lyrics by Don Black
Music by Walter Scharf
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very interesting film, couldn't step away
21 February 2006 | by Stefan____See all my reviews

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.


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