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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 ... 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:

Take your best shot... 'cause it'll probably be your last. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Obra Eaker is loosely based on Dave Lipford, the first black deputy sheriff in Tennessee. See more »

Goofs

When Sheriff Thurman and his deputy are chasing Pusser in his truck only the sheriff and the deputy are seen in the car from the front camera shots. But as they get close the bridge, in the rear camera shots, three people are seen in the car or at least two people and some large object in the back seat. See more »

Quotes

Callie: [Having a meeting about Pusser] He's gotta have someone down here working on the inside.
Buel Jaggers: But not from my group... My people are solid.
Callie: Oh yeah... You're people are real solid. They couldn't put him away when they were two feet from him.
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Alternate Versions

The original DVD release of the film was an unmatted fullscreen presentation, with boom mikes visible in numerous shots. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Walking Big & Tall (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Walking Tall
Sung by Johnny Mathis
Lyrics by Don Black
Music by Walter Scharf
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User Reviews

Standard Actioner
17 March 2002 | by rwintSee all my reviews

Yes Virginia there really was a man named Buford Pusser. He was a south Tennessee sheriff who was shot 8 times, knifed 7 times, survived a ambush, and even jumped onto a speeding car to make a arrest. The film, which was admittedly given the Hollywood treatment, looks at his exploits in a somewhat routine,somewhat gritty style with some surprisingly stirring moments. Though by the end when Johnny Mathis sings a ill advised syrupy song do you realize how emotionally manipulative it all really is.

Shot right in Tennessee and not some reprocessed Hollywood backlot. The excellent location shooting almost becomes a star in itself. However someone should have told the producers that even in the south the grass is not all green and the leaves aren't all on the trees at Christmas time.

Baker plays the lead role very, very well. Not only does he resemble the real Pusser, but shows some real fiery anger that's just lurking beneath the surface.

The action is intense, bloody, and well staged. Good for those who are game for this type of standard actioner.

It is interesting to note that the real Buford Pusser acted as a consultant to the film and then ended up dying in a very mysterious car crash just a year after the films release.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 February 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Walking Tall See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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