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White Lightning (1973)

An ex con teams up with federal agents to help them with breaking up a moonshine ring.

Director:

Joseph Sargent

Writer:

William W. Norton (as William Norton)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Reynolds ... Gator McKlusky
Jennifer Billingsley ... Lou
Ned Beatty ... Sheriff J.C. Connors
Bo Hopkins ... Roy Boone
Matt Clark ... Dude Watson
Louise Latham ... Martha Culpepper
Diane Ladd ... Maggie (as Diane Lad)
R.G. Armstrong ... Big Bear
Conlan Carter Conlan Carter ... Deputy
Dabbs Greer ... Pa McKlusky
Lincoln Demyan Lincoln Demyan ... Warden
John Steadman ... Skeeter
Iris Korn Iris Korn ... Ma McKlusky
Stephanie Burchfield Stephanie Burchfield ... Jenny
Barbara Muller Barbara Muller ... Louella
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Storyline

An ex con teams up with federal agents to help them with breaking up a moonshine ring.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Meet the Bayou's baddest good ol' boy. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Crime

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 October 1973 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

McKlusky See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Levy-Gardner-Laven 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

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 »

Goofs

In 1973, the USA were changing over road markings from white to yellow. During the main chase into the town, the road originally shows the older markings, then the new, then the old. See more »

Quotes

Roy Boone: Ready?
Gator McKlusky: I was born ready!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inglourious Basterds (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Way Down Under
Composed by Charles Bernstein
Performed by Jerry Whitman
See more »

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User Reviews

That Authentic Southern Setting
30 December 2007 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

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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