A wide variety of eccentric competitors participate in a wild and illegal cross-country road race. However, the eccentric entrants will do anything to win the road race, including low-down, dirty tricks.
Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it's dammed and turned into a lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a canoeing trip they'll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.
A football player-turned-convict organizes a team of inmates to play against a team of prison guards. His dilemma is that the warden asks him to throw the game in return for an early release, but he is also concerned about the inmates' lack of self-esteem.Written by
Matt Heffernan <email@example.com>
Georgia State Penitentiary prisoner Harold Morris, who had been wrongly convicted of murder and was later given a full pardon, had a part in the film as an extra. In his book "Twice Pardoned", he recalled some moments with Burt Reynolds:
Although prison officials strongly discouraged it, Reynolds often sat with the prisoners during meal breaks and socialized with them.
A photographer on the set offered to take souvenir photographs of the prisoners individually posing with Reynolds. Many of the prisoners had no money, but Reynolds told the photographer to take all the pictures they prisoners wanted and he (Reynolds) would pay for them.
One of the prisoners asked Reynolds where he lived. Reynolds told him he had homes in Florida and California. The prisoner then asked for his address and when Reynolds asked why, the prisoner explained a) he was a career criminal about to finally get out of prison, and b) after a life spent stealing from people who didn't have money, he wanted to finally burglarize someone who had money.
Reynolds and Morris struck up a friendship during the filming, and at the end Reynolds sent personalized, autograph photos to several of Morris' relatives. He also gave Morris a Book of the Month club membership.
When Crewe is talking to the team for the first time, they are sitting on the bleachers and from a rear shot, several of them are wearing their helmets.
However, a second later a shot from the front shows nobody wearing helmets. See more »
How long do we have to keep watching this crap?... Only a moron can sit and watch two football games, one after the other.
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The 1995 VHS USA re-release does not feature the song "Saturday Night Special" by Lynyrd Skynyrd during the chase scene. Instead, there is no music during the chase. See more »
Disgraced former pro football quarterback Paul Crewe is sent to prison after a drunken night to remember. The prison is run by Warden Hazen, a football nut who spies an opportunity to utilise Crewe's ability at the sport to enhance the prison guards teams skills. After initially declining to help, Crewe is swayed into putting together a team of convicts to take on the guards in a one off match, thieves, murderers and psychopaths collectively come together to literally, beat the guards, but Crewe also has his own personal demons to exorcise.
This violent, but wonderfully funny film has many things going for it. Directed with style by the gifted hands of Robert Aldrich, The Longest Yard cheekily examines the harshness of gridiron and fuses it with the brutality of the penal system. The script from Tracy Keenan Wynn is a sharp as a tack and Aldrich's use of split screens and slow motion sequences bring it all together very nicely indeed. I would also like to comment on the editing from Michael Luciano, nominated for the Oscar in that department, it didn't win, but in my honest opinion it's one of the best edited pictures from the 70s.
Taking the lead role of Crewe is Burt Reynolds, here he is at the peak of his powers (perhaps never better) and has star appeal positively bristling from every hair on his rugged chest. It's a great performance, believable in the action sequences (he was once a halfback for Florida), and crucially having the comic ability to make Wynn's script deliver the necessary mirth quota. What is of most interest to me is that Crewe is a less than honourable guy, the first 15 minutes of the film gives us all we need to know about his make up, but much like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest the following year, The Longest Yard has us rooting for the main protagonist entering the home straight, and that is something of a testament to Reynolds' charm and charisma.
The film's crowning glory is the football game itself, taking up three parts of an hour, the highest compliment I can give it is to say that one doesn't need to be a fan of the sport to enjoy this final third. It's highly engaging as a comedy piece whilst also being octane inventive as an action junkie's series of events. A number of former gridiron stars fill out both sides of the teams to instill a high believability factor into the match itself, and the ending is a pure rewarding punch the air piece of cinema. 9/10
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