Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
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There are hilarious lines, some funny pratfalls and even a bit of home-grown wisdom: "How ignorant you are depends a lot on which part of the United States you're standing on." Or something like that. I get a kick out of watching the convoy/rocking-chair scene every time. Makes me wonder how in the world they got around Birmingham, but that's suspension of disbelief for you. LOL.
Wish director Hal Needham had remembered that Alabama State Troopers drive Fords, not Pontiacs, but that's a small thing. My dad remarked on it every time, though.
It's just cornball entertainment, rare enough these days. Pop some popcorn and have a blast watching it.
Your enjoyment of the film depends on your first viewing experience. If like myself, you were a young boy growing up in the mid-eighties, you will have no doubt lived for the endless thrills, spills, car crashes, second-rate jokes and Big Burt as the Bandit, and its two sequels. It's easy to laugh at now, but there is a perverse pleasure in seeing bell-bottoms, grown men with CB radios and muscles cars the size of small houses, the likes of which most people won't have seen since 1982.
And as a side note only Star Wars grossed more than Smokey and the Bandit in 1977
The basic premise of the movie is a simple one. The Bandit (Burt Reynolds) and The Snowman (Jerry Reed) are trying to deliver a truckload of bootlegged Coors beer in 38 hours or less for $80,000 (big money back in 1977). All this while trying to shake a bloodhound sheriff (Smokey played by Jackie Gleason) and his bonehead son, Junior. Oh, and during all of this Bandit falls in love with a hitchhiker named Carrie (Sally Field).
As much as this is the movie that Burt Reynolds is known for, it's Jackie Gleason that makes this movie for me. His are my favorite lines in the movie. Don't get me wrong, Burt and his ohhh so 70's mustache do a fabulous job of smiling and laughing, but it's Gleason who has me in stitches every time I watch this movie. I received my first copy of this movie somewhere around 1986 (Christmas present). At some point I tried to figure out how many times I have viewed this movie. A conservative guess would be somewhere around 300.
It's simple fun, but there is a little bit of magic in this movie that was absent in Smokey And The Bandit II. Both Burt Reynolds and Sally Field claim that the reason the movie worked so well is that you are watching two people fall in love, for real, on film.
Aside from the love story and Gleason's portrayal of Bufford T. Justice, the movie has some fantastic and real (not CGI) car chases and stunts. This is a must own for anyone who loves a good car chase.
The tissue-thin plot has good ole boy pals The Bandit (Reynolds) and Cletus (a surprisingly good Jerry Reed) running a load of Coors cross-country on a tight deadline while trying to avoid an assortment of less-than-bright cops, led by pompous blowhard Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason). Sally Field, as a runaway bride who thumbs her way into Reynolds' car, brings charm and a welcome sense of irony to the macho proceedings.
Stunt coordinator-turned-director Hal Needham stages the action competently, and the actors, who supposedly improvised much of the dialogue, obviously enjoy themselves. A good choice for those who want to relive the glory days of CB rebels, long sideburns, plaid western shirts, and black Trans-Ams with "screaming chicken" decals on the hood. Avoid the two vastly inferior sequels.
He does what he does best-shows off.
Bo "Bandit" Darville (Reynolds) accepts a, illegal job/bet offer of delivering a truck load of Coors Beer from Texas across the states to Georgia. The job must be completed within 28 hours or he will not pick up the $80,000 payment for his services. Enlisting his buddy Snowman (Reed) to drive the truck, while he acts as a decoy in his Pontiac Trans Am, the Bandit must avoid capture by the Smokey (police). When he stops to pick up runaway bride Carrie (Fields), this makes him the target for one particularly vindictive laws enforcer, Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Gleason), whose son Junior Justice (Henry) is the jilted intended of Carrie.
You sumbitches couldn't close an umbrella!
The best of the "CB Radio" movies, Smokey and the Bandit makes up for what little it has in plot, with unadulterated fun via car pursuits, stunts and wonderfully colourful characters. Essentially one long chase movie, it was a massive box office success on it release, becoming the second biggest earner in 77 behind a certain Space Opera from George Lucas. Cashing in on Burt Reynolds popularity, and the new found interest in CB radio on the highways, film went on to influence similar films and TV shows further down the line. The memory of the poor sequels and the inferior similar films of its type has somewhat led to many people forgetting just what an entertaining movie it is.
There is no way, no way, that you could come from my loins. Soon as I get home, first thing I'm gonna do is punch your momma in the mouth.
Hal Needham uses his knowledge as an ex-stuntman to great effect, setting up a number of inspired sequences that sees cars jumping, crashing or going for a swim! Wisely letting his actors ad-lib where possible, film has a natural flow that's hard to dislike. The chemistry between Reynolds and Fields is warming, due to the fact that it was off screen real, while Gleason steals the movie with a hilarious portray as the manic, cussing and determined Buford. The bumpkin based music is perfectly in keeping with the mood, and the various locations used make for an appealing backdrop to the carnage and speedster thrills.
Not quite as Punk Rock anti-establishment now as it seemed back then, but still utterly delightful courtesy of a damn fine cast and some special motor vehicle mayhem. 8.5/10
Smokey sees classically trained thespian Burtrand Reynolds essay the role of the Bandit, a mythical, almost Quixotesque figure, who cuts across the American landscape in a black Pontiac firebird, the ultimate phallic representation of male dominance. The densely layered plot sees Bandit become involved in a quest of Arthurian proportions, attempting to do "what they say can't be done". As it goes, there's a drought in old Atlanta, and the fine townsfolk are gagging for some liquid refreshment for the upcoming monster-truck derby. Luckily, Bandit hears that there's beer in Texarkana, and sets out across country to bring it back... no matter what it takes.
Director Hal Needham, surely an auteur of Hitchcockian proportions, keeps the first act moving along at a steady pace, and there is always close attention paid to characterisation. However, it is in act two that things really get interesting, for no sooner has the Bandit and his ever-faithful slave... sorry, sidekick Snowman loaded up the truck with the brew... than they are set upon by a runaway bride (Sally Field), a fleet of southern law enforcers, and the formidable Sheriff Bufred T. Justice (Jackie Gleason), whose catchphrase "that sun' bitch" proved to be as lastingly funny as a dose of the clap. From this point on tension is cranked to eleven, with more jaw-dropping moments than the entire Indian Jones series combined. Don't believe me, take the scene where Bandit attempts to jump the bridge... if this doesn't have you standing on your seat screaming "go bandit go... yee-haw", then quite frankly nothing will.
Bandit is one no-nonsense jive-talker, an enduring character whose down with the kids (and the blacks), making him one fine example of a true southern gent. We never doubt our hero will fail at his mission, especially not with the benefit of hindsight, since Bandit managed to evade the law and return for the imaginatively titled Smokey and the Bandit II. Here his bounty was an African elephant that, understandably, had the hots for the moustachioed one. Then there was the third instalment, which had a script so bad Reynolds himself turned it down. Here the sh*t-kickers formula was repeated... just without the kick. Smokey and the Bandit is, admittedly, not high art. It's not even low art. But it does represent some kind of period piece, a history lesson, or the pinnacle of late seventies cinema.
Your enjoyment of the film depends on your first viewing experience. If like myself, you were a young boy growing up in the mid-eighties, you will have no doubt lived for the endless thrills, spills, car crashes and second-rate jokes that pepper Bandit, and its two sequels. It's easy to laugh at now, and a young audience will probably be left scratching their heads at the sight of Burt Reynolds mugging uncontrollably to the camera for ninety-minutes whilst Jerry Reed gets to 'sing' his good ol' boy theme tune 'East-bound and Down' for the one-millionth time, but there is a perverse pleasure in seeing bell-bottoms, grown men with CB radios and muscles cars the size of small houses, the likes of which most people won't have seen since 1982. 3/5
The film introduces you to the truck-driving legend "Bandit", who is challenged to bring beer from Texas to Georgia. Obviously the Burdettes have more money than sense, seeing as the local convenience store is down the road to satisfy their beer needs, and they can save $80,000 in the process - but their excess gives us a unique plot and situations that could only happen on the roads of the South!
Along for the ride is Jerry Reed's character Cledus Snow, "The Snowman" who is the reluctant running-buddy of Bandit on this beer-run. Cledus is the common sense of the two-man crew, sometimes offering that reality-check moment to the otherwise impulsive "Bandit".
Sally Field plays "Frog"...she gives the beauty to the film, also a middle-finger for posterity during a interstate chase, and a nice bent-over shot in the Trans-Am. (Thank you, Hal Needham) The "Smokey" in the title belongs to Jackie Gleason, who added the humor in the film...with some of the greatest lines ever delivered! See the movie once and you'll never say "Son of a B*tch" the same way thereafter...
Pick up a DVD copy today, and theatrical-aspect really keeps your attention and will present itself better than the 100-or-so times that you saw it on the small screen. Also, the edited-for-TV versions never did the original justice.
Happily this is a genre that has gone out of date (unless your name is John Landis) but here it SATB is an enjoyable chase movie that has a lazy charm to it. The plot is paper thing but it sets up some nice chases, even if the film doesn't really have any major stunts to it that stood out as spectacular. However the easy humour of the film makes for a nice little film.
This is solely down to the cast rather than any great director or scenes. Reynolds spoofs his `good ol' boy' image really well and has an easy charm about him - although it is a sad reflection on his career that this is one of his best roles. Field does a good job of acting natural and she has an easy charisma with Reynolds. Reed is OK but his character's dog really makes more of an impression than he does. The real draw is Gleason's Sheriff who is hilarious, has all the best lines and is a wonderful exaggerated character; with his son in the car they make the real driving force of the film's humour!
Overall this is not a great film - it appeals to basic humour and the plot is about as much of a `one sentence summary' as you can get. However it has an easy, lazy humour to it that is appealing in a lazy sort of way. A few more major stunts would have helped but as it is it is an enjoyable little film as long as you are in the mood.
This is fun good 'ol boy movie with Burt and Sally in their prime. Reynolds is at his smiling, wisecracking best and Field is a cutie who looks great in tight pants. It's not great like Eastwood's "Every Which Way But Loose" (1978), but it's energetic and amusing. Anyone who likes car chases, Southern accents, trucks, CB radios, redneck cops and motorhead antics will enjoy this movie. Besides the presence of Reynolds and Field, I mainly like it because it's like going back in time to the late 70s.
The female eye-candy is pretty much limited to Field, although Susie Ewing has a nice cameo as Hot Pants.
The film runs 96 minutes and was shot mostly in Georgia, but with some driving locations in California (you can always tell the difference).
This is not an intelligent movie. There are no Oscar-caliber performances and no brilliant direction. It doesn't change the fact that Smokey and the Bandit remains fun to watch and the lines are still funny after the fifth time you've seen it or the fifteenth. The car chases are filmed well; you'll notice that the car crashes are surpassed only a few years later by John Landis' The Blues Brothers.
Smokey and the Bandit is one of the best Southern Rock/muscle car/beer and pizza movies you can rent or catch on TBS (although you miss most of Jackie Gleason's dialogue if you catch it on cable.) Check it out!
SUMMARY: As the movie begins, rich Texan Big Enos Burdette (Pat McCormick) and his son, Little Enos (Paul Williams), are trying to find a truck driver willing to haul Coors beer to Georgia for their refreshment. Unfortunately, due to federal liquor laws and state liquor tax regulations of the time, selling and/or shipping Coors east of the Mississippi River was considered bootlegging, and the truck drivers who had taken the bet previously had been discovered and arrested by "Smokey" (truck driver and CB slang for highway patrolmen). At a local truck rodeo, the Texans locate legendary truck driver Bo "Bandit" Darville (Burt Reynolds) and offer him US$80,000 (US$270,000 in 2007 dollars), the price of a new truck, to haul 400 cases of Coors beer from Texarkana, Texas to the "Southern Classic" truck rodeo in Georgia— in 28 hours. Bandit accepts the bet and recruits fellow trucker Cletus "Snowman" Snow (Jerry Reed) to drive the truck (Snow brings along his dog, a Basset Hound named "Fred", for company). Bandit purchases a black Pontiac Trans Am, which he will drive himself as a "blocker" car to deflect attention away from the truck and its cargo. The trio reaches Texas ahead of schedule, load their truck with Coors, and immediately head back towards Georgia. Shortly thereafter, Bandit picks up professional dancer and apparent runaway bride Carrie (Sally Field), whom he nicknames "Frog" because she was "always hopping around". However, by picking up Carrie, Bo becomes the target of Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason), whose handsome yet very simple-minded son Junior (Mike Henry) was to have been Carrie's groom. The remainder of the film is essentially one big high-speed chase, as Bandit and Frog attract continuous attention from local and state police while Snowman barrels eastward with the Coors beer. Despite leaving his home jurisdiction, Sheriff Justice and his son continue to pursue Bandit, even as various mishaps cause their squad car to disintegrate around them. Bandit and Snowman are greatly assisted by a number of colorful characters met along the way, many of whom they contact through their CB radios; these acquaintances allow them to escape police pursuit on numerous occasions.
QUESTIONS: Neither Justice nor any of the other police officers are ever aware of Snowman's illegal cargo of Coors. Despite all the pursuit Sheriff Buford T Justice, how did the Bandit make it? What the bandit and snowman hauling in that truck? Why did the Bandit take a new deal instead of the money? Where did Frog come from and who was she? Why was Frog trying to escape from the sheriff in the first place?
MY THOUGHTS: I give this picture 8 weasel stars for not only its action but the comedy also.
Smokey and the Bandit
Directed by: Hal Needham, 1977
`What we're dealing with here is a total lack of respect for the law!' - Buford T. Justice, as played by Jackie Gleason.
Irresponsible but extremely agile and charming car-chase comedy.
Smuggling beer from Texarkana to Atlanta, the Bandit (in his black '77 Special Edition Trans Am) has Smokey in hot pursuit from start to finish. Former stuntman turned director Hal Needham makes the most of everything, and the country and western music by Jerry Reed is marvellous.
The entire cast is excellent. Jackie Gleason as Sheriff Buford T. Justice is an institution to this very day, while Burt Reynolds and Sally Field made for a terrific pairing.
Reynolds' scene with Gleason at the truck stop, striking up a conversation, is one of the most memorable comedic scenes in movie history.
Jerry Reed also added to the likability of this film, not only with his sidekick role but his catchy movie title song that I can still hum to this day.
My only complaint here is my pet peeve: the usage of the Lord's name in vain which shouldn't be that prevalent in a comedy. Here it's abused more than a dozen times, mostly by Jackie Gleason. This is "Ralph Kramden" gone into the sewer with GDs coming out of his mouth left and right and a ridiculous insulting stereotype (Liberals love this) of southern cops. Gleason isn't funny; he's disgusting.
Otherwise, the film was low-brow funny and big, big hit.