Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Movie Title: Smokey and the Bandit

Year Released: 1977

Rated: PG

Runtime: 1h 36min

Genre: Action, Romance, Comedy

Director: Hal Needham

Writer: James Lee Barrett, Charles Shyer, Alan Mandel

Starring: Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed, Mike Henry

Review: Big Enos (Pat McCormick) wants to drink Coors at a truck show, but in 1977 it was illegal to sell Coors east of the Mississippi River without a permit. Truck driver Bo "Bandit" Darville (Burt Reynolds) agrees to pick up the beer in Texas and drive it to Georgia within 28 hours. When Bo picks up hitchhiker Carrie (Sally Field), he attracts the attention of Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason). Angry that Carrie will not marry his son, Justice embarks on a high-speed chase after Bandit. Smokey and the Bandit has a simple premise in that it's basically one long car chase. With that said, the driving stunt work is fantastic and authentic. The cat and mouse relationship between Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason provides for many hilarious moments and memorable quotes. Reynolds steals the show with his charismatic charm, affability, and a barrage of witty quips. Gleason is absolutely hysterical as the grizzled Texan sheriff. Sally Field's romantic chemistry with Reynolds is perfect, as the two were in the early stages of a real life, off-screen relationship at the time this movie was filmed. None of the story is meant to be taken too seriously, but it's a heartwarming, charming, and entertaining comedy with plenty of re-watch value. Next time you're in the mood to watch a '70s classic, grab yourself a diablo sandwich and a Dr. Pepper, and sit back and relax with Smokey and the Bandit!

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Hal Needham asked Jerry Reed to write a theme song for the film. A couple of hours later, Reed presented "East Bound and Down" to Needham. With an acoustic guitar, Reed started to play it and Needham immediately stopped him. Thinking Needham didn't like it, Reed offered to re-write the song. To which Needham replied: "If you change one note, I'll kill you!" The song went on to become one of Reed's biggest hits.


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