BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Howdy, 3.5 readers, y’all got your ears on?

BQB here with a review of Burt Reynolds’ greatest movie.

It’s the late 1970s.  The Bandit (Reynolds) is a notorious driver, known along the open road by truckers as an awesome dude.

The fabulously wealthy (and eccentric) father/son duo, Big and Little Enos get their kicks off of betting drivers that they won’t be able to transport booze across state lines within a certain time period.  Although alcohol is legal, transporting it in large quantities across state lines without the proper permits is considered illegal bootlegging.

Bandit takes the bet, agreeing to move 400 cases of Coors from Texas to Georgia within 28 hours.  He runs blocker car in a badass Trans-Am, while his buddy, Cledus (Jerry Reed) drives the rig full of beer with his hound dog Fred in the passenger seat.

Along the way, Bandit picks-up hitchhiker Carrie (Sally Field), and this infuriates Texas Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason aka the Smokey) as Carrie was about to marry his son until she got cold feet and ran.

It’s obvious that Gleason loved playing this character.  Outside of playing bus driver Ralph on “The Honeymooners” this role is the one other role that he’ll be remembered for.  Buford’s character essentially invented the movie stereotype of the fat Southern Sheriff who thinks a little too highly of himself and lives to persecute unsuspecting motorists….except in this instance, Bandit probably deserves it yet you root for him anyway.

The movie is essentially a series of skits and stunts strung together as drivers throughout the country get on their CB radios to cheer Bandit on and pull of schemes to get in Justice’s way so its smooth sailing for Bandit.  There’s one cool scene in which a series of rigs coordinate to hide Bandit from the Smokey.

Anyway…it’s cool.  It’s funny.  And Burt was allowed to play Bandit as a man…a manly man…a dude who likes beer and fast cars and he doesn’t get the girl by crying or being a metrosexual or sharing his feelings.  He gets her by being a manly mustache wearing stud who occasionally offers a witty remark or funny one liner.

God, I hope Hollywood never remakes this.  They’ll probably make a female Bandit or something.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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