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Smokey and the Bandit


Burt Reynolds had one of the biggest hits of his career with Smokey and the Bandit, the feel good action comedy of 1977 that struck such a chord with movie audiences that it was the number #2 box office attraction of 1977, exceeded only by a little something called Star Wars.

Reynolds is at the height of his good ol' boy charm here as the Bandit, a smart-aleck rodeo cowboy who is drafted by a snotty Atlanta millionaire named Big Enos Burdette (PatMcCormick) and his son Little Enos (Paul Williams) to drive to Texarcana Texas, pick up 400 cases of Coors Beer and bring them back to Atlanta in time for Big Enos' birthday party. Bandit calls on his old running partner Cletus (Jerry Reed) to actually drive the truck while Bandit clears the path in a black Trans Am. The Bandit's misison is complicated when he picks up a runaway bride (Sally Field) who has just left the son of Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason), which instigates one of the wildest man chases on various sets of wheels that has ever been committed to film.

Reynolds and director/co-screenwriter Hal Needham really knocked it out of the park here with a movie that still ignites major laughs depsite some dated elements to the plot, in particular the whole CB craze. For those who weren't around in the 70's, Citzen Band radios were sort of like walkie talkies for vehicles where motorist, truck drivers in particular, could communicate with each other from their vehicles regarding speed traps, among other things. The advent of CB's initiated a language of its own that is on prominent display in this film, and though some of it sounds a little silly in 2016, it does not deter from the fun that this movie still is, some forty years after its original release.

The other fun thing about this movie is watching the way the CB community bands around the Bandit and do anything they can do to help him in his mission. Apparently the citizen band community was a very tight one but it was also a very large one...watch as word of the Bandit's mission spreads throughout the CB community and how there is absolutely no one who is unaware of who the bandit is.

Reynolds is charming and sexy here and creates a very steamy chemistry with Field, which would manifest itself into three more films together and a long real-life romance. Jackie Gleason is comic perfection as the red-necked sheriff and Mike Henry is also very funny as his son. Definitely part of the "Just put your brain in check and enjoy" genre, but one of the best.