A race car driver tries to transport an illegal beer shipment from Texas to Atlanta in under 28 hours, picking up a reluctant bride-to-be on the way.
Pedal to the metal in this ripper of a good time. Smokey and the Bandit is directed by Hal Needham and the screenplay is collectively written by James Lee Barrett, Charles Shyer and Alan Mandel; from a story by Needham and Robert L. Levy. It stars Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed and Mike Henry. Music is by Bill Justis and Jerry Reed and cinematography by Bobby Byrne. 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