Smokey and the Bandit (1977) Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed, Jackie Gleason, Mike Henry Movie Review

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Burt Has Some Smokey Bacon

As a child I loved watching "Smokey and the Bandit", the car chases combined with the cockiness and charisma of Burt Reynolds was pure entertainment. Ironically watching "Smokey and the Bandit" again for the first time in a very long time it is again the car chases combined with the cockiness and charisma of Burt Reynolds which still entertained me. But it is only now that I realise what a slim movie "Smokey and the Bandit" is, short on story to the point it almost doesn't have one and borders on a movie which is just about the sex appeal of Reynolds.

With the state patrol blocking anyone trying to transport beer across the state line, Big Ennis (Pat McCormick) and Little Ennis (Paul Williams) offer the Bandit (Burt Reynolds - Reel Love) a stack of cash if he will go to Texas pick up the beer and return all in under 28 hours. And so Bandit and his friend Cledus (Jerry Reed) head to Texas to do just that, partly for the money and partly because people say it can't be done. But on the way back Bandit finds himself picking up Carrie (Sally Field - Sybil), a hitch hiker in a wedding dress; what he doesn't realise is that she is a run away bride and her bridegroom is Junior (Mike Henry), the son of Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) who is hot on their trail.

Mike Henry and Jackie Gleason in Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

The simple fact is that back in 1977 when he starred in "Smokey and the Bandit" Burt Reynolds was one if not the biggest and most bankable movie stars of the day. And as such "Smokey and the Bandit" is a movie which trades on that, it trades on Reynolds popularity and what people saw in him. So we have him being the confident and charismatic charmer who rides his luck, laughs in the face of the law, winds them up and constantly has a cheeky grin on his face and occasionally winks at the camera.

And for the most that is what "Smokey and the Bandit" is all about because it is certainly not a movie with a story. Okay so we have the setup of the illegal beer run and doing an 1800 mile roundtrip in 28 hours with the added romantic element of Bandit and Carrie but it is such a slim storyline that you wonder how they had the audacity to make a movie out of it. Yet ironically it works and I am sure that if they had tried to add anymore depth or subplots to the story it would have messed it up.

So what that means is that other than watching the cheeky Bandit wind up Sheriff Buford T. Justice we get a lot of car scenes, in fact 80% of the movie is car scenes. From great stunts such as a bridge jump to comic crashes as the top of a police car gets sliced off it is full of action. In honesty watching it all now it does become monotonous during the final 10 minutes but it is all great up until that point.

Other than that well we have the adorable and cute Sally Field playing Carrie and Jerry Reed playing Cledus but the other really eye catching performance is from Jackie Gleason as Sheriff Buford T. Justice. Now I had forgotten certain aspects of the movie until I rewatched it and lets just say I doubt some of the humour which Gleason delivers would pass today, well when he says "The First Thing I'm Gonna Do When I Get Home Is Punch Your Momma In The Mouth" you do think what!

What this all boils down to is that "Smokey and the Bandit" is a guilty pleasure because it is short on so much which I usually look for in a good movie. But thanks to some great car stunts and the charisma of Burt Reynolds it is still entertaining, often for the wrong reasons.