“What we are dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law.”
After two truckers — Bandit (Burt Reynolds) and Cledus (Jerry Reed) — accept a proposition to haul beer illegally across state lines, they pick up a hitchhiking bride (Sally Field) running away from her wedding, and are pursued by her jilted fiance (Mike Henry) and his sheriff-dad (Jackie Gleason).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Burt Reynolds Films
- Car Chase
- Cat and Mouse
- Sally Field Films
Stuntman-turned-director Hal Needman made his directorial debut with this box office hit — the second highest grossing film after Star Wars (1977) — starring real-life couple Burt Reynolds and Sally Field. Thankfully, Reynolds and Field have chemistry to spare, and help move the romantic angle of this jam-packed car chase flick along nicely.
Gleason is as blustery and pompous as his one-dimensional role calls for:
… while country-western singer-songwriter Reed does nicely in his crucial supporting performance:
… and diminutive Paul Williams (villainous Swan from Phantom of the Paradise) is well-cast as the shorter half of a pair of big-wheelers who book-end the film.
The real stars of this show, however, are the powerful Trans Ams (three were used during filming) and all the helpful truckers who save the day time and again for Bandit and his mates.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
- Burt Reynolds and Sally Field’s chemistry
- Many impressive stunts
- A fun fourth-wall-breaking moment
- Bill Justis and Jerry Reed’s score
Yes, once, for its historical significance.