S is for Smokey and the Bandit

So much choice for my choice of ‘S’ movie. Star Wars? Star Trek? Sneakers? Slither? Signs?

All good choices. But no. S is for… Smokey and the Bandit. Oh my.

1977. 6.8 stars. But! Nominated for an Oscar! Bet you didn’t know that, did you? It was also the second-highest grossing film of 1977, beaten only by a little film going by the name of Star Wars…

It was also one of Hitchcock’s guilty pleasures. And if it’s good enough for Alfred, it’s good enough for me.

Buford T. Justice: What we’re dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law.

The plot. Big Enos Burdette & his son, Little Enos, bet Bo ‘Bandit’ Darville that he can’t drive from Atlanta, GA, to Texarkana TX, pick up 400 cases of Coors and drive them back to Atlanta in 28 hours. If he does, the Bandit gets eighty thousand dollars…

Hijinks ensue. Oh boy, do they ensue.

Bandit (Burt Reynolds, on fine form and with trousers which would give David Bowie’s Labyrinth strides a run for their money in the scene stealing department) teams up with his old buddyย Cledus “Snowman” Snow (Jerry Reed, who sang the title song) to do the run – Bandit in a black Pontiac Trans Am which he’ll use to block for Snowman in his rig.

At 96 minutes, we’ve already established that it’s the perfect length for a film. Bandit and Snowman take the first 15 minutes to get to Texarkana, load up with Coors and turn for home. I’ll let Bandit tell you what the problem is…

Bandit: The problem is that Coors beer, you take that east of Texas and that’s bootleggin’

Shortly thereafter, Bandit runs into Carrie (Sally Field, mmm), a bride running away from her wedding. Her father-in-law-to-be is one Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason), of Texas. And the sheriff wants the bride back.

Smokey and the Bandit is one long, beautiful chase movie through Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. The stunts are splendid, the banter between the Bandit, Snowman, Frog and Buford is wonderful. Buford’s son, Junior is as gloriously dim as a bag of spanners. The Trans Am roars along as only a Trans Am can.

Bandit inspired a whole raft of other movies and TV. Chase movies of the late seventies and early eighties are a favourite of mine – the Cannonball Run (also starring Mr Reynolds) is also splendid fun if you’re in the mood.

Now, if we’re being *really* picky, the drive from Atlanta to Texarkana isn’t the 900 miles that Bandit claims – it’s more like 670. Google Maps (bless ’em), puts the drive time at just over ten hours, meaning they’d easily beat the 28-hour limit even driving at the speed limit.

Darn you, Google Maps, you spoiler of movies, you. ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s my guilty pleasure film (one of very very many). What’s yours?


previously, on The A-Z Challenge
A is for Alien
B is for The Breakfast Club
C is for Catching Fire
D is for Die Hard
E is for The Empire Strikes Bank
F is for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
G is for Goldfinger (and GoldenEye)
H is for Howl’s Moving Castle
I is for Inception
J is for Jurassic Park
K is for Kung Fu Panda
L is for Labyrinth
M is for Moon
N is for National Treasure
O is for Oldboy
P is for Pitch Black
Q is for Quantum of Solace
R is for The Raid

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

17 thoughts on “S is for Smokey and the Bandit”

  1. Hi Just random A to Z browsing and have enjoyed reading through your selection of films, several of which are my utter favourites, I was shocked to read that Breakfast Club is 30 years old!!!

  2. On the point about the distance between Texarkana and Atlanta: a lot of roads have been built in the Deep South in the last 37 years. Also, the speed limit on American highways changed from 55mph to 70mph between then and now.

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