Walking Tall (1973)

Walking Tall




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Walking Tall Videos & Photos

Movie Info

A runaway box-office hit to the tune of 17 million dollars, Walking Tall is the unabashedly manipulative story of real-life Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser. As played by Joe Don Baker, Pusser can either be regarded as a tireless champion of justice or a baseball-bat-wielding hooligan. But with some of the most scurrilous villains this side of a Republic serial as the main targets of Pusser's wrath, the audience cannot help but applaud the sheriff's strongarm methods. When the town baddies seek … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Mort Briskin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 21, 1998

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as Buford Pusser

as Lutie McVeigh

as Thurman

as Jaggers

as Luan Paxton

as Prentiss Parley

as Obra Eaker

as Margie Ann

as Lutie McVeigh

as Sheldon Levine

as Judge Clarke

as Dr. Lamar Stivers

as Willie Rae Lockman

as Zolan Dicks

as Lester Dickens

as John Witter

as Augie McCullah

as Grandma Pusser

as Singer

as Mike Pusser

as Dwana Pusser

as Ferrin Meaks

as Bouncer

as Bouncer

as Grandpa

as Dice Player

as Stickman

as Otie Doss

as Prosecutor

as Jury Foreman

as Hassie Berlson

as Virgil Button

as Sheriff Tanner
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Critic Reviews for Walking Tall

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

May 30, 2001
AV Club
Top Critic

its broad strokes leave no room for anything so pussified or liberal as a moral compass

Full Review… | September 26, 2012
Film Freak Central

... the film was a sensation, becoming a big hit and spawning a whole industry of southern-fried vigilante lawman action pictures.

Full Review… | May 19, 2012

A new, and arguably improved, Walking Tall, starring pro wrestler-turned-actor, The Rock.

Full Review… | April 25, 2007
Princeton Town Topics

Audience Reviews for Walking Tall

Forget the remake featuring The Rock,cause it doesn't even compare to the original. However,this was weirdly marketed as a right wing screed upon its initial release in 1973(and became a surprise runaway boxoffice hit especially a huge following within the drive-in theatre circuit in the South where some theatres ran it for over a year).Walking Tall was a really tragic,graphically violent post-noir film based on the life and times of Tennessee county sheriff Buford Pusser. However,Joe Don Baker gives a riveting and powerful performance as Pusser who was determined and hell bent to force of crime and corruption out of his town at great personal expense,not to mention taking on the syndicate(The Dixie Mafia). Directed with an intentionally crude force by Phil Karlson,one of the toughest filmmakers of the 1950's and 1960's. Here,the film's grimness doesn't let up and neither does the scenes of raw language and strong graphic violence that gave this film a strong influence of the racial stride and hatred that went on in the South. Interesting note about this picture...It was produced by BCP Productions which was Bing Crosby's production company(yes folks,Bing Crosby was still around in 1973)and theatrically released through Cinerama Releasing Corporation. The theme song was done by none other than the great Johnny Mathis. Elizabeth Hartman(plays Pusser's wife) and Noah Beery also star in this runaway boxoffice hit which was one of the sixth highest grossing films of 1973 behind "The Exorcist", "American Graffiti", "Enter The Dragon",and "The Sting". The success of Walking Tall spawned two sequels "Walking Tall Chapter 2"(1975),and "Walking Tall:The Final Chapter"(1977),a short-lived television series and two prequels starring Dewayne "The Rock" Johnson and Kevin "Hercules" Sorbo.

Mister Caple

Super Reviewer

I saw this after seeing the remake, and I have to say that this one is a lot stronger. I really liked it, it's realistic, even with the violence. The beginning is a little slow, but it doesn't matter, the rest is great. I really liked this movie.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


Southern-fried justice, holding a big stick.
This film was a delicious slice of Americana kick-ass and Joe Don Baker is amazingly effective as the human embodiment of a Timex watch, playing a real dude Bufford Pusser.
Although this film is longish, it doesn't drag and it is jam packed with content and doesn't really loose momentum as it barrels down a hill made of Buford's desire to take the law into his own hands. AND it has a car chase, with a pick-up and a squad car, how great is that.
There are some glaring political incorrectness that borders on offensive but it comes with the time as this film's era sticks out like a me at a hip-hop.
Although the filmmaking was intentionally crude you can see the boom mic peeks into shots and hang out more times than you can count.
That being said it's a classic. See this and for get about Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Sorbo, their films don't even have Bufford Pusser, and he's some kind of guy.

Patrick Dolan

Super Reviewer

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