Walking Tall (1973)
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Walking Tall Videos & Photos
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 vengeance by killing Pusser's wife (Elizabeth Hartman), the you-know-what really hits the fan! Never resorting to subtlety, Walking Tall was such a winner that it spawned two sequels, a made-for-television movie, and a weekly TV series -- none of which were enjoyed by the real Buford Pusser, who had long since died under questionable circumstances. At the time of the film's theatrical release, the MPAA rating system was comparatively new, so the studio launched an ad campaign aimed at parents, letting them know that the R-rated Walking Tall contained violence and not sex, and therefore was good family entertainment. … More
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as Buford Pusser
as Lutie McVeigh
as Luan Paxton
as Prentiss Parley
as Obra Eaker
as Arno Purdy
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 Mike Pusser
as Dwana Pusser
as Ferrin Meaks
as Dice Player
as Otie Doss
as Jury Foreman
as Hassie Berlson
as Virgil Button
as Sheriff Tanner
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Critic Reviews for Walking Tall
its broad strokes leave no room for anything so pussified or liberal as a moral compass
... the film was a sensation, becoming a big hit and spawning a whole industry of southern-fried vigilante lawman action pictures.
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.
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.
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.
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