Smokey and the Bandit - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Smokey and the Bandit Reviews

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January 20, 2016
There's not much to the story, but who cares? This is such a fun, sexy hoot that you don't need much of an excuse to watch Burt Reynolds take Sally Field for the ride of her life in his Pontiac Trans-Am. And Jackie Gleason as Sheriff Buford T. Justice is about as funny a performance as you'll ever find in a movie.
October 16, 2015
This is a film that I hadn't revisited since childhood, and I can happily say that it was every bit as fun as it was way back then. The epic cross country chase between Reynolds and Jackie Gleason's increasingly destroyed police cruiser are iconic images forever emblazoned on my brain, and it was fun to give it another spin after all these years.

September 20, 2015
Fun characters and plenty of car stunts and action. This movie just seems to ooze 70s. I like it, but I like road trip movies and films from this era.
September 5, 2015
Not much of a script but the chemistry between these actors more than makes up for it.Gleason steals every scene he's in with one of the best comedy characters of not only the 70's but all-time.
½ November 4, 2012
While it might have been decent in its time, this rollicking country-fried car chase flick hasn't aged well at all. I can't really say anything much about the story, other than it seems rather than and a little contrived. I probably wouldn't expect much, considering this is a film whose primary methods of storytelling are car chases and trucker slang. The characters aren't much, and many of them have only the bare minimum of personality. I get the sense that the writers were trying to pass the Bandit as a modern day cowboy, and at least they accomplished that. He's brash, he's crude, and he seems to constantly flout the law wherever he goes. Speaking of that, you know you're watching a film with bad writing if the antagonist is someone you're flat out supposed to hate. Case in point, the eponymous Sheriff Smokey (a.k.a. Buford T. Justice) is deliberately unlikable, mostly because he shouts at people who, for the most part, haven't done anything wrong. It just seems like the writers want you to side with the jerkass cowboy without question, ensuring that with a poorly written police sheriff. The production values are actually fairly good for the time, and the music isn't too bad, but it doesn't make up for an action-comedy with so-so car chases and barely and a largely unfunny script.
August 19, 2015
Smokey and the Bandit is an action comedy/adventure movie that takes all the seriousness of a true chase movie and throws it away, only to introduce a fun old time and even the most dangerous times are taken in leisurely by the main characters. With American muscle cars screeching at every corner, and really quite annoying police sirens everywhere, this is one movie that although flawed in places, is still very much OK

Burt Reynolds is the main man around the highways playing the Bandit Bo Darville, who's reckless driving and blatant disregard for the law are seen as a good thing(but we have to support the good guys right?). Jackie Gleason as the old Sheriff Buford T.Justice is good, pretty funny and he just makes you dislike him even though you kind of want to see more of him, the partnership between him and his deputy(who also happens to be his son) is a little stupid at times, but nevertheless still kind of funny. Sally Field is OK as Carrie a bride who well doesn't want to get married and meets the Bandit, the chemistry between all involved is pretty tight, and the director does a good job on that.

And on that note the director, Hal Needham, whose direction takes the film in a nice direction, fast paced and well timed but also with a few scatterings of jokes. The few times the movie is funny are probably outweighed by the poor jokes involved, I don't think it is the delivery that is off, the script just doesn't always make the joke come off right, and so your left either cringing or very mildly laughing, VERY mildly. It's basically the kind of movie to be enjoyed if you want fast pace as I say, look into too much and you'll just start to dislike it, I for one didn't take it seriously and found it alright.

I mean this movie grossed into the hundreds of millions, whether it deserves that is another question but does prove to me how big this movie was and possibly still is. That said this movie is not great, I mean as I have been saying it is satisfactory but far from very good, a movie that gives off the kind of vibe that it was going for just OK from start to finish. I think Burt Reynolds is a good addition to the movie; his presence is welcome and makes the movie a little more fun too, even with his very calm demeanour.

Overall the movie is as said throughout OK, never reaching the any true heights but still finishing up nicely. I would recommend this to those from the 70's, well OK not just people from the 70's, also those who enjoy good old fashioned fun and likeable characters, all mixed in a barely just about funny movie. This spawned two sequels and a TV series, some could say that shows success but for me it shows a film grossing well first time around and then milking the hell out of it!
July 23, 2015
Jackie Gleason carries this funny and entertaining film
Super Reviewer
½ June 24, 2015
Twas this movie that helped along the creation of the popular cult TV show 'The Dukes of Hazzard'. Not solely of course, but these fast drivin' Southern cowboys really grabbed the public's attention back in the late 70's. In an odd way, now I think about it, this franchise could well be looked upon as the 'Fast and the Furious' of its day. A lot of the interest here focuses on the automobiles, well the Pontiac Trans Am, but if you have a thing for big American rigs then you'll enjoy this too.

The premise goes like this, two mega rich Texan cowboys want a driver to smuggle a load of Coors Beer from Texas (in the west), to Georgia (in the east), within a set time limit. No particular reason for this challenge I might add, this millionaire father and son duo merely want to see if a driver can succeed in the bet, for fun, because...reasons, don't question it. The snag is, Coors Beer was not allowed to be sold east of the Mississippi River, because...I don't know. The beer was also supposedly one of the finest beers in the USA at the time, but I still have no idea why it couldn't be sold in the east. So the Bandit steps up to the challenge with his sidekick the Snowman, they gotta collect the merchandise and haul it back east, if they manage it they stand to win $80,000!

Directed by Hal Needham and the first of his movies to feature fast cars and Burt Reynolds. Back in the late 70's, early 80's there was a definite splurge of these goofy fast car comedies, very loose plots about getting from A to B in a variety of vehicles, lots of slapstick, tomfoolery and sexy ladies. These movies were pure male fodder, for young lads, petrol heads and showboaters, Reynolds was (at the time) the epitome of the cool ladies man, not necessarily big and strong but rebellious, dashing and cocky, Errol Flynn in a fast car. In this movie we see him at his peak, the tash is dark and bushy, the attire is the stereotypical southern bar-hopping US cowboy, he's laid back but also on the ball, he smokes and he drives a slick black all American Pontiac Trans Am. Its like they made the Marlboro Man the main character...but in a fast car.

Everything about this movie is all American and that's what made it so popular around the world I believe, it was an insight into (southern) American life which many people (outside the US) had never seen before. The Bandit and his partner, one driving a badass muscle car and the other driving a typical all American big rig, tearing across the southern States with the law on their tail. Despite the fact this duo are breaking the law they are made out to be the good guys, Robin Hood types, just'a good ol' boys.

On the flip side you have the police which seems to consist of two people, the fat loud Buford T. Justice played by Jackie Gleason, and Junior Justice played by Mike Henry. Its quite clear to see the similarity between these two characters and the law enforcers of Hazzard County, especially the simple Junior Justice. However the whole angle for these two seems a bit far fetched, they are merely after the Bandit because he picked up Carrie (Sally Field) who was running away from her wedding with Junior. I don't believe Buford knows about the Bandits illegal cargo, he just wants to kidnap Sally Field's character and drag her back to get married against her will. To achieve this the Sheriff crosses numerous State lines and goes way out of his jurisdiction, seems ridiculous, but then again its not a sensible movie.

If you're expecting masses of car carnage then you might be disappointed, the only real devastation we see is to Buford's police car. The Bandit gets into various scraps and sticky situations along the journey from Texas to Georgia, but naturally evades most cleanly. The various police forces that try to nab the Trans Am of course end up flippin' over, crashing into each other or getting dunked into ditches. Along the route they are assisted by many other big rig drivers and locals that all believe the Bandit to be a local southern hero. This happens via everyone's CB radios which was also became very popular at the time, lots of rapid quickfire radio gibberish flying about that sounds cool but only truckers understand. Leaves you struggling to keep up with the dialog but its impressive sounding and actually authentic.

This is a very simple concept movie, there isn't really a lot to it. There aren't that many super duper stunts in all fairness, sure there's the obligatory 'Dukes of Hazzard' jump in the Trans Am and various bits of solid driving skills on show, but don't go expecting a 'Blues Brothers' riot of wreckage. Numerous drive-by shots of the now famous black Trans Am both near, far and wide, some in the rain, some in the gleaming sunshine, tyre spins, skids etc... Same again for the Kenworth rig and its iconic trailer art, lots of lovely wide shots and close-ups, and all vehicles with many interior shots of the cast as they speed along. Most of these sequences and shots are accompanied by a pretty good country soundtrack that's enough to get your foot tapping, overall it certainly delivers on open road auto porn that's for sure.

Its easy to see why this became such a hit, it was fresh, quirky, exhilarating stuff that kick started an entire genre. What's more it can be enjoyed by all ages as it offers thrills n spills for kids and adults, its one of those movies that was often shown on TV here in the UK. Looking back in retrospect I think it just about holds up, its stupid in places with the pratfall/slapstick comedy going overboard at times (Gleason's Buford and Henry's Junior mainly), but Needham keeps it together generally. Its basically one long real car chase interspersed with cheesy visual gags, cornball cult fun stuff, pure Americana.
March 25, 2015
This movie is all kinds of fun. It's like a Roadrunner cartoon with every cop in Texas playing the Coyote. Jackie Gleason is the best. Towards the end he breaks character a little and just goes crazy with it. I'm guessing some of his scenes he improvised on the spot. Burt Reynolds doesn't have a lot going on, but that's a good thing. All you know is he's a legend and you want to help him get where he's got to go and flip some cop cars along the way. These guys are crazy. The CB radio banter is another highlight. I found Sally Field a little annoying, but she's very pretty so I wasn't complaining. She's joins Burt Reynolds because she's afraid of rejection so she rejects everything, like her wedding. It's really the story of one self-destructive person being lead by another self-destructive person. If the writers of the script were in a bad mood when they wrote the story this could have easily been a much darker movie. I'm glad the sun was shining that day because this movie is comedy gold.
½ March 16, 2015
I really wanted to like this movie more than I do. It's not that I dislike it ... I think it's very difficult to dislike. The leads are all very appealling and it's light and it's fun. I think it ends up being too light for me. It just kind of floated away from me and I remember very little of it just a few days later. It strikes me as the glossy Hollywood version of some grittier, better films that are just a bit more substantial. This film single-handedly created 1980s Burt Reynolds ... I prefer 1970s Burt all thoings considered.
½ February 6, 2015
The classic original is the best of 3 and has memorable crashes and one-liners. Never a dull moment.
September 16, 2014
Jackie Gleason was definitely at his funniest in this series of movies. Jerry Reed was enjoyable in his role of Snowman and definitely helped make the Trans-Am a popular car with teens and men alike.
February 14, 2010
(First viewing - Late teen years)
July 27, 2014
a light fun action movie
July 8, 2012
One of my all time favourite comedies, this one brings me to tears every time
July 16, 2014
The best summer comedy ever
June 27, 2014
What this film lacks in plot and character development, it more than makes up for in just how much fun this movie is. It knows what it is and runs with it. Many plot conveniences, but this simply charming outlaw is impossible to hate.
½ June 25, 2014
I loved it When that Black with Gold 6.6 Litre, T-top Pontiac Trans Am rolls out..
Jackie Gleason was a funny sumbitch
December 2, 2009
This is old-fashion fun at one of its finest.
Super Reviewer
June 1, 2014
"Smokey and the Bandit" is one of those fun movies that you can easily watch over and over again without ever getting tired. It's a movie to relax with a movie to party with, and a movie to just simply laugh with. I had a blast watching "Smokey and the Bandit," and for any country music fans out there, the soundtrack to this film is just awesome. As a man known as the Bandit is asked to import 400 cases of Coors Light Beer, the county sheriff is on a high speed chase for almost 900 miles to take him and his partner down. It is a hilarious film filled with jokes and surprisingly a few emotional/touching moments. I really really liked this film!
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