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White Lightning (1973)


No Reviews Yet...

Release Date: Oct 22, 1973 Limited



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 1,500

My Rating

Movie Info

When the police pick up Gator McKlusky (Burt Reynolds) for running moonshine, they agree to let him out of jail if he will help them capture the key figures in his moonshine operation. Since the suspected ring leader is the man who killed Gator's little brother, he agrees to help out the cops to get himself out of prison and get his revenge. ~ Iotis Erlewine, Rovi


Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics

William W. Norton

Jul 15, 2003

United Artists

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All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (1) | DVD (1)

Shot through with radiant natural light and Reynolds's scalawag grin

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: CinePassion

The film has plenty of rip-roaring car chases (Hal Needham was the stunt coordinator), but it also has genuine emotion, in the pain and anger the hero feels over the loss of his brother and in the incidental reactions and attitudes of almost every support

June 15, 2007

Burt, moonshine, car chases. What's not to like?

October 8, 2005
Fantastica Daily

The quintessential "good ol' boy" picture.

August 17, 2001 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for White Lightning

Both a hoot and a holler!
March 2, 2011

Super Reviewer

White Lightning is a terrific action/drama that tells the story of a hard-driving moonshiner named Gator McKlusky (Burt Reynolds) who is released from prison early in exchange for any help he can give the government with its case against his fellow moonshiners. Gator, however, has his own agenda and it has nothing to do with his altruistic nature. It seems that Sheriff J.C. Connors (Ned Beatty) of Bogen County is not only one of the biggest moonshiners in Arkansas, he's also responsible for killing Gator's brother. And Gator wants revenge.

One of the coolest things about White Lightning is that it presents Burt Reynolds as an actor at the top of his game. This was a Burt Reynolds who seemed to actually care about the final product and not just yucking it up with his buddies on screen. White Lightning was made before Burt became a clown, mugging for the camera. That's not to say there isn't any humor in White Lightning ? it's just used judiciously. Burt is joined by phenomenal cast. In addition to Ned Beatty (who's perfect as the Sheriff), R.G. Armstrong, Bo Hopkins, Diane Lane, and Dabbs Greer give solid, memorable performances. In fact, I can't think of a single actor that bothered me. The movie was helped tremendously by the decision to film in rural Arkansas. I lived in the South all my life and everything from the locations to the sweat dripping off Burt's chin had a feeling of authenticity. It all felt real to me. Finally, the plot is just terrific, mixing in just the right amount of high speed car chases, brutal looking fight scenes, and dramatic conversations. It drew me in right from the start and held my attention throughout. Overall, it's a well-made, entertaining movie.
September 3, 2008
David Ladd

Super Reviewer

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