Walking Tall - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Walking Tall Reviews

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½ May 21, 2016
Joe Don Baker kicks some serious ass in this Straw Dogs wannabe...that works!!!1
½ May 21, 2016
Probably my favorite example of rednecksploitation. The great Joe Don Baker plays 2x4 swinging Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser The story is based upon the real-life exploits of Sheriff Pusser (a name no one would ever make up for a movie) and the story goes that he's wronged by a corrupt local sheriff and backwoods crime boss. Passer runs for sheriff and then seeks to clean up his town. The story is nothing all that special, but the film is undeniably compelling. What I also love about this film is that it practically feels like a subculture type of film, revealing a world I'd previously had no idea existed, There are plenty of violent revenge exploitation pictures, but few of them feature a paunchy hero, crime bosses who look like friends of your grandparents, action heros and villains driving around station wagons (or occasionally tractors), odd looking backwoods bar/gambling house/den of ill repute in what looks like a couple double wides slammed together, and very sketchy looking moonshine stills. I could go on, but this film really seems to be a glimpse of a very odd American south of the early 70s, which almost seems like it's in a time warp when compared to other films coming out this same year, like "Across 110th Street." I have no idea if this is an accurate portrayal of the place and time, but regardless of the films story and actions, which are excellent, I would have found the film fascinating to just watch this depiction of rural southern life (not that I'd ever want to be a part of it). I'm sure it was not the intention of director Phil Karlson, a talented journeyman director with film credits going back to the 1940s, but this film is arguably as good as a Wim Wenders or Werner Herzog film in terms of capturing a time and place on film. Now don't get me wrong, this film is absolutely not high hart and is pure grindhouse exploitation, but it is exploitation of the first order. Overall, this is not a film for all tastes, but if this sort of drive-in fare is your thing, it's a wildly compelling and entertaining film.
February 3, 2015
Who ever said what this depict a bad patch of US history and about the people who stood against.
December 16, 2014
Sem ser um filme extraordinário, "Walking Tall" é de toda a relevância na evolução da figura do vigilante no cinema norte-americano. Nessa linhagem de justiceiros inconformados, o homem de família Buford Pusser (inspirado pelo Xerife com o mesmo nome) tem a particularidade de ser um ex-wrestler que fugiu a um sistema para encontrar outro ainda mais vicioso (um county totalmente manipulado por chulos e bootleggers). A esse aspecto curioso junta-se o facto de Pusser intervir normalmente com um grande pau na mão (o que naturalmente lhe confere uma presença bíblica), em vez da habitual arma de fogo. Mas armas é coisa que não falta ao inferno sulista de "Walking Tall" e esta história claramente pro-violência parece, a partir de certa altura, defender que até os putos devem pegar numa espingarda, se isso for necessário para proteger a família. Meia-estrela é inteiramente atribuída ao carisma de Joe Don Baker neste que deve ser o filme de culto de muitos associados do NRA.
½ September 19, 2014
Classic revenge story that remains one of the best of the genre, thanks to Joe Don Baker's towering performance & gritty film making. Baker gives the performance of his career, with the right mix of physique, charisma & intelligence that you believe he could both walk into a bar & tear it apart while inspire people to elect him sheriff. Behind the camera, director Phil Karlson crafts a gritty crime drama that pulls no punches, especially in showing the cost Pusser pays in his crusade. It's also nice to see a film set in the south where southerns are treated as idiots with a diverse cast (interesting note is when the local Dixie mafia meets, it's a woman who heads them up) that doesn't shy away from issues of race as well. The one downside is that it does get melodramatic at times, especially the rest of the cast's acting. Nevertheless, a standard bearer of the revenge genre.
March 22, 2014
My favorite movie of all time. I love this movie it is one of my all time favorite.
½ February 15, 2014
Southern-fried vigitantism based on a true story
½ February 1, 2014
About a sheriff (Joe Don Baker) that dishes out vigilante justice to the local crocks using a big stick instead of guns. The movie soon gets more personal as his families lives starts to be threatened due to Bufords vigilante methods and he seeks justice for the killing of his wife.

It's sort of like a country version of Dirty Harry. Very macho type of film with some good drama thrown in.
November 20, 2013
"Walk softly and carry a big stick."--A compelling,intense,fictionalized account of Sheriff Buford Pusser!!
October 12, 2013
A much underrated actor Joe Don Baker plays ex boxer turned sheriff who decided to stop, drugs,crime and prostitution in his own town, Based on a true story, On Sherriff Pusser, who; s daughter has just written a book about him,Some people viewed him as a lawless thug, others a hero, but Baker takes you back in time to live the gritty story with absolute relish.A classic in every way, Though several attempts were made on his life,Pusser's death was never explain and foul play was suspected. It's a great story actions by a sheriff that could not be gotten away with now, but then it was a different story.
August 3, 2013
I loved it. I still want one of those sticks.
July 3, 2013
Joe Don Baker is one bad mutha f**kin sheriff out to rid the scum off the streets of his home town. He throws away the rule book and sets out to serve justice with his beloved 2x4 and vigliante style brand of justice.
May 23, 2013
A devistatingly dull mess.
Super Reviewer
April 16, 2013
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.
March 6, 2013
Joe Don Baker is one bad mutha fuckin sheriff out to rid the scum off the streets of his home town. He throws away the rule book and sets out to serve justice with his beloved 2x4 and vigliante style brand of justice.
October 14, 2012
I loved the original, but was excited for this update to the movie. I love the Rock, I think he isn't given enough credit. I just love this story anyway, of a guy getting rid of the trouble in his town.
½ July 12, 2012
I evidently rated this as a 7/10 long ago. I'll keep it at that though it's probably closer to a 6/10. It's one of my dad's favorite movies, and I bought him the trilogy for father's day. Ha before watching it, he reminded me that it's a 70s movie. Still!

The story carries the movie: that of a former wrestler and bear of a man who returns home only to find the outlaws (kinda) have overtaken the town. He fights them a bit, the decides the only way to really effect change is to become the sheriff. So he does, but the fight does not get any easier. I will say this: it was evidently good enough to remake with Dwayne Johnson a few years back. And even back in the 70s, there were two sequels. So while it easy to judge it (but I do watch lots of old movies and it's still relatively shoddy even against movies of its own era), it was definitely a success in its day.

My dad is particularly fond of Joe Don Baker as the hero Buford Pusser. I think he could be the weak link. As one who does not like the hick-ish view of things, this reincarnation of a real life Pusser strikes me as an anti-intellect. Sure, he looks cool with his big stick when he's bashing in brains, but what if your shit gets stolen and you need someone to actually investigate something? Yeah, yeah, not quite the storyline in an action flick.
½ January 19, 2012
one of the best revenge movies of the era
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