Smokey and the Bandit (1977): Needham’s Action Comedy, Starring Burt Reynolds and Sally Field

Smokey and the Bandit, the directorial debut of stuntman Hal Needham, stars Burt Ryenolds and Sally Field in a fun to watch action comedy, whose success led to two sequels and many more imitations.

Released on May 20, 1977, Smokey and the Bandit was the year’s second highest-grossing picture.

Wealthy Texan Big Enos Burdette and his son Little Enos seek a trucker to bootleg Coors to Georgia. Big Enos has sponsored a racer in Atlanta’s Southern Classic and wants to celebrate when he wins.
They find local legend Bo “Bandit” Darville at a rodeo in Atlanta and offer him $80,000 to pick up 400 cases of Coors from Texakana and bring it back to Atlanta in 28 hours.
Bandit takes the bet and recruits his partner Cledus “Snowman” Snow to drive the truck, while Bandit drives a black Pontiac Trans Am, bought on an advance from the Burdettes as a “blocker” to divert attention away from the truck and illegal cargo.

They arrive in Texarkana an hour ahead of schedule, load the truck and head back toward Atlanta.

Upon starting the run’s second leg, Bandit is stopped by runaway bride Carrie who hitches a ride with him, making Bandit a target of Sheriff Buford T. Justice, a Texas lawman whose son Junior was Carrie’s bridegroom.

Ignoring his own jurisdiction, Sheriff Justice, with dimwitted Junior in tow, pursues Bandit all the way to Georgia to get Carrie back, even as various mishaps cause his cruiser to disintegrate around them.

Running time: 97 Minutes

Released by Universal