R.I.P. The Bandit

Smokey and the Bandit Official Trailer - Burt Reynolds Movie (1977)

Burt Reynolds.

Sad news that Burt Reynolds has died, aged 82. Star of “Smokey and the Bandit” one of the greatest movies of all time.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen “Smokey and the Bandit”, it has to be more than any other film I’ve seen and to many that role is Burt Reynolds. He is the Bandit, fast action, ladies man. Doing it “For the good old American life: For the money, for the glory, and for the fun… mostly for the money.”

And there was some money as Reynolds was one of the highest grossing stars of the 1970s. Though born in the north, he’d moved down south as a kid and it was the Southern movies that made his name in the 70s, after the Western roles of the 60s.

“Deliverance” was the start then onto Gator McKlusky in “White Lightning”, reprised later in “Gator”, Paul “Wrecking” Crewe in “The Longest Yard” (Mean Machine) and Bo Darville, “Bandit” in “Smokey and the Bandit”.

Amongst all those cracking flicks were some less comedic output, mainly cop/detective flicks, like “Shamus” and “Hustle”, returning to the comedy with another piece of pure Hal Needham in “Hooper”, which ended with bloopers in the credits, one of the first to do that and would be included in a number of Reynolds’ films after. All helped him to be the biggest box office star in the US, which carried on into the early 80s and the likes of “Cannonball Run” and “Sharky’s Machine”.

It kind of went down hill in the 80s and into the 90s, crap flicks, crap marriages, disappearing money. Though I’ve always liked the 1989 “Breaking In”. There was the odd decent thing later on but you think of Burt Reynolds and you think of the 1970s and you think of one big car chase. That tache, that laugh.

They used to show a series of movies on TV in Britain when a big star died, doubt they’ll do it with Burt – all the flicks above should be shown, can’t remember when the last time any of them were, bar SatB and “Cannonball Run” – probably just get SatB on at some stupid time on ITV, so that they cut it and make it almost unwatchable.

The Bandit joins the Snowman who died just over ten years ago, almost to the day.

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