Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1977. Universal Pictures, Rastar Pictures. Story by Hal Needham, Robert L. Levy, Screenplay by James Lee Barrett, Charles Shyer, Alan Mandel. Cinematography by Bobby Byrne. Produced by Mort Engelberg. Music by Bill Justis, Jerry Reed. Production Design by Mark W. Mansbridge. Film Editing by Mark W. Mansbridge, Angelo Ross. Academy Awards 1977. Golden Globe Awards 1977.
Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed are hired to move a truckload of Coors beer from Texas to Georgia (something that was illegal at the time) in barely more than a day, which they’re happy to do for the fat payload waiting for them at the end of it. Reynolds’ part of the deal is to drive a sexy sports car as distraction for the cops from the big rig that Reed is in charge of, the process a smooth one but for two interruptions: a bridal-gowned chorus girl (Sally Field) escaping her wedding and a hot-tempered sherriff (Jackie Gleason) whose pursuit of both the bootleggers and the runaway bride is so obsessive that destroying his car won’t slow him down. Efficient in execution and loaded with laughs, this film wisely avoids unnecessary subplots or back story, it’s just one long chase that is pulled off with impressive stunt driving and strong direction by Hal Needham.