Anthony's Film Review
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
Here is a fast-paced comedy with the thrills and laughs of a crazy adventure...
Smokey and the Bandit is one of those comedy movie that derives its humor from complications and obstacles during a long journey. In this one, the journey is a road trip across several states in the Southern United States. Burt Reynolds plays a big rig truck driver and racer known as the Bandit. One day, he is offered thousands of dollars to carry out a risky task: drive a truck from Georgia to Texas, load the truck with cans of Coors beer, and drive it all back to Georgia, even if it's illegal to transport alcohol across certain state lines. The Bandit agrees, figuring that the risk is worth the money, especially as he is one hell of a fast driver. So the Bandit enlists Cledus, played by Jerry Reed, to drive the big trailer truck while the Bandit drives a Pontiac Trans Am to accompany Cledus.
Not long after picking up the beer from Texas, they face trouble. A lot of times, the Bandit is chased by state troopers who want to pull him over for, presumably, speeding. But he gladly finds ways to foil the state troopers, also known colloquially among some Southerners as Smokeys, by engaging in wild car chases until the cops crash. Basically, the Bandit's role is to be Cledus's protective escort, making sure the police don't stop the truck with the beer. Even if the Bandit and Cledus get separated, they maintain communication by talking to each other on car radios.
The funny moments are decently humorous. However, believe it or not, the real heart of this comedy comes from the dialogue and chemistry between characters. Whenever the Bandit and Cledus talk to each other via the radio, they do it in an upbeat and enthusiastic manner. They're basically two guys enjoying a free-flowing road trip across the American South. You know what else makes it even more fun? Conversations with other characters over the radio. At times, the Bandit will be speaking over the radio to various people who already know him, including other truck drivers, folks near the final destination in Georgia, and even a madam who operates a motorhome brothel. It's amazing to hear the happy comradery among the characters communicating with each other remotely, especially in situations where the Bandit has Smokeys closing in on him and his friends gladly assist to foil law enforcement and guarantee safe passage of the beer truck.
Of the complications that occur on this journey, one provides the Bandit with both a new love and a new enemy. Early on, the Bandit finds a lone bride at the side of a road. The Bandit takes her along with him and learns that this woman, named Carrie (played by Sally Field), had run away from her wedding. Now the groom and his father, the crude and stubborn Sheriff Buford T. Justice (played by Jackie Gleason), are chasing the Bandit down. The sheriff is so determined to catch the Bandit and Carrie that he'll keep up with the chase even outside his home state of Texas, and even as his car is close to being totally demolished after several crashes. It's like Wile E. Coyote never giving up in his pursuit of the speedy Road Runner.
Really, this movie is nothing but simple good fun. You'll love the characters in this movie, whether it's the main characters like Bandit and Cledus or the various supporting characters like the Smokeys. And you'll definitely smile and laugh. Watching this will make you want to go on your own wild and crazy high-speed road trip across America with a truck load of beer. (Of course, don't drink and drive at the same time.) Overall, this is a movie to watch if you love fast cars, the culture of the South, and good laughs.
For more information about Smokey and the Bandit, visit the Internet Movie Database.