Got it? Well, it doesn't matter. This film is not about story. It's about fast cars, notably a black Trans Am and the destruction of as many police vehicles as can be done in and hour and a half, the more humiliation the better. The film was helmed appropriately enough by longtime stuntman Hal Needham who keeps the action rolling. But it is the charismatic performers that make this film such a success. Burt Reynolds is at his confident best as the Bandit. He easily catches the eye of the adorable Sally Field. ("You Like me, you really, really like me") And even country singer Jerry Reed gives us some good comic relief when the romance begins to boil.
But, if truth be told, it is the late, great Jackie Gleason's turn as the vulgar, grammatically challenged Justice that makes the film work and work well. He commits totally to bringing ole Buford alive and even makes logically challenged material work. Like the occasional car flying off the ground and landing atop a truck for no apparent reason.
This simple story, Smokey and the Bandit, was one of the first films to topple the financial record held by GONE WITH THE WIND. Now, its numbers are nowhere to be found on that listing, but still it was an excellent feat. From its initial run, I'm sure Universal Pictures was ready to cash in with a sequel or two!
The movie begins as the Bandit (Burt Reynolds) takes a $80,000 bet to see whether he can haul off about 600 cases of beer from Texarkana, Texas to somewhere in Georgia within' 18 hours and he brings his buddy Cledus (Jerry Reed) to drive the semi truck so he can haul off the beer while the cops (better known as the Smokey's) can concentrate on just the Bandit and the Bandit buys a brand new Trans Am, then he meets up with a runaway bride (Sally Field) and Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) is on their tail cause she ditch Buford's dimwitted son Junior and boy wouldn't it be funny if every cop was as dumb as Junior?
There are some other great moments throughout the film like Buford driving through a pole and the top of the car comes on, or when the police cars collided into each other and a trucker crashes into the open door of Buford's car and he gets all angry, if you like high speed chase movies or fast cars then you'll like Smokey and the Bandit, I wouldn't recommend watching the sequels unless if you really enjoyed watching this movie and they don't come close to how good this movie is although I do kind of like watching Smokey and the Bandit 3, if you're on a budget then I would get the Smokey and the Bandit pursuit pack which generally costs around $17-$20 and it's less expensive than buying Smokey and the Bandit 1 and 2 separately.
This is one of those throwback movies where the excitement does not rely on four letter words(...).
The DVD picture quality gets 4 stars. It is a clear picture, but the colors are not as vibrant as newer movies. Considering it was filmed in the 1980's, perhaps this is the best we can get. If we avarage the movie at 5 stars, and the DVD at 4 stars, that leaves us with 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5. A few special features on the DVD would have been appreciated.